Nostalgia As Policy in Lower East Manhattan

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Mourning Mars Bar and its ilk. Photo: Youngna Park

Grub has been chronicling the depravity of the "Lower Eastpacking District" for half a decade, and now Community Board 3 is meeting today to purportedly do something about the clubification of the EV and LES. There will be talk of creating a "nightlife district," that would restrict larger venues to non-residential locations. (But isn't the whole East Village and Lower East Side basically a nightlife district by now?) Clubs holding more than 200 are already confined by the city to industrial areas, but concern is over bars that take up two whole storefronts — they're too big, and what about retail? There's much nostalgia for the EV's low-key hangs and grubby dives, some of which — Mars Bar, Lakeside Lounge — have been forced to shutter as rents rise. We hate to say it, but this seems like a losing game of table shuffleboard. [WSJ]