Neir’s Celebrates Historic Designation With Community Block Party

By Britney Trachtenberg 

Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven hosted a community block party on Sat., Apr. 27 to celebrate their Queensmark Historic Designation, given to the bar by the Queens Historical Society. 

Previously, the New York City Landmarks Commission denied Neir’s Tavern landmark status. According to community bar owner Loycent Gordon, the commission said that the bar did not meet the necessary level of significance. Gordon said, “Today, we are going to change that.” Attendees met his words with car honks and applause. 

The speeches started at 2:00 p.m., given by Neir’s Tavern Ambassador Club President Richie Salmon, Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society President Ed Wendell, Gordon, Queens Historical Society Board President Rob McCay, Executive Director of the Queens Historical Society Jason Antos, Councilwoman Joann Ariola, and a representative from Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.’s office.

First, Salmon thanked the attendees for coming out to support the community bar. “We’re all here because of [Loycent],”. He said. “Neir’s would not be here …[if not for] him. We wouldn’t be having this [if not for] him. Everybody says that DeBlasio saved Neir’s. Loycent’s the one that saved Neir’s.”

In 2009, Gordon bought Neir’s Tavern to save the historic bar from closing down. As of Apr. 27, the bar is halfway to their 195th Anniversary, which will happen in October.  

After approaching the stage, Gordon asked for his son, Evan, and wife, Aeisha. Evan’s birthday occurred on Sun., Apr. 28, one day after the celebration. Gordon commented, “First, he was in the stomach and then we had him in the basket, all right here at Neir’s Tavern. Now he’s running around Neir’s Tavern.” In true community spirit, he invited the crowd to sing happy birthday to his son. Evan thanked the attendees for the birthday wishes.

Gordon referred to the Woodhaven community throughout his speech. He said, “Neir’s Tavern is not mine. Neir’s Tavern is yours. I did this to help save one of America’s oldest taverns because it needed help, but I always tell people ‘I can’t eat all the burgers and drink all the beer.’ I need your help. We need your help.” He spoke about the community’s role in the bar’s success.

He said, “Neir’s is what you decide to do with it, not just what I decide,” Gordon said. A driver honked his car horn in approval. He continued, “You see something wrong, you see something needed, you say ‘We don’t have to wait for someone else to save us.’ We have the ability to stand up to what we see is wrong and say ‘No. Not this one. Not Neir’s Tavern.’” He added, “I’ve witnessed people like Richie [and] I’ve witnessed people like Swim Strong Foundation who are doing good work in the community and I’m so happy I have an ability to actually create a vehicle for you guys to do all your fundraisers, all your family get-togethers, and it makes me smile because it makes me believe that community in the sense of taking care of each other still exists today.”

Gordon thanked supporters of the bar. He thanked the Neir’s For Years community members, Neir’s Ambassadors, and customers for their support. Then, he gave shout-outs to government officials: Queens Community Board 9 Chair Sherry Algredo, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s office and State Senator Joseph Addabbo’s office, State Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar, and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr.’s office.

Previously, the Senator gave Neir’s Tavern the first Empire Business Award of New York. 

Then, Gordon expressed his gratitude for the Woodhaven Residents Block Association, Forest Hills Hospital, Gotham EMS., the Jamaica Hospital, and the Kiwanis Club of Ozone Park-Woodhaven. He mentioned Queens Civil Court candidate Shairfa Nasser-Cuellar as well. 

Lastly, Gordon said “I want to just thank the Neir’s Tavern team who’s inside right now working very hard, so give them a round of applause so loud they can hear you.”

McCay and Antos stepped onto the stage to give Gordon the Queensmark Historic Designation plaque. Initially, the Queens Historical Society used to give the award to buildings and homes with architectural value. Recently, the organization started giving the award to local businesses with historical value. Antos said, “We hope that these plaques help preserve the business, bring awareness to the business, and help it in its quest to achieve some sort of landmark status.”

Councilwoman Ariola said, “In the last round before this past election day, Neir’s was one block out of my district. Now you’re in the heart of my district.”

A representative from Congresswoman Velazquez’s office gave Gordon a congressional record. The representative read a section of the record aloud for attendees, which said that Gordon immigrated from the country of Jamaica to Queens at ten years old.

The representative from Senator Addabbo’s office thanked Gordon for contributing to the community.

After the speeches, members of Gotham EMS gave CPR demonstrations on adult and infant mannequins. They educated the crowd on the signs of a stroke.

The event featured a bouncy house, face painting, and a raffle. Attendees lined up outside the bar to receive free hotdogs, chips, and bottles of water. 

Gordon said “At least once a year, we have a block party and invite everyone to come out. Our advertising is this. Being a community gathering place, we help people eat and drink and have a good time.”

Neir’s Tavern hosts community events throughout the year such as food drives and cancer awareness events. The bar has karaoke nights, trivia nights, open mics, and even a writers’ circle that meets once a week.

Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing