Hot on the heels of the Second Avenue Deli’s close, another downtown fixture, Sal Anthony’s, has just lost its lease. The 40-year-old Irving Place Italian family-dining icon fell victim last month to a protracted court battle over rent. The restaurant offered moderately priced fare in a brownstone where O. Henry once lived. “I tried with all my heart and soul to keep it open for a middle-class clientele, but everything’s changed,” says owner Anthony Macagnone, 66, a former longshoreman who’s fed everyone from Woody and Diane to Yoko and Sean and is currently at New York Downtown Hospital suffering from acute respiratory distress. He’ll continue to operate his other properties: Sal Anthony’s S.P.Q.R. in Little Italy, Lanza’s in the East Village, and a smattering of other businesses (Pilates studio, salon, florist). He says he’d squared off with the heirs of his late landlady. “They brought in experts who said [the space] was worth $200 a square foot, and I was only paying $25,” he says.