Mars 2112 was a piece of garbage theme restaurant in Times Square that relied on the assumption that you were willing to suspend reality for about an hour and a half in order to enjoy bad food in a great atmosphere.
Upon entering the building, you were at the space airport, and after waiting in line you’d get on a ride that held about 15 other people. You’d sit in a space chair while the lights would dim, and then you’d have to hold onto your shit cause you were on your way to Mars!
After being jerked around for a few minutes in front of a giant screen hurtling you through portals and space highways, the lights would come back on and you’d walk out the other side onto marbled orange carpeting. A martian.
They had space-y lighting, faux-stone walls — the works.
And you’d pay 2x Applebees prices for less-than-Applebees quality space-themed food, but it’d all be worth it just to sit with your friends in a manic state while the Mars local news played on the TVs and aliens walked around and interacted with you. There was a plexiglass bubble maybe 15 feet up on one of the big walls where an actor in costume would sometimes climb in and dance like a glitchy, PG burlesque chick.
Anyway, I bring it up because it came to my attention that Dave is coming to town and I jokingly suggested we go. But the idea quickly snowballed into an earnest plan. I was getting really excited by the idea; I fucking love this restaurant. Ray’s 15th birthday party was there, and whenever family would fly in from out of town in the early 00’s I’d insist we take them to this place. “They’re in from Ohio, Christine, they don’t want to see Mars. They want Manhattan glamor.” “They have kids, they want rides and aliens.” I went back once in college, which is when the above photo was taken (note the dope thumb ring).
So you can imagine what happened to me internally when Josh chimed in on the thread and told me that the restaurant closed back in February — has already gone out of business and no longer exists for anyone to experience ever.
My heart sank. Really sank. Like, what I imagine happens when you roll over after having had a colonic — when all that residual water and feces come bursting forth of their own accord and without any regard for your sphincter — that’s what happened to all of my internal organs feelings-wise.
Sure enough, I Googled, and their website says, “We don’t exist anymore.”
But how do you mourn a business? A tourist trap you were never too proud to adore?
It’s weird, these attachments to things that will never love you back, because they don’t call or email to let you know they’re dying. They just leave and they’re gone and there was your life with it and now your life suddenly without. Like when they discontinued my Olay facial mask (I still have not healed from that trauma).
I guess the thing that feels sentimental is that it was such a massive, special idea. It was so unapologetic and so dumb and there’s something so American about throwing a fuckload of money at a really gratuitous, garbage concept and making it something that becomes a part of people’s lives for more than a decade.
That’s a dream, you know?
RIP, Mars 2112. Miss u so much.