BUILT IN 1829
87-48 78th Street Woodhaven, NY 11421
Sometimes the answers are right under your feet.
Loy was a talent scout for Bayside Sound Recording, two studios where well-known R&B and hip hop artists used to cut music tracks, located in the same building as Neir's Tavern.
In the summer of 2008, Loy heard that the tavern was six months behind on rent. Five months later, he was told the space was about to be signed over and turned into a bodega. Loy never really paid attention to the venue but after some research, discovered that it was "more than just a bar."
"I felt a sense of purpose. I felt that this was one of the oldest places in America and as an immigrant [from Jamaica], this was a time to give back to America and save this place.
Some people call 911. Some people shout 'Help!' Some people shout, 'Swim, girl!' And some people jump in. I jumped in."
Loy did a "crazy deal" just days before the tavern's closing, pleading to the landlord he'd pay the rent, please don't close it, and let's become partners.
Over the course of its long history, Neir's Tavern had a bowling alley and a performace stage. Movies such as "GoodFellas" and "Tower Heist" shot used it as a location.
Loy is still fighting to preserve Neir's Tavern, which has yet to become a New York City landmark. He wants to protect the tavern long after he is gone: "It will always be in the back of my head."
But then it started to catch on, where other people felt that... they wanted to represent their agencies as well inside Neir's Tavern.
So I had NYPD officer say, "Do you mind if I give you one of our patches?" I put that up. And then it started to build: New York City Corrections, New York City Courts patches.
Then we started having other states. People would visit us when they came to New York City. They happened to be first responders and they would give me a patch.
"DO YOU MIND
IF I GIVE YOU
ONE OF OUR PATCHES?"
Eventually we got something from Berlin. Military patches started coming. I started seeing other people who said, "That's my patch!" They were part of that unit or agency.
I want to say we have three dozen patches.
The FDNY is always saving people, and here I am, at Neir's Tavern, trying to save Neir's Tavern. It's almost like we're on the same mission.
Three-hundred-and-forty-three firefighters that weren't there when the planes hit, but ran in, lost their lives. It was important to me to find a way in this historic, old place to preserve that history, that knowledge... to remember them by taking this patch that commemorates and memorializes the 343 firefighters that died and put it up in the center of the bar.
We have firefighters who come in. I got the patch from the commissary of the FDNY quartermaster at Fort Totten.
I put it in a frame and hung it over in the bar. It was a silent way for me to remember all the losses of the guys who ran in and lost their lives.