“What’s a-matter with you?” Robert De Niro asks a money-flashing wiseguy in the famous Goodfellas scene shot at Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven. “Are you stupid or what?”
Cadwallader R. Coldon certainly wasn’t.
He is the improbably named, politically connected racetrack manager who founded Neir’s Tavern in 1829. Neir’s has been in business almost without interruption ever since, making it arguably the oldest bar in Queens and one of the oldest in all of New York.
Photo Courtesy of Queens Ledger
De Niro’s character Jimmy Conway didn’t want fancy visitors, and neither do Neir’s regulars. The narrow, low-ceilinged bar is a no-frills trip down memory lane. It has cheap drinks ($3 Budweiser; $4 Jameson’s) and live music from local acts a few nights per week. Well-worn armchairs make do for décor; a 2009 renovation restored the original mahogany bar and some fixtures.
Scene from Goodfellas at Neir’s Tavern
Goodfellas being shot at Neir’s Tavern in 1989