WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan — A beloved Manhattan bar facing a massive rent increase will have its final call in the coming months.
Coogan’s, open since 1985 on Broadway at West 169th Street, recently found out its landlord wants to raise the rent. New York Presbyterian Hospital is down the block and owns Coogan’s building. They want $40,000 more a month.
“Now we’re the patient that is still breathing and they pulled the plug a little bit early,” owner Peter Walsh said.
The hospital refused to negotiate, Walsh said. New York Presbyterian Hospital has not returned a PIX11 request for comment.
This is not a unique story. It’s happened in neighborhoods across New York City. Landlords raise the rent and small businesses are forced to move out. Some in the Washington Heights community are worried it will lose what makes it special.
“Many people agree that this is part of a gentrification process that is happening and it’s happening since 10 years ago,” Community Board 12 District Manager Ebenezer Smith said.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Broadway star and native son of Upper Manhattan, tweeted about Coogan’s Tuesday night. He wrote, “I love Coogan’s. My stomach hurts from this news.”
Miranda had birthday parties there as a child.
Vencia Fernandez has been going to Coogan’s since she was a teen.
“I think the community needs to come together and try to see if we can save them,” she said.
They have until May, when Coogan’s plans to close.
Patrons have been a cross section of the community. People of all races, religions and ethnicities ate at Coogan’s and talked at Coogan’s.
”This was the community place here,” Walsh said. “This is where we solved problems.”