Understanding the NY legislation set to go into effect in 2023

January 1, 2023 – Albany, NY – Governor Kathy Hochul takes the oath of office and delivers an inaugural address at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)


By Alicia Venter


As the year came to a close, Governor Kathy Hochul had a busy two weeks. She became the first woman to be sworn into a full term as governor of New York on Jan. 1, and in the month prior, she signed numerous pending state legislation into law.

Notably, she signed a bill that prohibits discrimination based on citizenship or immigration status and immigration status is illegal in New York.

This law will expand the protections from the NYS Division of Human Rights, which currently investigates cases in which individuals have been potentially discriminated against due to their immigration status.

State Senator John Liu and State Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz came together with activists on Dec. 29 in front of Flushing Library to applaud the signing of this bill (S6586A/A6328A).

​​“We appreciate Governor Hochul for signing this legislation in recognition that our state is made greater by the vast contributions of talented and aspiring people from everywhere in the world who adopt New York as their new home,” Liu said in a statement. “Unfortunately, even as they pursue the American Dream, they are stymied by obsolete federal laws and byzantine bureaucracies that prolong their path to citizenship and subject them to bias and discrimination. This bill will help provide equal opportunity in employment, housing, and other needs that all New Yorkers should have access to.”

The first state program in the nation allowing individuals to be reimbursed for the costs of kidney and liver donations came from the governor’s office this week.

The legislation (S.1594/A.146A) amends the public health, tax and social services laws to enact the “New York State Living Donor Support Act,” which will establish a program to cover the extra costs that come with organ donation for New York residents who donate to a fellow New Yorker. The law comes in an effort to eliminate financial barriers to organ donation and, as a result, reduce wait times for organ transplants and address the organ shortage in New York.

As of publication, there are over 8,000 people on transplant wait lists, most of whom are awaiting a kidney, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.

A legislative package (S.3897/A.8936-A) supporting pedestrians, bikers and transit riders included increased funding for “Complete Street” projects.

A Complete Street is a roadway designed for all roadway users — not just drivers.

This includes pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit riders as well as motorists. It also makes an effort to focus on children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

With this legislation, the state’s contribution to the non-federally funded portion of the project increases to 87.5 percent.

New legislation (S.3959-B/A.7822-C) will require the non-voting transit dependent representative be moved into a voting position on transportation authorities’ boards. In short, this new legislation will provide a vote — and a voice — to riders who permanently rely on transit services including bikeshares, buses and paratransit.

To protect existing labor laws on behalf of workers, Hochul signed legislation (S.5994C/A.1338C) that establishes a registration system for contractors and subcontractors engaged in public work and covered private projects. This law will require contractors and subcontractors to provide a series of disclosures about their businesses every two years with the Department of Labor.

The department will determine whether a contractor or subcontractor is fit to registers based on previous labor law and workers compensation law violations, including prevailing wage requirements. This law will create a publicly available database.

Furthermore, notable previously signed laws that are set to go into effect in 2023 include the establishment of a task force and annual report to examine social media and violent extremism.

The Electric Vehicle Rights Act, which prevents a homeowners association from adopting or enforcing any rules or regulations that would effectively prohibit, or impose unreasonable limitations on the installation or use of an electric vehicle charging station, is set to go into effect on Jan. 21.

In this year, student-athletes will be able to receive endorsement compensation, and New York schools will be prohibited from taking away the scholarships or eligibility of any athlete making money from such endorsements.

Husband Charged with Hitting Wife with SUV, Stabbing Her

By Alicia Venter



Stephen Giraldo, 36, has been charged for allegedly hitting his wife with his SUV — with their three children sitting in the car — and then stabbing her with a knife, according to the Office of the Queens District Attorney. The incident took place outside of her Flushing residence.

Sophia Giraldo, the defendant’s 41-year-old wife, has been left with severe neurological damage, broken bones in her leg and a stab wound that punctured her liver.

