UPPER EAST SIDE — Veteran dive bar Subway Inn will stay open for at least a few more days — possibly even a few more weeks.
The Salinas family can continue to operate the 77-year-old bar until a judge chooses a new closing date or decides that a new hearing is needed to settle the bar's case against its landlord, a civil court judge said at a Wednesday morning hearing.
“We’re very happy. The fight continues,” said Steven Salinas, the son of Subway Inn’s owner who was in court with his parents.
The World-Wide Group, which owns the neon-lit bar located on 143 E. 60th St., recently refused to renew Subway Inn's $20,000 monthly lease and asked the Salinas family to vacate by Aug. 20.
Subway Inn lawyers argued that the landlord’s stipulation and eviction warrant had technical deficiencies, which should make them void. The judge now has 30 days to either pick a final moving-out date or to order a new hearing.
“This is a lawyers’ playground… this case,” said judge Jennifer G. Schecter as she listened to the lawyers’ arguments about the case's technical points on Wednesday, and urged them to find a vacating date that would satisfy both parties.
The World-Wide Group’s lawyer offered Oct. 21 as a new move-out date, but Subway Inn lawyers refused and asked for Nov. 30, saying it would take time for the Salinas family to find a new place to relocate their business.
Claude Castro, who represents Subway Inn, also asked that the Salinas family be able to take the decades-old neon sign, as well as the bar’s furniture when vacating the space. The World-Wide Group’s lawyer refused.
World-Wide Group, who bought the building in 2006, said the bar’s closing should not come as a surprise. In a recent statement, a spokesperson for the group said that from the time the company bought the building, “it was acknowledged that a development was going to take place at the site."
The Salinas family believes condos will soon replace the bar.
“We can’t let that happen, this is a neighborhood bar, a family bar, it's been here for almost 80 years,” said Steven Salinas as he worked at his father's establishment a few weeks ago.
No construction permits have been filed for the location, but The World-Wide Group lawyer mentioned a new development project for the site during Wednesday's hearing.
Subway Inn, known for its cheap beers and down-to-earth service, has launched a “Save Subway Inn Campaign” to pay for its legal fees as well as to spread the word about its situation by sending petitions to Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials.
On Monday, the bar had raised $3,166 and gathered more than 4,000 petition signatures according to its Facebook page.