At the corner of 78th Street and 88th Avenue (formerly Snedeker, Snediker, or Sneideicker Avenue, depending on which map you consult) in Woodhaven stands what could be New York’s oldest tavern, Neir’s. It opened in 1829, according to its current owner, New York firefighter Loycent Gordon, to serve patrons of the Union Course, a wildly popular dirt-track racecourse that once stood across the street. The bar’s founder was Cadwallader Colden, whose great-grandfather, also Cadwallader Colden, was acting governor of New York State and mayor of New York City in the colonial era. The Neir’s name comes from Louis Neir, who purchased the place in 1898, adding a bowling alley, ballroom, and rooms for rent upstairs. Entertainer Mae West (1893–1980) is thought by some to have begun her showbiz career singing here. (According to these believers, Mae’s ghost has even been spotted at the tavern.) What is less disputable is that several scenes of Martin Scorsese’s Mob epic Goodfellas, with Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta, were filmed here, as was the Ben Stiller caper Tower Heist.
87-48 78th Street, Woodhaven, Queens