Giraldo, of 144th Street in Jamaica, was arraigned on charges of attempted murder in the second degree, assault in the first and second degree, reckless endangerment in the second degree, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.

According to the charges, Giraldo entered the driver’s seat of a white Ford Explorer parked near the intersection of Parsons Boulevard and Sanford Avenue in Flushing at approximately 5:20 a.m.

The three children, ages 11, 9 and 6, were seated in the car.

The victim walked in front of the vehicle, and the defendant allegedly told the children to “keep your seatbelt on” before accelerating, striking the victim.

After the collision, the car turned onto its side; the defendant allegedly crawled out of the passenger side window of the vehicle and stabbed his wife with a knife.

The defendant was on the scene when police arrived.

“The brutality of the attack, and the fact that it was committed in full view of the victim’s three young children, stirs heartbreak and outrage in all of us,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz in a statement. “My thoughts are with the children.”

Giraldo has been ordered to return to court on Jan. 12. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

Carrol has been formally charged with the crime, but he has not been found guilty of committing the crime.

City Council Votes to Increase Language Accessibility

By Alicia Venter


Council Member Sandra Ung proposed two of the introductions to this package. (Photo: Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit)

On Dec. 21, the New York City Council voted on a legislative package to increase language access in the city.

The Language Access Act is designed to strengthen language access for residents and small business owners. The legislation will increase the translation of city documents and materials into commonly spoken languages in the city with limited English proficiency.

This legislative package was introduced to the City Council at a time when the city is seeing an increased number of asylum seekers with the end of Title 42, a public health code that allowed the United States to expel those who crossed the border without authorization due to the risk COVID-19 posed. 

Many of these asylum seekers potentially have limited English proficiency.

Adding onto the Language Access Law — a law passed in 2017 to require city agencies to translate commonly distributed documents into 10 designated languages that are most spoken in the city — Queens Council Member Julie Won sponsored Introduction 136-B and Introduction 700-A.

“As our city continues to welcome thousands of new migrants and refugees with the end of Title 42, it’s critical to provide culturally competent language translations and interpretation services to our new neighbors,” Won said in a statement. 

If signed by Mayor Eric Adams, Introduction 136-B would require agencies designated by the mayor to conduct a survey of community-based organizations which would assess their capacity to provide translation, interpretation and other language services.

Introduction 700-A would require any city agencies that provide direct or emergency services to translate commonly distributed documents that relate to the enforcement of local laws. This direct expansion of the Language Access Law’s translation policy, these documents would need to be translated into each of the ten designated citywide languages spoken by New Yorkers with limited English proficiency.

The legislative package also includes the additions of Introduction 697-A and Introduction 699-A, introduced by Queens Council Member Sandra Ung.

Introduction 697-A would require the Office of the Language Services Coordinator, when informed of an event that is likely to cause a significant number of individuals to come into the City, to identify the primary languages spoken by those individuals and list such languages online. Such events could include a natural disaster or a conflict.

Introduction 699-A would require the Business Owners Bill of Rights and the Food Service Establishment Code of Conduct to be translated to additional languages. They also would include information about language access services provided in the city and would require city agencies that regularly conduct inspections to report annually on the number of bilingual inspectors they employ. It also would require the Hearings Division of the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings to provide small business owners with translations of written decisions when requested.

Finally, Introduction 382-A, sponsored by Manhattan Council Member Gale Brewer, would provide in-language guidance to small business owners who receive a settlement offer from the City after being charged with a violation of the Administrative Code or the City Rules.

Pediatric Ophthalmology Center Opens at Jamaica Hospital

Maspeth Federal donated $1 million to the hospital for the opening of the center. Thomas Rudzewick, President & CEO at Maspeth Federal Savings (center) stands with Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech (right) and David Daraio, Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer at Maspeth Federal Savings (left) for the plaque unveiling in the center.

By Alicia Venter


Jamaica Hospital Medical Center unveiled its pediatric ophthalmology center on Thursday, Dec. 8, a state-of-the-art facility unlike any others in Queens. 

