(Click the photo below to go to YouTube for my video tour of Neir's)
exploration. My best friend, Jaime, whom I know is reading these words, can attest to that, and our daily adventures brought us great joy and finds. There was nothing like a swamp for all manner of critters. Sometimes, following the lead of frogs who traversed ponds and swamps on lily pads, we would also travel across these waters, hopping onto tufted outgrowths. As might be expected, landing on such small targets and balancing for the next hop was often unsuccessful, and the drying of soaked sneakers and socks became the order of the late afternoon.
In New York City, one can span dry land by bar hopping. This recreation is pursued by many, and evidence of such is best seen around 4 AM, closing time for bars, as the streets of the city are flooded with inebriated late-night revelers desperate for a taxi. In the colder months, groups of shivering, scantily clad girls can be seen competing for taxis which, at that hour, are in severe undersupply. The neighborhood with the highest concentration of bars in New York City is the East Village - not a big surprise. So if you are looking to bar hop, that's the place to go.
In the world of cyberspace, hypertext linking has become the new vehicle for those inclined to move. But, be it bars, swamps, or cyberspace, in time, one does weary of hopping or linking, and coming to rest and exploring and enjoying what is at hand becomes appealing.
If you tire of bar hopping and are looking for the latest or coolest place (such as Death), then you may want to make the journey to Woodhaven, Queens, where you will find the antithesis of the East Village scene. Here, in a residential neighborhood at the corner of 78th Street and 88th Avenue, is Neir's Tavern, what some say is the oldest bar in New York City. This is very much a local place, established in 1829 as the Blue Pump Room.
The places exudes the charm and authenticity that many seek in a city where such places are rapidly disappearing. I ventured there one night to see the Lori Behrman band. The bar was where the Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas was filmed. There is live music four nights per week with no cover charge. They also claim the coldest tap beer in town, with a centuries-old beer system using packed ice to cool the beer coils to a temperature just above freezing. And fear not the pangs of wanderlust - there's free WiFi for those who can't resist Hopping :)
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