2016-05-11 / Front Page

Rally Held To Landmark Neir’s Tavern

Neir’s owner, Loy Gordon, and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.Neir’s owner, Loy Gordon, and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.On May 7, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley joined hundreds in the charge to landmark Neir’s Tavern, a historic part of the Queens community. Crowley stood alongside elected officials, the Historic Districts Council, community leaders, Neir’s owner, staff and local residents as they rallied for the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission (LPC) to officially recognize the building, built in 1829.

“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.”

Neir’s Tavern is the oldest restaurant nationwide that has continuously operated at the same site and survived the age of prohibition, two World Wars, countless recessions and various ownership and name changes. But despite its resilience and significant history, Neir’s has yet to be recognized as a true New York City landmark.

“We were very proud to stand alongside residents, civic groups, students, families and longtime residents who came out to take a stand alongside everyone who came out to call for the landmarking of Neir’s Tavern,” said Ed Wendell, President of the Woodhaven Historical Society.

Additionally, the Woodhaven community fought for 40 years to make the Forest Park Neir's Tavern and the New York State Historical Marker.PHOTOS JASON D. ANTOSNeir's Tavern and the New York State Historical Marker.PHOTOS JASON D. ANTOSCarousel a New York City landmark, after being told “no” countless times, Crowley noted.

“It’s also important that landmarking this site would safeguard it from future development,” she said. “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.”

The interior of Neir's Tavern.The interior of Neir's Tavern.More than 250 community members have signed the petition to landmark Neir’s and wrote postcards with messages about the importance of the Tavern to the community. Postcards will be mailed out in batches throughout the next few weeks. In three months, if no progress is made, Neir’s owner, Loy Gordon, will form a committee to “pressure the LPC to look at Queens’ great, historic treasures closely before we lose them all.”

“The people of New York City should play an equal part in choosing what gets preserved and landmarked. At Saturday’s rally, we came together to say, ‘We exist, and we matter!’” Gordon said. “Neir’s Tavern matters, Woodhaven matters, the borough of Queens matters. We are all a part of the fabric of New York City history.”

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