BY JON CRONIN
After an incredible outpouring of community approval at their landmarking rally earlier this month, the owner of Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven, Loy Gordon reported that the Landmarks Preservation Commission has denied the 187 year-old bar landmark status.
Gordon said he received the letter a week after the rally. He recalled the message as, “Neir’s Tavern does not rise to the level of significance to warrant interior landmarking.” He said in the letter the Preservation Commission said landmarking would not prevent future development of Neir’s or protect it. Gordon said, “I don’t believe that is of any real significance, there is an aspect of landmarking that helps with protection.”
Gordon is still unwavered in his determination to get the historic bar landmarked.
“Neir’s is important in the landscape of NYC history. So much history here is being denied,” he said.
He added, “Queens in general doesn’t get the recognition that it deserves. Queens matters as well.”
Gordon said ABC Entertainment reached out to him and let him know that the news segment they produced on Neir’s will be broadcast on a network to 6,000 cabs across the city.
Nick Gulotta, Queens borough director of the Mayor’s Community Affairs unit, “is taking this case personally and talking to the Landmark Commission on our behalf,” said Gordon.
Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Historical Society said, noted the bar’s storied history.
“The thing that people lose track of is the racetrack,” he said. referencing the Union Course Racetrack which existed between 1821 and 1880 and was the main reason for the development of the neighborhood.
“They built a railroad to this area because of the track. The whole area would be different if not for the racetrack,” said Wendell. “There is really only one physical remnant of the track, the bar. It sat outside the main gate.”
He noted that when looking at a map of the area, 88th Avenue has a little “wiggle” by Neir’s. “That little wiggle on 88th Avenue is the main entrance. If that doesn’t warrant it for special protection then why do we have a landmark preservation society?”
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) stated, “Neir’s is a critical piece of New York City’s history, and deserves to be protected as such. I am not taking “no” as an answer, and will continue to push the LPC to give Neir’s its rightful landmark status.”
Reach Reporter Jon Cronin at (718) 357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin