Van Morrison, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Met Opera stars, and the Muppets are the world famous celebrities providing entertainment and enrichment in the borough this week. Other possibilities are a LEGO fest, comedy, seniors singing Broadway, a Summer Solstice event, and an International Yoga Day gala. Here’s the rundown.
June 18, Music Under the 7 Train, 6:30 pm. The Street Beat Brass Band presents a multicultural program of brass-based and street-based music from various parts of the world. Free. Bliss Plaza, Queens Boulevard and 46th Street under the 7 train station, Sunnyside.
June 18, Big Band Music, 6:30 pm. New York City Swing plays big band favorites by Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, and Duke Ellington. Free. Queens Library’s Howard Beach Branch, 92-06 156th Avenue, Howard Beach.
On Monday, we posted about the Historic Jackson Heights Weekend, which features two days of walking tours around the neighborhood. This was accurate as far as it goes, but it deserves an amplification, as there are guided treks all around the borough this weekend.
On Saturday, official Queens historian Jack Eichenbaum gives his signature expedition, The World of the 7 Train. It’s actually a series of six walks along with subway rides. He discusses the history and impact of the 7 line, while stopping in Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Corona, and Flushing, where the event ends with lunch, probably at a Chinese restaurant.
The Spot: Neir’s Tavern, 87-48 78th Street, Woodhaven.
The Deal: Looking through lists of New York City’s oldest bars, there is often a glaring omission: Neir’s Tavern. The Woodhaven pub has been in continuous operation (barring that time called Prohibition) and in the same location since 1829. That’s 25 years longer than McSorley’s, if you’re counting.
Although Neir’s may not always get the recognition it deserves, the pub has played host to a remarkable number of bold-face names. “Neir’s is known as the tavern where Mae West first performed, where actors such as W.C. Fields and businessmen like Fred Trump (Donald’s father) would gather for a drink,” says owner Loycent Gordon.
The Woodhaven mainstay has also been the backdrop to the Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas and the Ben Stiller flick Tower Heist.
The Dish: Like any quality, low-key pub that prides itself on its cold beer, the signature dish at Neir’s Tavern is the burger. The Goodfella burger, named – obviously – after the film, is a half-pound burger topped with sautéed onions, grilled tomatoes, pepperjack cheese, and a chipotle-honey mayo—for just a hint of a kick.
The menu includes other dishes named in homage to the pub’s star-studded past, including the Tower Heist steak sandwich and the Mae West burger. Perhaps you could come out and see them sometime?
“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.