Located on the second floor of the Axel Building, the new facility will provide daily vision services to children who previously may have had limited access to comprehensive ophthalmologic care.

Though there are other pediatric ophthalmology in Queens, there was not a center of excellence that combined all the services Jamaica Hospital Medical Center now has into one place. Such services would require Queens residents to travel to Long Island or Manhattan.

Maspeth Federal Savings donated $1 million to complete the center, following years of planning by Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. The organization is the sole donor to the pediatric ophthalmology center, the hospital shared. 

It is this donation that propelled the completion of the project, said Dr. Julia Shulman, Chairperson of the Department of Ophthalmology and pediatric retina specialist. 

“There is a big shortage of high-level pediatric ophthalmology expertise in Queens, and we see that in our current eye center because we take care of pediatric patients,” she shared in an interview. “We wanted to be able to create a dedicated space where all the necessary technology and expertise could come together.“

In the past, services could not be provided every day of the week because of space limitations, and children would be serviced in the same center as adults.

However, there are certain space requirements for examining children that are different from adults. The rooms must be 12 feet, for example. Every type of diagnostic equipment that could be needed to examine a child’s eye can now be found in the center, Shulman explained.

“It’s essentially a one-stop shop depending on what the issue is that we can help them with,” she said.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four preschool-aged children have an undiagnosed or untreated vision problem. They recommend that children get regular eye exams to keep their eyes healthy. Common vision problems in children include refractive errors, amblyopia (or ‘lazy eye’) and strabismus (crossed eyes). Any of these issues, as well as simply getting a vision screening for a quick evaluation of a child’s eyes, can be addressed at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Vision disability is one of the top 10 disabilities among adults 18 and older, the CDC states, and one of the most prevalent conditions among children. Approximately 6.8 percent of children younger than 18 in the United States have a diagnosed eye and vision condition, and nearly three percent of children of that age are blind or visually impaired.

“If their children are having any trouble with their eyes, or if they just want to have their children’s eyes checked, now there is going to be tremendous availability,” Shulman said. “If, heaven forbid, their children do end up having a problem, we will be able to diagnose it and treat it at a very high level.”

From left: Bruce J. Flanz – President and CEO of Jamaica Hospital, Dr. Julia Shulman – Ophthalmology Chairperson, Thomas Rudzewick – President & CEO of Maspeth Federal Savings

Thomas Rudzewick, President, and CEO of Maspeth Federal Savings, was in attendance at the ribbon-cutting, as well as other members of the Maspeth Federal team.

“Maspeth Federal Savings has been working with Jamaica Hospital throughout the pandemic and has provided mission-critical equipment and supporting donations,” Rudzewick said in a statement. “As a community bank, it’s incredibly important to us that the people and facilities in our community have the resources they need to do what they do best, in this case, providing care that our children desperately need.”

Rudzewick was praised for the contributions the bank made to ensure the completion of the project.

“Think about the impact of this donation,” said Tom Grech, President and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, at the ribbon-cutting. “We are grateful as New Yorkers and as people in Queens. We are thankful to all the Rudzewicks.”

According to their website, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center serves a population greater than 1.2 million in Queens and Eastern Brooklyn. 

For more information about the center, visit https://jamaicahospital.org.

Finding the hidden gems of NYC (so you don’t have to)

By Alicia Venter


Zaire Stanislaus loves to keep herself busy. Nursing school and her full time job scheduling at Mount Sinai would be enough to ensure the 29-year-old has a full schedule.

However, beyond her 9-to-5 and labs, the Brooklyn-native is a restaurant marketer and restaurant influencer, managing the social media platforms of New York City restaurants and collaborating with businesses to produce content for more than 125,000 of her Instagram followers @drinklinknyc.

Her job includes staying on top of trends, constant video editing, late night collaborations with restaurants and keeping an eye on other content creators to ensure she stays unique and different. As a social media manager, she runs the accounts of restaurants, including Social Corner and Cove Caribbean Restaurant in Jamaica.

