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Keep Sane in the LES at Motor City

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Who’s ready for a little bit of personal story time from some blogger you don’t know? Well, too bad, you’re getting some anyway. I grew up in this city and have long been a lush. It didn’t take a lot of clever finagling to get into bars at 15, just some swagger and not being an idiot. Back then, before Williamsburg was really worth it and the city was beginning its upward thrust into arch-snobbery, I would usually go out into the Lower East Side as both a haven for dives that didn’t really care how old you were and as a mecca of artistes. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Well, since I’ve been trying to move on from high school and college, I’ve been sticking around Brooklyn more and more and have little to complain about. My Bushwick home is solid, and most of my friends live off the L or G. But this past weekend I went to the LES for a friend’s show (which was good, check out Headless Horseman) and found myself lost amongst an unending cavalcade of suck. Good lord who are all these people? Why is everyone so loud, not so much in voice, but in presence? Subtly is an art to live by, people, and dressing in glitter clothes and flailing about drunk is a good look on no one, especially on crowded streets. Also, a can of beer that has ads during the Super Bowl should not not NOT cost seven dollars. In the words of many wise men before me, “get outta fuckin’ town.” This neighborhood had been a small pocket of the obscure and the, while pretentious, arts scene that did cultivate a vibe of grime and glitz that did something for the rep of New York. Now it’s just like Murray Hill for people with beards. Or, more aptly, it’s another Murray Hill.

It took a bit of scrambling up my past to remember an old haunt that never really let me down: Motor City. In case that’s too obscure for you, it’s a Detroit themed bar with a lot of GM and Red Wings paraphernalia cluttering up the walls. Thankfully the bar owners are actually from Detroit and this place has been around for a decent amount of time, so it’s not just exploiting the current fascination with Rust Belt urban decay. The bar is simple, the beer common enough, and the prices mid-range but reasonable for the area. DJs spin rock n’ roll, sometimes go-go dancers show up, and they have pinball. All in all, it’s a very simple bar that does it’s job- serve alcohol that people can afford. Hopefully it’s not going anywhere, because aside from Cake Shop that’s about all I got nowadays in my playbook for the neighborhood. Please, Motor City, don’t ever change, I like you just as you are.

Motor City
127 Ludlow St (b/w Rivington St. and Delancy St.)
Lower East Side

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Dan Cerruti - 99 Cent Store Cowboy

Dan Cerruti - 99 Cent Store Cowboy

I've lived in New York all my life, and been a cheap ass for longer.