A day after one of New York’s oldest bars announced it would close, Mayor Bill De Blasio he said he wants the city to try to keep the venue afloat.
“We will work with you to see if we can save this business,” De Blasio told the owner of Neir’s Tavern on “Ask the Mayor,” his weekly radio segment on WNYC, offering to put the bar’s in touch with the city’s Small Business Services commissioner.
The 190-year-old bar and restaurant in Woodhaven Queens, where Martin Scorsese filmed several scenes of the mob classic Goodfellas, is scheduled to shutter on Sunday.
Owner Loy Gordon, who said he was closing Neir’s because of insufficient sales and a rent hike, called into the show to see if the city could help, criticizing municipal regulations and “greedy landlords” in the process. Gordon tried unsuccessfully to secure landmark status for Neir’s in 2016.
The mayor expressed sympathy for Gordon’s plight, but replied that the landlord, rather than landmarking, is the primary challenge.
“I hope the landlord realizes…that this is absolutely inappropriate. If you want to make a buck this is not the way to do it,” De Blasio said, adding that the landlord could “do something good for New York City by backing off and allowing you to continue at a rent level that is actually achievable.”
Gordon told Eater yesterday that the landlord was asking for $5,400 a month, a more-than-$2,000 per month increase that he would have to pay on top of building repairs.
The mayor asked the owner to “hang in there,” and to see if Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop could put together a package, which might includes loans as well as grants, to help.
According to the Daily News, Armando Demarino, property manager for the new owner, has been trying to work out a deal with Neir’s. “I don’t want the tavern to be lost,” he told the paper. “I’m trying to negotiate to help everybody. Nobody wants this place closed down.”
Eater has reached out to Small Business Services and Gordon for updates.