New York’s Subway Inn Bar Lives On Until Eviction Hearing

Subway Inn, the 77-year-old Manhattan bar facing eviction, will survive for at least one more week.

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

The Salinas family, the tavern’s owner, has mounted a campaign to save the establishment, a New York City institution that kept its dive-bar atmosphere amid gleaming office towers on the Upper East Side. The family, in a post on its Facebook page yesterday, 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 versus 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 Group 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 yesterday.

New Owner

“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, 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.

Salinas worked at the business for 40 years, including as a bartender and a cook, Castro said. Since the eviction notice was served last month, the owner’s son, Steven Salinas, has waged a “Save Subway Inn” Internet campaign from a corner booth of the darkened wood-paneled bar.

In addition to setting up Twitter and Facebook profiles for the watering hole, the family urged supporters to petition government officials including New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, and to donate in $5 increments to a fund that could help defray legal costs, said Steven Salinas, 34.

“We’ve worked to get to this point,” he said in an interview at the bar yesterday. “Now the public, the community and our lawyers are doing the rest. New York is now involved.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.