Historic Neir’s Tavern saved at the last minute

File photo

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.

Loycent Gordon, center, with Ed Wendell of the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society, left, and State Senator Joe Addabbo, right.

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.”

Neir’s Tavern organized a celebration for its 190th anniversary

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.

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Property tax exemption workshop tomorrow

New York State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D-Rochdale Village, Far Rockaway) will be hosting the first of a three part event series with Department of Finance to assist homeowners in reducing their property taxes and to aid tenants in applying for a rent freeze.

The first event will be held at Battalion Pentecostal Church, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 7. Please review the flyer above, which lists all of the necessary documents needed in order to receive assistance.

To RSVP, call Senator Sanders’ Office at (718)-327-7017 or (718)-523-3069.

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“Punjab Way” and “Gurdwara Street” coming to Richmond Hill

Two thoroughfares in Richmond Hill are being co-named next year to pay homage to the neighborhood’s growing Sikh and Punjabi communities.

Councilwoman Adrienne Adams announced last week that 101st Avenue between 111th Street and 123rd Street will be renamed “Punjab Way.” Punjab is the region in India where Sikhism originated.

In addition, the two-block stretch on 97th Avenue from Lefferts Boulevard to 117th Street will also be known as “Gurdwara Street.” A gurdwara is a Sikh place of worship.

We have a beautiful multicultural mosaic not only in my district but the city as a whole and believe that it should be celebrated,” Adams said. “It is important that diverse communities see themselves and their varying cultures represented in the landscape.”

According to Annetta Seecharran, executive director of Chhaya CDC, Punjabi and Sikh communities have been part of Richmond Hill for over half a century.

“From construction sites and yellow cabs, to hospitals and our government, Punjabis and Sikhs help run this city, and are part of its fabric,” she said. “We are excited to see that our community is finally being represented for its contributions.”

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AM Miller visits Richmond Hill and at PS 97 before the holidays

Assemblyman Miller and his granddaughter Julia celebrated the holiday season by stopping by the Richmond Hill Block Association to visit Santa Claus. 

The One Stop Center and the Richmond Hill Block Association gives the opportunity every year for children in the neighborhood to meet Santa and let him know what’s on their Christmas wish list.

“I thank the One Stop Richmond Hill Center and the Richmond Hill Block Association for continuing this wonderful Christmas tradition,” said Assemblyman Miller.

The same day, Assemblyman Miller also attended PS 97’s 3rd Annual STEAM Night, which is an annual event that focuses on science, technology, engineering, art and math. 

“I always enjoy attending STEAM Night,” said Assemblyman Miller. “This event is a fun way for students to learn and teach each other through stories and activities. I commend the leadership team for having a focus on these important school subjects and showcasing the students’ work at their annual event.”

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Woodhaven building lands on Worst Landlords List

A Woodhaven building on 85th Street has been included in the public advocate’s annual list of worst landlords.

88-42 85th Street has the second most hazardous violations in Queens, with 332 HPD open violations on average per month.

The four-unit building has not had any tax liens or evictions over the past few years, but strangely has a large number of HPD violations.

For a complete list of Queens properties that made the list, see here.

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South Ozone Park sewage claims clinic this Saturday

Do you need help filing a claim with the Comptroller’s Office regarding recent sewage damage to your home?

This Saturday, Dec. 14, Senator Sanders joins Comptroller Scott Stringer to bring help directly to the community with a session that will help answer any question you might have.

The event will take place from 12 – 4 p.m. at the Marriott Hotel (145-11 North Conduit Ave.). Bring photo ID and any available information regarding the damages to your home.
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Public discussion on criminal justice reforms Dec. 9

On Monday, Dec. 9, at 6:30 p.m., the Queens Community Board 9 land use and public safety committees will hold a public forum on criminal justice and bail reforms that will be implemented in January.

Queens Senior Executive Assistant District Attorney James Quinn and Councilman Robert Holden will host the discussion.

Starting in January of 2020, judges across New York will have less discretion when a defendant first appears in court. There will be no more cash bail for most misdemeanor and felony arrests.

Location: Queens Borough Hall, 120-55 Queens Blvd., Room 213

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Ozone Park tree lighting set for this Saturday

The Ozone Park Residents Block Association will celebrate its second annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 7, thanks to cooperation from the Ozone Park Kiwanis, the Southwest Queens Rotary, the Living Word Church, Tibbs Construction, Senator Joe Addabbo, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, and Assemblyman Mike Miller.

Festivities will begin at 6 p.m. at Living World Christian Fellowship Church (132-05 Crossbay Blvd). This will be Ozone Park’s biggest lighting event to date, complete with shows by local dance troupes, pictures with Santa, toys, free hot dogs, pretzels, Hot Chocolate and other surprises.

The Christmas tree will be lit around 7-7:15 p.m.

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Assemblyman David Weprin sponsors holiday toy drive

Assemblyman Weprin is teaming up with the Irwin Altman Middle School 172 to sponsor a holiday toy drive.

The drive is a tribute to the memory of Jason Mark. Weinstein, son of the Honorable Jeremy S. Weinstein, who served as an administrative judge for the Supreme Court of Queens County.

They are asking for new or gently used toys, books, or games for children ages 12 and under, to benefit the children of Heartshare Human Services of New York, and other programs around Richmond Hill. Many of the toys will go to children with special needs.

Donations will be accepted from now until Dec. 20 at the assemblyman’s Fresh Meadows and Richmond Hill District Offices.

For more information, contact either office at 718-805-2381 or 718-454-3027.

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Ulrich to host 2nd annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner

Councilman Eric Ulrich is hosting his second annual Thanksgiving Day dinner on Thursday, November 28 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Villa Russo, located at 101-12 Lefferts Boulevard.

The free event is held under this mantra: No one should be alone on Thanksgiving.

The councilman started the tradition last Thanksgiving after hearing from several residents who had nowhere to go on that day. More than 60 constituents joined Ulrich last year for dinner at Arabella’s Castle in Ozone Park.

“While the holidays are usually happy occasions for many of us, they can be sad or lonely days for others,” he says. “There are people in our community who suffer from depression, or have nowhere to go on Thursday. I want them to spend Thanksgiving with me.”

Ulrich, who is anticipating a large turnout, picked Villa Russo for this year’s dinner. The venue’s owners generously provided the space at no cost.

Additionally, several local businesses pledged to donate catered food for the event.

The event will provide transportation for seniors and people with disabilities upon request by calling Ulrich’s office no later than Tuesday, November 26.

Volunteers are needed for the day of to help with transportation, setting up and cleaning the venue.

To volunteer, contact Marjorie Coello at 718-738-1084 or at mcoello@council.nyc.gov.

RSVP is strongly encouraged for the dinner.

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