One of New York City’s oldest bars was denied landmark status Friday by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Laycent Gordon, the owner of Neir’s Tavern located at the corner of 78th Street and 88th Avenue, was informed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission that the establishment does not rise to the level of significance to gain landmark status and would not be protected from future development.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission issued an official statement to The Queens Courier Friday afternoon via email.
“The agency received a request for evaluation for the interior of Neir’s Tavern and determined that it did not rise to the level of an interior landmark,” it said. “We will re-evaluate the request if new information is submitted.”
In May, Woodhaven residents, elected officials, civic leaders and historians rallied in support of the historic watering hole receiving a landmark status.
“They denied us landmark status but gave it to a four-story Pepsi sign that was built in 1988,” Gordon said. “They thought that was more historically significant than our tavern.”
Neir’s Tavern is the oldest bar in Queens. The Woodhaven watering hole poured their first ice-cold beer in 1829 under the name of the “Blue Pump Room.”
The tavern has appeared in a number of films and for years, it has been the pub of choice for a number of New Yorkers who would go on to become world-renowned celebrities.
Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese was so taken by the establishment that he used the tavern as a backdrop in a number of scenes in “Goodfellas.” The film launched the careers of many actors and is seen by some today as one of the most iconic gangster movies of all time.
Hollywood actress Mae West gave her first performance at Neir’s Tavern in 1898. She lived in Woodhaven four blocks down the street and would frequent the tavern to have a drink with friends.
“Neir’s is already a landmark as far as the people of Queens, especially Woodhaven, are concerned, but it deserves the respect of being officially named as one by the city,” Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. said in a statement issued Friday.
Gordon will continue to fight for the preservation of Neir’s Tavern. He doesn’t want to see economic development in Woodhaven claim another place that is so important to the local community.
“We’re very disappointed with the Landmark Preservation Commission’s decision,” Gordon said. “It’s a slap in the face of something we thought was a clear-cut decision.”
QNS has reached out to Landmarks Preservation Commission for a comment and is awaiting a response.