“People think you just go out to eat, and that’s it, but after creating 100 videos, it gets hard to stay creative, unique and different,” Stanislaus said. “You have to really think outside the box so your videos don’t all look the same.”
Stanislaus starts her job before she arrives at the restaurant, scouring their websites for what appears to be their most popular food, or what she feels her audience may like best. It’s not always what she wants to eat, she explained — it’s what she thinks her audience would want to eat.

“Once I get there, I’m trying to execute the idea in my head, not just a random recording,” she said.

Using this process, she explained, creating content is easier and creates a better product for her followers.

Stanislaus’ parents are Trinidadian, and she is very connected to Caribbean culture, so she often features Caribbean food on her page. However, as she grew up eating the food in her home, she acknowledges that her favorite type of restaurants are steakhouses and Thai restaurants.

“The idea of going out and paying more money for things my mom makes is a little weird,” she shared.

Trust, she emphasized, is an indispensable part of her product — without it, her followers are unable to rely on her content. As such, she refuses to post content at restaurants she did not truly enjoy.

“I feel like that is terrible for your brand, it messes up the trust that everyone that follows you has with you, because [they think] that you’re only posting things for you,” she said. She feels that if her followers are going to trust her to spend their money on restaurants she features, she has a burden to ensure that it isn’t money wasted.

Stanislaus also builds relationships with the owners, so if people do not have a good experience visiting the restaurant, she can help them reach out to the owners to find the root of the problem.

“Especially nowadays, restaurants are expensive. You can go out and randomly try restaurants and it’s horrible, and you’ll be so upset that you spent money. I think that with pages like mine we can rectify the situation,” Stanislaus said.

Stanislaus loves to discover hidden gems — stunning places that are not yet well-known or popular. Recently, she visited Room 100 in East New York, off the Jackie Robinson Parkway. Tucked away between car shops and mechanics, Stanislaus was happy to share her spectacular experience with her followers.

“When you walk in, it’s beautiful. It’s small, but it’s designed really well. The staff are friendly and the food is amazing — it’s truly a hidden gem,” she said.

Stanislaus’ day starts at 8:00 a.m., grabbing her i-Pad to make her to-do list. The morning is a balancing act between work for her remote job at Mount Sinai and her clients whose social media accounts she manages. She works on her own page starting around noon, and her afternoon usually involves a collaboration with a restaurant. On Saturday, Stanislaus usually does two or three collaborations.

“I feel like to stay driven or motivated, you have to actually enjoy what you are doing,” she said. “I don’t find it to be a tedious or hard task. Going to restaurants is fun, but creating content is what I truly enjoy…I feel like if you enjoy doing that part, it would never really feel like a job.”

Stanislaus grew up in East New York, and currently lives in Canarsie. She hopes to open a restaurant or lounge in the next five years. A self-described “serial-entrepreneur,” Stanislaus also hopes to grow her personal brand and to reopen her clothing boutique.

Stanislaus is always open to new clients looking for a social media manager, and encourages any restaurant or brand to reach out to her at drinklinknyc@gmail.comor on her Instagram.

Man Indicted for Transporting Two Kilos of Fentanyl into Queens

By Alicia Venter



A man has been indicted on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, standing accused of transporting two kilograms of fentanyl from Suffolk County to Queens for the purpose of selling the drugs for profit.

Dennis Carrol, 31, of Evergreen Road in Flanders, Long Island, was stopped in his car at 188th Street in Hollis on Nov. 28 at approximately 3:30 p.m. by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents. In a search of his car, they discovered two plastic bags containing the two kilograms of fentanyl valued at $80,000, according to a release from the Office of the Queens District Attorney.

According to the release, the amount of fentanyl recovered is enough to produce approximately 20,000 counterfeit fentanyl pills.

Carrol was arraigned on Monday, Dec. 12 on a three-count indictment. He has been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

The arrest comes after the District Attorney’s Major Narcotics Unit of the Major Economics Crime Bureau, in conjunction with the DEA’s New York Division, conducted an investigation of Carrol through the month of November. This investigation involved utilizing court-authorized surveillance of the defendant’s activities during the month.

“Fentanyl is the most dangerous illicit drug on the street today and it presents the most serious threat to public health and safety in the United States.” said Frank Tarentino, DEA Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division.In 2021, 107,622 Americans died from drug poisonings and over 66 percent are directly related to synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Seizures like this demonstrate DEA’s dedication and commitment to working with our law enforcement colleagues to bring to justice those who continue to flood our city streets with poison.”

DEA Laboratory testing reveled that six out of ten fake prescription pills contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl this year, an uptick from the previous year that saw four out of ten counterfeit pills containing such a dose.

According to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, there have been 315 suspected fatal overdose cases in Queens County so far in 2022 — an estimated 50 percent increase from last year. Of these deaths, approximately 76.3 percent have been attributed to fentanyl.

“That is why this case is important and why my office will continue to work relentlessly to get this poison and its merchants off of our streets,” Katz said in a statement.

Carrol has been ordered to return to court on Jan. 10, 2023.

With this indictment, Carrol has been formally charged with the crime by a grand jury. He has not been found guilty of committing the crime.

Any tips about whats happening in Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Ozone Park or Southeast Queens? Email me at aventer@queensledger.com!

City Council Approves Bill for Simplify Ranked Choice Voting Ballot

By Alicia Venter


Council Member Sandra Ung discusses her two bills at a press conference before the full City Council vote. (Photo: Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit)

The New York City Council voted to approve Intro 696, a bill intended to simplify the ballot used in Ranked Choice Voting elections, on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

In Ranked Choice Voting elections, voters can rank up to five candidates in order of preference instead of casting their vote for only one individual.

New York City uses ranked choice voting in primary and special elections for local offices, with the first Ranked Choice Voting election being held on Feb. 2, 2021 in a special election for Queens Council District 24.

According to the legislation, introduced by Flushing Council Member Sandra Ung, the bill would ensure the following:

  • Contests on the same ballot page are separated from one another in a bold black lines
  • Non-english text can be easily compared to the corresponding English text
  • Each language on the ballot is clearly separated and visually distinct
  • To the extent practicable, instructions regarding ranked choice voting appear in black font on a white background

The bill will specifically replace the form language that the Board of Elections uses for the instructions on Ranked Choice Voting ballots with clearer language using fewer words.

“New Yorkers pulled off the largest Ranked Choice Voting election in the history of the U.S. when they went to the polls in last year’s June primary,” said Ung in a statement. “This new law will simplify the ballot and make it easier to understand, encouraging all voters, especially those with limited English proficiency, to take advantage of the opportunity to rank their preferred candidates and strengthen the democratic process. I want to thank my colleagues in the City Council for passing this legislation, and look forward to these common sense ballot changes being implemented in time for the June 2023 primaries.”

Common Cause, a watchdog group that was one of the founders of Rank the Vote NYC, praised the bill.

Rank the Vote NYC was founded in 2019 to bring Ranked Choice Voting to the city. As it is now part of the electoral process, the group now serves to educate voters and the community on the upcoming changes to local elections.

“Common Cause/NY is thrilled that the City Council swiftly voted and passed Councilwoman Ung’s bill which will build on the successes of Ranked Choice Voting and make the ballot even more voter friendly,” said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY and Board Chair of Rank the Vote NYC said in a statement. “Ranked choice voting affords voters more choice and more voice and puts power back in the hands of the people, delivering consensus majority winners every time.”

According to an exiting poll conducted by Edison Research through early voting and on Election Day in 2021 (June 12 – June 22) , 83 percent of voters ranked at least two candidates on their ballots in the mayoral primary, and 77 percent of New Yorkers want Ranked Choice Voting in future elections.

The City Council also voted to approve Intro 698, a bill introduced by Ung to codify the Public Service Corps, which will require the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to recruit students from diverse backgrounds and offer internships at a broad range of city agencies.

