Judge Keeps Subway Inn's Doors Open For Now
Beloved dive bar Subway Inn has been issued a weeklong reprieve from its impending eviction. On Monday, Judge Lynn Kotler of New York County's Civil Court signed a temporary restraining order preventing developer World-Wide Group from evicting the 77-year-old water hole. The judge scheduled a hearing on the matter for the morning of August 27.
The bar's announced the news Tuesday morning on Facebook.
On behalf of entire Salinas family, we cannot express the immense gratitude that we feel for all New Yorkers that stood up and joined our fight to save our home. Yesterday's New York City's Civil Court decision, which granted a temporary restraining order and ceased all eviction proceedings comes because of the hard work and determination of a group of New Yorkers and Lawmakers that aren't afraid to stand up for what is right. We know that this is just the first step in a very long and hard David Vs. Goliath Fight; however, we are confident that in the end justice prevails and the Subway Inn will be spared from the wrecking ball.
News of the restraining order came as a surprise to William T. Shepard, the lawyer who is named as Subway Inn's representative in the court documents. He says he is not involved. "I have nothing to do with this. I was Charlie Ackerman's guardian and I sold the building to MVG 60th Street." Charlie Ackerman was the bar's previous owner. He passed away in 2007. Shepard sold the building on Ackerman's behalf in 2006 for $5.8 million.
"When you do a temporary restraining order when something is supposed to close and you don't have that much time, you just throw something together just to get it into court," Shepard says. That's the only explanation he can think of to explain how his name ended up on the documents. (The court papers were so hastily assembled they didn't even spell Shepard's name correctly.)
After he sold the building in 2006, Shepard says tenants including Subway Inn were granted renewable one-year leases. In February, the Real Deal reported that World-Wide Group had slowly bought up nearly all of the buildings surrounding the Subway Inn on East 60th Street across from Bloomingdales--some 300,000 square feet of development rights altogether.
On August 14, the day before the bar was scheduled to close, World-Wide Group issued a statement, saying, "[T]he 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 [sic] 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."
The owners of the Subway Inn, the Salinas family, have been raising money to fund a legal challenge to their eviction. That effort has yielded a little over $2000 since it kicked off two weeks ago.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.