UPDATE: Neir’s Tavern was saved thanks to a last-minute handshake deal between Loy Gordon and the building owners, Henry and Ken Shi.
Read more about the circumstances of their deal in this week’s Leader-Observer newspaper!
Woodhaven, and New York City generally, was met with some tough news this morning.
In an email sent to his subscribers, Neir’s Tavern owner Loycent Gordon announced that the 190-year-old legendary establishment will close its doors on Sunday, January 12.
Gordon informed longtime supporters of the tavern that he will step down as owner, and has no one to replace him.
“I’ve been unable to obtain an affordable long term lease to reach our goal of the 200th anniversary in 2029,” he wrote.
Gordon said he had been operating month-to-month with unaffordable rent and insufficient sales to overcome net loses. And due to increasing personal obligations, he wrote, he no longer has the time to overcome the increased business challenges.
“Everyday I pray I would find a way to dedicate more time to overcome these challenges until yesterday I had to face the truth,” he wrote. “But I have no more money after Sunday.
“I’m sorry I let you down,” Gordon added. “But I’m grateful for all the memories we’ve created together saving Neir’s Tavern the last 11 years I’ve been here.”
After learning the shocking news, our friends at the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society released the following statement:
On Twitter, fans of the historic institution expressed sadness that the bar would close. Some called for more media attention, and others are asking for help to save it.
In May 2016, supporters hosted a rally to call for the landmarking of Neir’s Tavern. Though they ultimately failed, they made the point that it’s important to reserve historic links to any community’s origins.
As Ed Wendell noted in his February 2019 column in the Leader-Observer newspaper, Neir’s was around even before the neighborhood was called Woodhaven. It opened in October 1829 as The Blue Pump Room.
Neir’s was located across the street from the Union Course Race Track, which Wendell said drew more than 70,000 people to the neighborhood.
Throughout its 190-year history, it has had many notable moments, including Mae West’s first professional appearance and its prominence in the film “Goodfellas.”
Just this past September, Neir’s celebrated its 190th birthday with a block party, featuring music, games, a bouncy castle, food and more.
Wendell wrote that the celebration served as a kickoff to the 10-year countdown for the establishment’s 200th anniversary.
Sadly, Neir’s Tavern won’t get to reach that milestone, barring a last minute “miracle,” as Gordon wrote in his email.
Again, Sunday will be its last day. We hope it receives a proper sendoff from Woodhaven and beyond.