Jamaica man indicted for fatally stabbing brother

By Alicia Venter



A man faces up to life in prison for allegedly fatally stabbing his brother in his apartment in July.

Henry Gutierrez, 32, was arraigned yesterday on a three count-indictment for his brother’s death according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office. The charges include murder in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and menacing in the second degree.

The charges claim that, following an argument at approximately 6:20 p.m. on July 12, Gutierrez stabbed his 25-year-old brother Oscar Gutierrez numerous times in the neck, torso and arm.

Family members in the home called the police while Gutierrez, evading police. The knife used in the crime was recovered at the scene.

The victim died from his injuries at a nearby hospital.

Gutierrez is of Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica. His court date has been set for Jan. 24 — if convicted, he faces 25-years-to-life in prison.

“This is a horrific family tragedy. One brother is dead, another faces life in prison and everyone else is left to grieve and mourn and deal for the rest of their lives with the emotional trauma,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. “In the fallen brother’s memory, we will seek justice.”

With this indictment, Gutierrez has been formally charged with the crime by a grand jury. He has not been found guilty of committing the crime.

Any tips about whats happening in Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, Ozone Park or Southeast Queens? Email me at aventer@queensledger.com!

Serge Abergel of Hydro-Quebec recognized by Queens Chamber

By Alicia Venter


Serge Abergel is the Chief Operating Officer of Hydro-Quebec, a Quebec-based company that generates, transmits and distributes clean energy throughout Canada and areas of the United States.  

For his work in promoting sustainable energy in Queens, he has been honored by the Queens Chamber of Commerce as a Business Person of the Year.

“We are in this huge energy transition. We are trying to lessen our usage of fossil fuel,” Abergel said. “People are looking for alternatives to using fossil fuels. This is especially relevant in the case of New York City and in the case of neighborhoods like Queens.”

Abergel is responsible for the U.S. operations — all energy exports from Quebec to the United States. Talking to Queens residents, Abergel shared, led to an immediate connection between the company’s mission and their desires.

“Especially in Queens, you have part of the community that is right next to oil burning fossil-fuel peakers,” Abergel said, referencing the Ravenswood Generating Plant — which is currently undergoing their “Renewable Ravenswood” effort to produce 100% renewable energy.

“Those are fossil fuel generating plants,” he continued. “The big issue of these things is that they pollute, they worsen air quality in areas like Queens, and they create health consequences.” 

To engage with the community, Hydro-Quebec cultivates partnerships because “it is the only way we are going to have that successful transition [to renewable energy,]” Abergel said.

The company has worked to partner with community organizations throughout Queens, such as the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens based in Long Island City, and through working with local schools. 

“We are thinking differently and we are thinking about real relationships with real people,” Abergel explained. “This [recognition] is less about me, but all these people who took part in this process.”

Recently, Hydro-Quebec, partnered with Transmission Developers Inc., donated $1.25 million to fund a science lab as well as STEM programming in the new clubhouse of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens. It is expected to be completed in 2026.

In local schools, Hydro-Quebec supports a laundry program for low-income families to ensure they have access to clean clothing.

These partnerships, Abergel emphasized, are “not transactional” or short-term — they are looking for further partnerships and to be a part of their existing relationships beyond the foreseeable future.

“We deeply believe in this,” Abergel expressed. “We are committed long term… What we want is not just to support financially, but to be there, interacting with people, for years to come.

Owner Loycent Gordon shares his vision for future of Neir’s Tavern


By Alicia Venter


Loycent Gordon has been the owner and proprietor of “Neir’s Tavern” in Woodhaven for 14 years. 

Located at 87-48 78th St., Neir’s has been deemed “the most famous bar you’ve never heard of,” and is in its 193rd year of operation. 

Nearing its bicentennial, Gordon is aiming to solidify the future of Neir’s Tavern, hoping to create a strategic board of directors and to possibly have the building become a historic house. Above all, Gordon feels Neir’s Tavern should be owned, not rented. 

