Ain’t nothing finer than an evening with friends at 1st and 1st.
In lower Manhattan you will find the intersection of 1st and 1st, also known as the Nexus of the universe by one Mr. Cosmo Kramer. This area is pretty rare and on a Saturday night there are a ton of wacky bars and such for you to enjoy. Last weekend I was in this area visiting with my East German friend, his girlfriend, some high school friends etc etc etc.
Anyways we were trying to go to a rare Drag bar called Lucky Chengs (but more about that later) when we mistakenly walked down 1st ave instead of 1st street or the other way around, I don’t even remember but we come around the corner and see this lovely establishment called “The Mars Bar”. My former High School tennis doubles partner exclaimed, “ah the Mars Bar, I read about this in the best dives of NYC book, we gotta go in!” As soon as we walk in we are assaulted by filthy marker graffiti all over everything, filthy windows and walls and floors, and of course filthy patrons. This place was so busted that I seriously thought about only getting bottle beer but then I was thinking about my girlish figure so I just got brave and put my lips to the straw that came in my vodka and soda.
The bartender was a nice gal who only liked to swear, the owner talked about art wars and the hairy balls dawn on the walls, it was great. Then a whacked out Mohawk guy came over and tried to steal PJ’s beer for no reason, a lady dressed as a nurse made fun of my clothes and exclaimed “where did you come from?” We took this as our Q and went off to Lucky Chengs. Lucky Chengs is great because you have so many photo opportunities, Drag Queens, Karaoke, ultra red lighting, flaming drinks, Chinese lanterns, and parasols. On this night though we hit the jackpot because there was a bachelor party there and as entertainment they had hired this sexy ass trick with a Mohawk (yeah another one) to make balloon type shapes which of course were pretty much exclusively pornographic. When the bride to be and her friends left there were tons of dick hats, and giant squirting cock n balls left behind for us to enjoy, not to mention the giant vashine complete with clacker. Oh boy that is fun, so fun in fact that after we blasted some karaoke hits and I unsuccessfully romanced a drag queen or two and dropped a couple hundred bucks on flaming drinks we were happy and had enough swagga to make our way back over to the Mars Bar. It was kinda packed when we got back in there and the bartender was wasted and swearing and pouring shots for us like there was no tomorrow, and wearing 60s style cat glasses. One of the Mohawk guys wanted to pose for pictures to my glee.
There were several mentally ill and/or severally drugged out folk there who made it even more fun. At 4am last call a gentleman in sunglasses (which I mean the only lights in the bar are from some neon beer signs in the windows), a trench coat, and a giant floppy old time style painters hat decided that he wanted to fight my friend. He even showed me his hand and said “you see these fingers? They were made for fighting”. GORGEOUS! As I saw him chasing our cab and screwing as he ran down the street I thought to myself, oh what a place this nexus of the universe. All the pix I have are from the Holga Dark Corner 35mm and a beirette vsn that Gordon had just brought for me from the former east Germany. A color splash helped make it more fun and my drunk shake hands and inability to choose the correct distance setting or exposure time pretty much seals the deal. All the pictures in this collection that have drag queens, flaming drinks, Asian fun décor, and weiner balloon hats is lucky chengs whereas anything that has filthy graffiti all in the background is the Mars Bar. Oh Lucky Chengs has a website www.luckychengsrestaurant.com that gives lots of details but The Mars Bar has no website and in fact doesn’t even have a telephone. They were listed in the NYC dive guide as the #1 dive bar in all of NYC!