A few years ago, MTV created the Virtual Lower East Side (VLES), a digital fantasy version of the neighborhood that included clubs, bars, yarmulke shops, Katz's deli, and no condo or hotel towers.
One of the bars they created was Max Fish.
All screenshots from the VLES
On the real Ludlow Street since 1989, Max Fish will be closing at the end of January. The landlord's son has taken over and given them the boot.
Said the owner to Grub Street, "I do think that the alternative culture is being forced to get out, but I don’t think we should go. I don’t agree. We have a right to live here as much as anyone else...we’ll take the spirit and everything else with us."
When asked about recreating the space elsewhere, the owner said, "We’re going to re-create a Max Fish like we did last year in Miami for Art Basel. We did a pop-up and it was so much fun, because we did it really fast and it totally had the essence. People walked in and said, 'Oh my God, this is so much like Max Fish.'"
So maybe, after January, Max Fish will only exist as life-like pop-ups and virtual spaces. Of course, MTV's the VLES failed as a project and you can't visit the virtual Max Fish anymore, either. Somewhere in some Viacom databank, in ghosts of pixels, a crowd of hipster avatars are bobbing their heads to the next coolest song. That will be all that's left.