Ownership, Gordon believes, would solidify the safety of Neir’s Tavern. External forces would not impact the future of the bar. In order for “Neir’s for Years” — a community effort, seen on the walls of Neir’s Tavern, to ensure the longevity of the bar — to come to fruition, Gordon feels it must be autonomous from a landlord or anybody beyond devoted supporters.

“I just feel like Neir’s Tavern shouldn’t be dependent on one person. It’s way more important than that. We need to have a real sustainable model, not one that’s predicated on who has the cheapest prices of beer,” Gordon said. “I know that’s counterproductive to a business and trying to get customers, but I think at the end of the day that Neir’s Tavern is the deal. It’s the deal of the century.”

Acting with a board of directors, there are avenues of revenue that Gorden feels will best ensure the future of the bar. 

“We need to figure out how Neir’s Tavern can rise above that fight for customer’s attention. We don’t have all the money in the world to have that economy of scale, of advertising, of buying a ton of products so that you can get it cheaper,” Gordon said. “What we can have is this hope for economy of the community. If everyone can do a little part, we are more powerful than what any advertising dollar can do.”

Gordon does not want the future of Neir’s to sit on his shoulders alone. That, he feels, makes it too vulnerable, and he faithfully believes that it must last beyond his time as owner.

“I’m now transitioning to ‘What is Neir’s like without Loy?’ and that’s scary. I’m looking at a different way that Neir’s can survive without me,” he said. 

He looked at the street name, recently titled ‘Neir’s Tavern Way,’ and emphasized that owning Neir’s is an act of service — hence why it is not named ‘Loycent Gordon Way.’

As a small business owner, Gordon has faced an array of challenges. Most notably, he was nearly forced to close the bar in 2020 following a jump in rent from around $2,000 to $5,000 plus other expenses. 

With support from elected officials — including the office of then-mayor Bill DeBlasio — the community and the Queens Chamber of Commerce, an agreement was reached for a new five-year lease with a considerably lower rent. 

“The small business owners have glorified jobs,” Gordon said. “They could get paid similarly or even more working for someone. But they don’t because there is a level of passion that they aren’t willing to give up — doing something for hopefully the next generation.”

For his contributions in saving Neir’s Tavern and his devotion to the bar — and by extension, the community — Gordon has been honored by the Queens Chamber of Commerce as a Business Person of the Year.

However, he felt it necessary to emphasize that he alone did not save the bar. 

“I can’t eat all the burgers and drink all the beer,” Gordon said. “We have to work together to make sure Neir’s presses on.”

Prior to becoming the owner at Neir’s Tavern, Gordon had never runned a bar or restaurant. He is an immigrant, coming to the United States at age 10. 

Helped by a community of staff at P.S. 116, he went from being overwhelmingly behind educationally in his fourth grade class to graduating at its top, receiving a standing ovation from parents and staff at his graduation. He recalls janitors peeking their heads through the door windows, hoping to catch a glimpse of Gordon crossing the stage.

This experience left a lasting impression on Gordon — an impression that made him see the failing state of Neir’s Tavern as a way for him to give forward the support that was given to him.

“I came into Neir’s Tavern seeing that it was going to close. The long forgotten place that was special, just as I felt I was, but wasn’t given the love,” Gordon said. “This was my opportunity to give back. What if I could save one of America’s oldest places as an immigrant, as my service.”

Beyond his work at Neir’s Tavern, Gordon is an active firefighter. He was the first graduating class to be hired following the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Neir’s Tavern offers a distinct experience to its customers. Service is part of Gordon’s identity.

From a bowl that allows people to leave behind a community memory and mementos from the 1800s, there is more to Neir’s Tavern than beer. 

“It’s about preserving one of America’s oldest places,” Gordon said. “There’s not many of them left.”


Neir’s has a community bowl to leave a memory, emphasizing the importance locals have on the historic building.

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