WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES JANUARY 16, 2020 9
Neir’s Tavern open in Woodhaven
A handshake agreement to keep the historic bar, which has served patrons in Woodhaven since 1829, open was reached Friday night.
Courtesy of Queens Chamber of Commerce
‘From a funeral to a miracle’
BY MAX PARROTT
Business was booming at the historic
Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven the
day aft er Mayor de Blasio personally
showed up to announce that it would
not be closing on Jan. 10.
De Blasio’s offi ce helped get the bar’s
landlord to the table to negotiate a lease
with owner Loycent Gordon that would
ensure it will stay open for another fi ve
years, with the option to renew for fi ve
But for small business advocates, the
saga raised systemic concerns.
The news of the tavern’s salvation
came a day aft er Gordon had sent out
an email to his customers, telling them
that he would have to hastily close as a
result of a $3,400 rent hike.
But over the course of Jan. 10, the
Queens Chamber of Commerce and
local lawmakers intervened on behalf
of the 190-year bar, which is said to be
the oldest continuously running bar in
the city, to work out a lease that would
last until it’s 200th anniversary, along
with some grants to cover repairs to
“It was a madhouse, everyone was
crying — we’re just overjoyed. It went
from a funeral to a miracle,” Gordon
said, describing the packed celebration
on Friday night.
Among the throng of Neir’s guests on
Saturday — which included neighbors
who came to celebrate their local pub
and fi rst-timers who arrived because
of the media coverage — were a group
of advocates who showed up to spread
awareness about two bills that are
aimed at protecting businesses from
“It’s great that the mayor saved this
place, but you can bet that he’s not going
to be able to save each and every
space in the city,” said Olympia Kazi,
a member of the NYC Artist Coalition,
a group dedicated lowering rents for
small businesses as a way to keep grassroots
cultural institutions alive.
The members of the groups explained
that they are in favor of two
bills that propose to lower commercial
One of them named the commercial
rent stabilization bill, introduced by
Councilman Stephen Levin, would
function much like the recent residential
rent stabilization. It would set up
a rent guideline board under mayoral
control that would set a percentage increase
cap for all commercial leases
under 10,000 feet.
The other bill fl oating around the
council is the Small Business Jobs
Survival Act, which would entitle
each commercial lease holder go to mediation
and binding arbitration if they
thought that a new lease was proposing
a rent hike that was too steep.
The group came to advocate for affordable
community spaces, like Neir’s,
which they see as vital to culture, but
not hugely profi table.
In fact, even the devoted neighbors
of Neir’s said that they could see why it
“It’s an awkward spot for a bar
because it’s so old. Parking here is a
nightmare because it’s all residential.
Unless you grew up around here, or
live around here you don’t really know
about this place, unless it’s because of
the history,” said Chris Kirwan, a regular
at the bar’s trivia night.
But for people like Bobby Flash — a
neighbor who still holds on to a snow
packet he picked up while watching
Martin Scorsese fi lm a scene from
“Goodfellas” at the bar in 1989 — it
contains an ineff able piece of the city’s
“To me, it’s not just another bar; it’s
a community place. For the mayor to
come down here, you know this place
has great signifi cance,” Flash said.
history as Neir’s, and we’re thrilled
the bar will continue to serve its patrons
for years to come,” Grech said.
“This would not have been possible
without the efforts of New York City
Council Member Robert Holden and
New York State Assembly Member
Michael Miller. The support and
intervention from Mayor Bill de
Blasio’s team was also instrumental
in reaching this agreement.”
Miller thanked all parties involved
for their commitment to reaching an
“Thank you to the Shi brothers,
building owners of 87-48 78th St.
and Loycent Gordon, owner of Neir’s,
for coming together and reaching an
agreement to keep Neir’s in business,”
Miller said. “I want to thank all parties
who helped make this happen,
Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Queens
Chamber of Commerce, the Queens
Economic Development Corporation,
Councilman Robert Holden and my
staff for coming up with a solution.
I am looking forward to celebrating
Neir’s 200th anniversary.”
Holden also applauded the effort
to keep the historic tavern open.
“It was a great team effort by the
owner Loy, the landlords, and city
and state officials. We can all sleep
well knowing that this beloved 190-
year institution will not have to close
its doors and can continue serving
the community,” he said.
Robert Pozarycki, Dean Moses
and Zach Gewelb contributed to this