Jimmy Neary, the restaurateur in charge of the Neary Restaurant and Pub on 57th Street and First Avenue in New York City for more than 50 years, has passed away. He was 91 years old.
near website says the iconic establishment opened on St. Patrick’s Day in 1967 and proudly remains one of New York’s best-known Irish restaurants.
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“The restaurant is often referred to as the ‘Irish 21’. Neary, the best host in New York, greets everyone at the door with his big Irish smile and charming personality. Every evening Jimmy is joined by members of his family and its long-time staff to make sure every guest feels like part of the family, ”the site reads.
The New York Post reports Neary died in his sleep on Friday night.
“We all want to thank you for being a part of his life. Dad loved you all and he treasured to be with you for over 55 years,” the family wrote in a statement to Neary’s door on Saturday night.
“You were all a vital part of his family and have enriched his life in countless ways. As he always said ‘I love my life!’
The restaurant should be temporarily closed during the bereavement of the family.
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Neary’s funeral will be next Saturday at 10 a.m. in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, presided over by long-time friend Cardinal Timothy Dolan, his daughter Una told the Post.
Una said her father always said he felt like he never worked a day in his life.
“What he did was what he loved, and he just loved people. It was about people for him,” she said. “He looks like he didn’t care if the restaurant made a dime, he just wanted to be around people.”
More than anything, Neary’s friends and family will miss the incredible hypnotic effect he had on everyone he met thanks to his candor and storytelling.
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Neary’s has long been the favorite St. Patrick’s Day stop for a number of politicians and other celebrities over the years, including former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and New York Governor George Pataki.
Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Hugh Carey, Ed Koch and Tip O’Neill are just a few of the famous names that have taken their seats at the bar for a pint of Guinness.