Sept. 29, 2020 By Allie Griffin
A historic Woodhaven bar has received an outpouring of support from neighbors and customers after it was burglarized Friday.
Neir’s Tavern, which has served the neighborhood for more than 190 years, was burglarized Friday morning when someone came in and broke open the cash drawer, grabbing $300 in cash as well as several bottles of alcohol, owner Loycent Gordon said.
Gordon said the burglary was particularly difficult since the COVID-related shutdown had already wreaked havoc on his business.
“It’s just another straw that’s weighing heavy,” he said of the burglary.
The tavern lost nearly a full day of business on Friday — its busiest day of the week — while the police investigated. Gordon also had to go through “administrative hell” to cancel checks that were in the stolen cash drawer, he said.
“The burglary happened. It took maybe five minutes, but it’s probably going to be taking me five weeks to really get back to normal,” Gordon said.
However, a group of loyal Neir’s customers were quick to action and created a gofundme to cover the stolen cash. The fund also aims to make up for lost revenue and to cover some of the related expenses.
Members of the “Neirs 200” community group, which formed when Gordon decided to host weekly conversations with tavern customers earlier this year, started the gofundme page.
Gordon said the encouragement from the group means more to him than the money.
“Initially it was really tough to deal with the rawness of the burglary,” he said.
The fundraiser and support, however, gave him the inspiration and strength needed to continue fighting for the success of his nearly two-century-old bar.
“It just gave me a new burst of energy and outlook that I’m not alone,” Gordon said.
The fundraiser quickly surpassed its $2,500 goal. More than $4,000 has been raised at the time of publication.
Neir’s almost shut its doors for good in January when Gordon was unable to reach a lease agreement with his landlord.
The Queens Chamber of Commerce and elected officials stepped in and helped negotiate a deal to keep it going.