Savyon Zabar's death in Upper West Side apartment ruled homicide, police say

Savyon Zabary was strangled police said

The NYPD said Friday that a man was found dead in an Upper West Side apartment, and his death is believed to be a homicide.

His roommate was being questioned by police Friday morning.

The body of 54-year-old Savyon Zabar, who weighed around 400lbs and was best known for operating the now-defunct Chelsea hotpot Escuelita, was discovered Wednesday morning by his roommate, who made the 911 call.

Zabar, who was known by friends as "Big Ben" due to his large stature, was well known throughout the gay community, having owned and managed gay nightclubs Escuelita and XL, both of which hosted DJ MikeQ's famous Vogue Knights weekly events. No arrests have been made in the case.

Officials explained that although the body had been found on Wednesday, the announcement came today because the medical examiner had classified the death as a homicide. "He ran gay clubs, straight clubs and had partnerships all over the city", Arenas added.

The victim, who tips the scale at around 400 pounds, was found face up in his bed, police sources said. After their appointment on Wednesday, the masseuse left the apartment soon after; an act which Zabar's roommate said was odd because the man usually stayed over.

The building's super told PIX11 in April that Zabary is known to have young men in and out of his apartment doing drugs with him.

Zabar frequently received massages, police sources said, without yet indicating whether the masseuse was a suspect.

Savyon Zabary was strangled, police said.

Those who knew him took to social media to express their shock and sadness over his death. The club shut down a year ago when a farewell notice was posted on the website. A GoFundMe page has been set up in Zabar's name.

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