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NYC’s Subway Inn Wins Order Temporarily Blocking Eviction

Subway Inn Bar
Patrons drink the Subway Inn bar in New York, on July 25, 2014. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Subway Inn, the Upper East Side tavern that kept its dive-bar atmosphere amid gleaming office towers, won a court order temporarily blocking its eviction pending a hearing.

New York City Civil Court Judge Lynn R. Kotler yesterday signed an order stopping World-Wide Group, the landlord of the East 60th building where the bar is located, from evicting the watering hole pending an Aug. 27 hearing.

The Salinas family that owns the bar, in a post on its Facebook page, expressed “immense gratitude” to New Yorkers who fought to save the inn.

“We know that this is just the first step in a very long and hard David vs. Goliath fight,” the owners said in their Facebook post. “However, we are confident that in the end justice prevails and the Subway Inn will be spared from the wrecking ball.”

Across from Bloomingdale’s at 60th Street and Lexington Avenue and adjacent to a subway entrance, Subway Inn’s neon sign has beckoned patrons daily from its 10 a.m. opening time. Inside, a photograph of Marilyn Monroe recalls the legend that it was among her neighborhood haunts while filming the 1955 film “The Seven-Year Itch.”

The bar has made several appearances in television and novels, including Anthony Bourdain’s travel show “The Layover” and the CBS drama “Person of Interest.” It was also mentioned in Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2014.

Landlord’s Statement

World-wide Holdings declined to comment beyond a statement it issued on Aug. 14 saying the bar’s operators signed one-year leases over the past eight years with a 30-day termination option, “each time recognizing that the site would eventually be used for development.”

“Subway Inn has been part of the landscape of the community for many years,” World-wide Group said in the statement. “However, the bar’s closing should not come as a surprise. From the time that the World-wide Group purchased the site in 2006 from William Ackerman and agreed to allow the Salinas family to operate the bar, it was acknowledged that a development was going to take place at the site.”

Eviction proceedings against the Subway Inn began in 2006, when the business was under a different proprietor who has since died, Claude Castro, an attorney for the bar, said today.

“The warrant of eviction was defective,” the lawyer said. The eviction paperwork was flawed partly because it named the deceased owner and not Arsemio Salinas, the current owner, who worked there for 40 years, Castro said.

The latest lease should have allowed the bar to stay at its current spot through February, he said.

“All of a sudden they were told they need to get out,” Castro said.

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