Recently, EV Grieve asked, "Should we start worrying about the Subway Inn?"
The Real Deal reported that the development firm World-Wide Group, owners of the Subway Inn's building, just made another big purchase on the block, adding 155 E. 60th to their growing parcel, which includes numbers 143 (home of Subway Inn), 145-147, 149, 151 and 153.
We wonder what it means. Surely, the global corporation plans to knock it all down and put up a giant glass sarcophagus in which to bury the soul of this block.
Gothamist asked the owner's son, who said, "We're not worried about it anytime soon. As far as we know, everything is good." However, "We're probably going to end up moving somewhere else pretty close in the area. But right now it's not a concern, so we're not looking right now."
I made a trip up to the beloved dive bar, on 60th Street near Lexington since 1937, where it still sports one of the most splendid neon signs in town.
The bartender I talked to had the same noncommittal response, saying, "We've been 'closing' for nine years now, but it hasn't happened yet." He had a Zen-like, living-in-the-moment attitude, just taking it easy, one day at a time. "We could close as early as a few months, or it could be years from now. You never know."
What does it mean? Nothing and everything. The short answer is: Yes, worry. But go while you can, have a few drinks, soak up the atmosphere. Tomorrow, it could be gone.
In 1997, New York magazine included the bar in their Best of New York, summing it up this way, "If someone lit up a cigar in here, it would be an old bald guy reading the Post, not some yuppie talking Dow after the final bell."
At the right time of day nothing has really changed. While Friday nights bring in a loud party crowd (atomic wings!), and a few affluent locals "sneak in" now and then, the bar caters mostly to after-work folks--with the usual 6:00 rush, followed by an 11:00 rush when the restaurant workers pour in. In the daytime, though, you can still find an old bald guy reading the Post, but no cigar.
And the best time to go (if you like your dive bars quiet)? Sunday afternoon.