By Gregg McQueen
After news broke that Coogan’s, an iconic Washington Heights restaurant and pub for more than 30 years, would shut down in May due to a massive rent hike, concerned community members and elected officials have reacted to help save the beloved establishment.
Coogan’s owners said on January 9 that they needed to close because the eatery’s landlord, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, wants to increase the pub’s rent by an additional $40,000 per month.
A Change.org petition, which called upon New York-Presbyterian to offer Coogan’s a new lease at an affordable rate, was launched that same evening, and had garnered more than 12,000 signatures by Thursday afternoon.
The signatures will be delivered to New York-Presbyterian Chief Executive Officer Steven J. Corwin, as well as Royal Charter Properties, the hospital’s real estate arm.
“I hope the incredible response to this petition shows the connection people feel to Coogan’s and that this fight is far from over,” said Graham Cirualo, who created the petition.
On Wednesday evening, Community Board 12 hosted a strategy meeting at Coogan’s to brainstorm ways to prevent the restaurant from closing.
Even Coogan’s celebrity backers got involved, with uptown native Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeting, “I love Coogan’s. My stomach hurts from this news.”
Meanwhile, local Congressman Adriano Espaillat and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer announced they will sponsor a rally outside of Coogan’s on Sun., Jan. 14 at 12 p.m.
New York-Presbyterian Hospital issued a statement regarding Coogan’s, indicating it was open to further lease negotiations.