By Mark Hallum
Neir’s Tavern held a rally with Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) Saturday to create awareness of the need for the Landmark Preservation Committee to approve its application.
Loycent Gordon, the owner of Neir’s Tavern at 87-48 78th St. in Woodhaven , put in an application to have the building landmarked in August 2015 and there has yet to be approval from the LPC.
“The purpose of today is to raise awareness for landmark status for Neir’s Tavern,” Gordon told the 50 or so people at the rally. “Elizabeth Crowley has been a driving force in terms of her political connection to try to push this forward. Another organization that is coming together today is the Historic Districts Council of New York City. They advocate for landmark status and they’ve partnered up with us.”
The 180-year-old establishment has been a hangout for Woodhaven residents since the days when the Union Course Horse Racing Track was situated along 78th Street, and the aesthetic appeal of the interior has drawn the likes of Martin Scorsese and other filmmakers.
The tavern, known to many as the oldest continuously operating bar in New York City, also serves as a unique location for the film industry. The mafia classic “Goodfellas” had scenes that were filmed in Neir’s, according to the tavern’s website, and the Emmy Award-winning show “New York Originals” also shot scenes at the bar.
“I’m a firefighter and a business owner who’s trying to make things happen,”Gordon said. “ I’ve been waiting to do this for several years, and now we have a concerted effort to push that agenda forward.”
Maria Thomson is the executive director of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District and an advocate for Neir’s achieving landmark status. According to Thomson, the other attempts to achieve this goal have been fruitless, but she believes the work that Gordon and Crowley are doing are part of a different, more effective approach.
A renovation took place once Gordon purchased the business in 2009, Thomson said, but most of the features are original. The entire building is clad in ancient cedar, the inside has pressed tin ceilings and walls and the front door dog-ears the corner of the building.
“Neir’s is already a landmark in the eyes of countless people, and is really like no other place in the city. It has lasted through generations upon generations of patrons and is a staple in Woodhaven,” Crowley said. “It is the feeling of familiarity, family and community that makes Neir’s more than just a bar—it is home, it is part of our lives. The LPC should more often look towards our borough of rich, historic treasures… During a time when development is on the rise in our city, so many mom-and-pop stores and small businesses lose out to bigger companies. We cannot risk that happening to Neir’s Tavern.”
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall