Tears and memories as TN Clipper sets sail

Peadar and Eileen Tierney at their restaurant’s closing night.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

The Throggs Neck Clipper set sail on its final voyage, with patrons wishing the popular watering hole ‘bon voyage.’

The Clipper, which opened on April 16, 1997 closed after holding a final farewell party at the bar and restaurant on Saturday, July 29.

Eileen and Peadar Tierney had a long run of success at the Throggs Neck Clipper, a quintessential family-run business that was a fixture at East Tremont Avenue and Sullivan Place for two decades.

Eileen and Peadar, along with their three children, wait staff that had been with them for their 20-year voyage and loyal patrons celebrated that success on the 29th.

“My father came over from Ireland and got to pull the first pint, and now my three children are going to pull the last and put her into dry dock,” said Eileen Tierney.

Tierney said that both patrons and people who worked there over the year came by in the weeks leading up to the closing to visit.

The restaurant sought to differentiate itself from other ‘decidedly Irish’ places along East Tremont Avenue by using a nautical theme, said Tierney, who explained that the Clipper served up traditional Irish fare along with its signature steak and American dishes.

“We could do Irish, American, seafood, and a pint of Guinness was always available,” she said.

The Tierney family was from Throggs Neck, moving to the community in 1989 and purchasing a home here, she said.

They emigrated from Ireland in the 1980s.

“It was a great community to raise children,” said Tierney, adding that they supported school and community events and that “people who we supported always came back and supported us.”

Both Eileen and Peadar worked in the restaurant business, at Fiddler’s Elbow and Casey’s respectively, before opening the Clipper.

The doors of the Clipper were open every single day, through all kinds of storms – natural and man made– including Hurricane Sandy, the events of 9/11, and everything in between.

Tierney said that for her and her husband, the Clipper was a touchstone in their lives.

Many staff members stayed on for 10 or 15 years, including bartender Sally Fardella and waitress Kathleen McElroy who were both there for 20 years, and Kevin King, another bartender, who was there 19.

Fardella said that she had made a lot of life-long friends at the Clipper, and that she hopes rumors that the space may become another restaurant are true.

The Clipper’s closing came on the heels of a dispute between the owners and their landlord that wound up in court, as previously reported.

Fardella that the Tierney’s had been very good to her and that she considers themselves akin to family.

McElroy said she had opened the restaurant on the first day and would close it on the last.

“I had 20 great years, we met so many wonderful people,” said McElroy.

She added: “I want to say thank you to the loyal customers who came to the Clipper over the years, and who supported me; I love them all and I will miss them.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
The Clipper’s lettering comes down.
Photo courtesy of Throggs Neck Clipper

More from Around NYC