Subway Inn, old-time NYC dive bar, facing eviction

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — The owners of the Subway Inn, a dive bar that for almost eight decades has served the likes of neighborhood workers — and, legend has it, even Marilyn Monroe — pleaded Thursday for city officials and the public to support their efforts to avoid eviction by a real estate development firm.

The efforts to evict the Subway Inn have gained attention as the latest example of old New York spots being replaced amid redevelopment efforts.

Steven Salinas, whose father, Marcello Salinas, began working in the Subway Inn more than 40 years ago and has owned it for the past several years, said the bar got a call last month saying building owner World-Wide Holdings Corp. wanted it out by Aug. 20. World-Wide owns much of the block where the bar is, across the street from high-end department store Bloomingdales.

"To all New Yorkers who believe that hard work leads to success, stand with us, stand with my family, to stop this corporate greed," Steven Salinas said.

The Subway, with its bright neon sign and checkerboard floor, has long been a neighborhood hangout, as well as a pit stop for those passing through. Part of the bar's lore is that Marilyn Monroe would stop in when she was filming "The Seven Year Itch."

In a statement, the company acknowledged the bar had been part of the community for years but said the move shouldn't have come as a surprise. The Subway Inn had been operating on year to year agreements to stay in the space, it said.

Since 2006, when World-Wide bought the building "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 statement said. The company hasn't officially made its plan for the block public but is constructing residential buildings at other locations in the city.

An attorney for the Salinas family, Michael Shapiro, said that no official eviction notice has been received, and that the family planned on fighting any possible move. Steven Salinas said the family was also looking for other potential locations.

He said they had reached out to the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission, which said it was reviewing the building's eligibility for preservation status. The commission pointed out, however, that even if the building were to be landmarked, that would preserve the physical structure but have no bearing on who occupies the space.

Redevelopment pressures and rising rents in New York City have seen a slew of longtime businesses being forced to close their doors, even high-profile places like WD-50, which announced in June that it would be closing its Lower East Side location at the end of November, and Union Square Cafe, which said it is leaving its current location at the end of next year.

Last month, the city's oldest bowling alley, Bowlmor Lanes in Greenwich Village, closed after 76 years. Bowlmor's owner said the landlord planned to build condos.