Updated, Friday, August 8, 9:05 a.m. Subway Inn — a former stomping grounds of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, and Midtown’s most beloved dive bar — is being asked by New York-based real estate developer World-Wide Group to leave its East 60th Street digs after 77 years.
The bar broke the news July 24 on its Facebook page that it would be closing its doors.
Subway Inn Patrons,
As you might know, Subway Inn was established in 1937, and has been proudly serving customers since.
We are sad to inform you that Subway Inn will be closed for business on or about the 15th of August. That’s not to say we aren’t opening another location. Subway Inn WILL relocate.
Follow Us for further details.
On Thursday afternoon, a bartender on duty told the Voice that other properties on the block, which are also now under the ownership of World-Wide Group, are being allowed to stay for another 4 years, while Subway Inn is being asked to vacate the premises by August 20. They are also being asked to leave everything — from the bar itself to its iconic neon sign. The owner’s family, who are Hispanic, believe the eviction may be racially motivated.
A spokesman for World-Wide Group did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
But this may not be the end of the line for the legendary watering hole. An as-yet-to-be-announced campaign to save the bar, which has operated in its current location since just after the end of Prohibition, is currently brewing. The bar has enlisted the help of a PR professional who on Thursday declined to divulge details about the campaign.
Update, Friday, August 8, 9:05 a.m.: More details have emerged about the plans to save Subway Inn. The bar’s owners, the Salinas family, have started a Change.org petition and an Indiegogo campaign in an attempt to stave off the closure.
On Friday morning, 36 people had signed the petition, addressed to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Kate Daly, executive director of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, City Council Member Daniel Garodnick, and State Represenatives Micah Kellner and Liz Krueger.
The Subway Inn which has been a part of this neighborhood for more than 77 years MUST CLOSE BY AUGUST 20th so that high-end, luxury condos can be built on our spot.
We the undersigned believe that New York City is about more than rich investors gobbling up small family businesses to make a quick buck thereby destroying the integrity of the Upper East Side of Manhattan. We call on lawmakers and concerned New Yorkers to STAND UP to these actions, and to stop World-Wide Holdings Corporation from destroying our home and ripping it away from those who helped build this city and who would never be able to afford the multi-million dollar condos that they are planning to put in place of a neighborhood treasure.
SAVE SUBWAY INN!
The Indiegogo campaign aims raise $10,000 by September 5. The money will be used, according to the campaign’s page, “to pay our lawyers and to help continue to get the word out about this forced closure.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 7, 2014