Jimmy Neary, the restaurateur in charge of Neary’s restaurant and pub on 57th Street and First Avenue in New York City for more than 50 years, has died. He was 91.
“The restaurant is often referred to as the ‘Irish 21.’ Neary, New York’s finest host, welcomes everyone in the door with his great Irish smile and charming personality. Each night Jimmy is joined by members of his family and his long-tenured staff to ensure that every customer feels like they are part of the family,” the website reads.
The New York Post reports Neary died in his sleep Friday night.
“We want to thank you all for being a part of his life. Dad loved you all and he cherished being with you for the past 55+ years,” the family wrote in a statement posted on the door of Neary’s Saturday night.
“You were all a critical part of his family and enriched his life in countless ways. As he always said ‘I love my life!’”
The restaurant is expected to be temporarily closed while the family mourns.
Neary’s funeral service will be held next Saturday at 10 a.m. 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 is what he loved, and he just loved people. It was all about people for him,” she said. “He would say he didn’t care if the restaurant ever made a penny, he just wanted to be around people.”
Friends and family of Neary will more than anything miss the incredible hypnotic effect he had on everyone he encountered through his candor and storytelling.
Neary’s has been a longtime favorite St. Paddy’s day stop for a slew of politicians and other celebrities over the years, including former Mayor Mike Bloomberg and New York Gov. George Pataki.
Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Hugh Carey, Ed Koch and Tip O’Neill are just some of the famous names who have taken a seat at the bar for a pint of Guinness.
Pilar Arias is a multimedia journalist with more than 10 years of experience in broadcast, digital and print production. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics. Follow her on Twitter: @PilarFOXNews.