Oct. 4, 2021 By Allie Griffin
A street in Woodhaven has been co-named after historic neighborhood bar Neir’s Tavern.
The corner of 78th Street and 88th Avenue was co-named “Neir’s Tavern Way” during a ceremony Saturday hosted by Council Member Robert Holden. The establishment, located at 87-48 78th St., is credited by some historians as being the oldest bar in New York City.
Holden passed legislation earlier this year to designate the street corner “Neir’s Tavern Way.” The watering hole is about to celebrate its 192nd year in business.
The bar was in danger of shutting down in early 2020 when owner Loycent Gordon was unable to reach an agreement with his landlord when his lease was up for renewal. Several elected officials and community leaders stepped in to save the bar and a new lease was negotiated.
“I’m very proud of how our community came together to save this storied establishment and to further preserve its place in Queens history with the street co-naming,” Holden said in a statement.
Gordon, who is also an active FDNY firefighter, attended the co-naming ceremony with his family.
He thanked Holden and former Assembly Member Mike Miller for their continuous support. The two helped broker the deal with the landlord in January 2020 that allowed Neir’s Tavern to keep its doors open.
“I want to thank Council Member Holden and Former State Assembly Member Mike Miller for this stamp of approval that Neir’s Tavern has graduated to a priceless institution and should be preserved forever,” Gordon said in a statement. “Neir’s Tavern will forever go down in history as we aim to reach our 2029 Bicentennial.”
Gordon, who is a Jamaican immigrant, said he faced doubts from many when he became the owner of Neir’s Tavern 12 years ago.
“12 years ago I was told, ‘why are you doing this? You’re a young black man and This is an old white man’s bar that nobody cares about anymore’,” he said on Twitter.
“12 years later this place will literally be on the map with NYC passing the law our corner will forever be named “Neir’s Tavern Way”,” he continued. “Whatever happens, its 191-year legacy will never disappear.”
The bar first opened in 1829 as the Blue Pump Room before being renamed Neir’s Tavern in 1898. It was featured in a few scenes from popular film “Goodfellas” and in an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown.”
Gordon signed a five-year lease for the bar space a year ago. The lease agreement includes an option to renew it for another five years when it is up.
12 Years ago I was told why are you doing this? You’re a young black man and This is an old white man’s bar that nobody cares about anymore.
This industry has the highest failure rates for people who actually KNOW how to run a restaurant. You have no experience.
— Loycent (@Loycent) October 1, 2021