Savyon Zabar, 'icon of NYC nightlife,' found murdered in Upper West Side apartment

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, January 6, 2017
'Icon of NYC nightlife' found strangled in UWS apartment
Eyewitness News reporter Rob Nelson has the latest.

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A man who was regarded as an icon in New York City nightlife was found strangled in his Manhattan apartment Wednesday morning.

Police said the body of 54-year-old Savyon Zabar was discovered inside his Upper West Side apartment by his roommate, who called 911 just before 10:30 a.m.

Emergency crews pronounced Zabar dead at his fourth-floor apartment on West 81st Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Columbus Avenue.

An autopsy revealed significant deep tissue hemorrhaging consistent with strangulation and his death was ruled a homicide.

Zabar, known by his friends as "Big Ben" was an openly gay icon in NYC nightlife. He was a well-connected socialite who was linked to several popular nightclubs.

"He was mostly to himself, but if you got a chance to meet him, he was a good dude," a friend, who wished to remain anonymous, said. "There's nothing I can say bad about him. He always treated me fairly when I worked with him. He always took care of me."

Here's a photo of Zabar from his Facebook page:

Investigators said there was no forced entry into Zabar's apartment and nothing appeared to have been taken.

Eyewitness News has learned that Zabar frequently got massages, and detectives are looking to interview his masseuse.

He was the victim of another crime back in April, when two men robbed him entering the same apartment building. Those men got away with Zabar's SUV and about $3,400 cash.

No arrests have been made in the case.

Zabar does not appear to have a connection to the Zabar family that owns the famous grocery chain.

Eyewitness News is following this story. Keep checking abc7NY for updates.