Max Fish Gutted and Filleted [PHOTOS]

Posted on: July 31st, 2013 at 6:00 am by
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What a difference twelve hours makes. With the blowout sendoff party in the rearview mirror, attention is now focused on gutting Max Fish. Bar staff spent yesterday dismantling some twenty-four years of memories from those grungy walls of 178 Ludlow Street. Perhaps some of that gear will end up at the next iteration of the bar after it opens in Brooklyn (132 Metropolitan Avenue).

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Here’s one of Max Fish the morning after…

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Meanwhile, below are some personal thoughts we scribbled in a notebook during the Max Fish scare of 2010. We recently came across the passage and found it fitting to reproduce here.

In the early spring of 2008, construction began on the as-yet-incomplete Hotel Ludlow in the plot adjacent to Max Fish. The familiar scaffolding arrived, and quickly obscured the unique burning cigarette marquee of the dive bar. We remember thinking at the time that the Fish probably would not survive the whole ordeal tucked beneath such a skeleton of ironwork. Seriously, how can you compete with a 22-story luxury hotel? Truth be told, though, this towering eyesore became a major inspiration behind the birth of Bowery Boogie just a few months later.

A Ludlow without the Fish seems incomprehensible. They go hand-in-hand, like a tequila binge and vomit. So if the twenty-one-year-old veteran dies at the end of next month as reported, the neighborhood will have lost a true community character. Yes, it’s a disgusting dive with some semblance of attitude. But it’s our disgusting dive, dammit! Max Fish always extended its middle finger, as it were, to the rampant forces of change; it was always a reminder of punk-ass youthfulness, an aesthetic on which developers effortlessly seized during the pre-recession area gold rush.

In the end, the probable loss of Max Fish represents the demoralizing Wounded Knee moment within the broader context of the war against the old Lower East Side. Perhaps the deluge of support from the local blogosphere, to everyday people on Twitter and Facebook, can help stem the tide. There is always hope.

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