*Update: A Facebook group has formed to help Save McManus.*
The great and beloved Peter McManus pub has been at 7th Avenue and 19th Street in Chelsea since 1932. Now we hear it may not have much longer.
Reader Marjorie wrote in to say she'd heard the historic spot is closing soon. "The air rights above the deli and bar apparently have been bought," she wrote, "and the two remaining residents of that circa 1903 building above the bar will have to move. So once again, the historic makes way for new construction."
In April, The Real Deal reported that the real estate investment company Renatus Group bought the building and its neighbor, 152-154 7th Avenue, for $10.5 million. "According to Renatus’ website," says Real Deal, "it will redevelop the buildings to significantly improve cash flow."
I went by to confirm. A bartender told me it's all uncertain.
As Marjorie said, the deli next to the bar on 7th has been shuttered. So has the lingerie shop on the street side. Looking at the windows of the upstairs apartments, it appears that most have been emptied. What happened to the residents?
What will happen to Peter McManus?
There is much to love about this place. It's one of the last authentic New York spots left in Chelsea to get a meal or a drink in a warm and friendly atmosphere. It is still family owned. It makes one of New York's best burgers. The jukebox is good, filled with classics. The owners even host a day of stickball for the neighborhood every summer, with free beer and food and donations to pediatric cancer research.
Plus: They recently featured a Trump sandwich made of "white bread, full of boloney, with Russian dressing and small pickle."
If that's not enough, if you need more reason to love Peter McManus, the place itself is gorgeous, full of antique stained glass and ephemera.
As I described it in 2008, it has all the things that are good about a bar: wood worn smooth by countless elbows, a warm amber glow, crazy but friendly barflies who look as if they've been pickled in the place, which they have.
As a rare bonus, it also has a lovely pair of wooden phone booths that light up when you open their doors, welcoming you into them.
And people really use them, too.
Peter McManus made my (rapidly dwindling) list of "What to Worry About" back in 2014. Still, it seems we shouldn't have to worry about this one. It should be too beloved, too beautiful, too historic, too valuable to actually vanish. And yet we know how easy it is for greedy, short-sighted developers to come busting in and savagely gut our history--along with our hearts.
This one's worth fighting for.
Save Peter McManus. #SaveNYC.