Deal Reached To Keep 190-Year-Old Queens Bar Featured In ‘Goodfellas’ From Closing

WCBS 880 Newsroom
January 10, 2020 - 8:45 pm
Neir's Tavern

Marla Diamond/WCBS 880

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Neir’s Tavern and Grill in Queens, one of New York City’s oldest bars, will stay open after all.

The tavern, which opened in 1829, was set to close its doors for the last time on Sunday after the rent had increased by nearly 400% and the owner could not keep up with the costs.

Owner Loycent Gordon told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond that the bar, which was featured in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film “Goodfellas,” would close unless a miracle happened – and shockingly one did.

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday heard the pleas for help and announced a deal had been reached to keep the Woodhaven bar alive, while he slammed “greedy landlords.”

"You own an important part of history," the mayor told Gordon on his WNYC broadcast. "You have a historical business, beloved in the community, the landlord is still making a decent return, and why they have to jack up the rent all the time just drives me crazy."

Gordon's lease expired a year ago and he can no longer afford to keep the place open, saying his landlord has tripled the rent in the last two years — going up from $1,100 to $5,400 a month.

The FDNY lieutenant, who bought the establishment in 2009, said he had hoped the landlord would renegotiate the rent before the mayor stepped in to help.

De Blasio has promised to speak to the Landmarks Preservation Commission about the iconic tavern, which has been denied landmark status in the past.

During an appearance at the bar Friday night, the mayor announced a deal has been reached with the landlord the Small Business Services is awarding them a $90,000 grant from the Love Your Local program.

When Neir’s first opened, the neighborhood was mostly farmland and its main attraction was the Union Course Race Track.

"It is the most famous bar you've never heard of," Gordon said.

It features a Honduran Mahogany bar counter dating back to before the Civil War and it's rumored screen legend Mae West, who lived down the block, got her start at Neir's, performing in the ballroom that was housed in the back