As time winds down for an Upper East Side bar that once hosted famous faces like Joe DiMaggio, the owners of the Subway Inn are appealing to elected officials help them save their business. NY1's Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
The neon sign looks like it's from a different era, and in a way, it is.
"When you see an old neon sign that's sort of buzzing and you hear the noise at the night, that evokes an era like nothing else does," said one person at the Subway Inn.
For 77 years, the Subway Inn welcomed everyone on the Upper East Side.
"No one judged anyone," said one customer. "We are just like a big family."
But that could soon be lost. The Salinas family, which runs the 60th Street bar and has been involved with it in one way or another for 40 years, says they were told by their landlord to be out on August 20.
"It's kind of hard not to get emotional, either, when this is really the only place I've ever known," said Christian Salinas, a son of the bar's owner.
"We've had the neighborhood people coming in, all the way to famous people, and they've called it home as well," said Steven Salinas, a son of the bar's owner.
They aren't going without a fight. They're collecting signatures online and in person and started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money. With less than a week to go until a potential closing, they're now calling on city officials to help.
"If our voice is heard loud enough, then something can happen," Steven Salinas said.
Many patrons say bars like this one are disappearing all over the city. In fact, Lee Greenfeld came in because he heard that it may be closing.
"This is like old New York, and so much old New York is gone," Greenfield said. "And especially, you've got a super expensive department store right next door, and you got a great proper dive bar here."
Among the city agencies the Salinas family reached out to is the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which is reviewing the building's landmark eligibility, though the owners realize that would only protect the physical building and not keep them in business. They're hoping someone else will see what makes this place so special.
"To me, dive bar means a family-owned business, not some high-end bar," Steven Salinas said.
NY1 reached out to the landlord, World Wide Group, but a spokesman had no comment.