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Greenpoint's Boulevard Tavern To Close After a Decade

 Changing demographics and rising costs brought the downfall of the neighborhood bar, owner says.
Boulevard Tavern
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GREENPOINT — In the early 2000s, when the bar J&D's on Meeker Avenue in Greenpoint closed down, the owners had their logo taken down from the sign hanging outside, revealing a former name: Boulevard Tavern.

In 2005, Harold Kramer and his wife Ria found the place and decided to revive the neighborhood classic.

But now, a decade later, Boulevard Tavern is closing again.

"When I found it I thought, this is a great neighborhood, bordering on Williamsburg, which was booming at the time," Harold Kramer told DNAinfo.

But the same surge of new North Brooklyn residents that made the Greenpoint pub promising eventually led to its downfall, Kramer said.

"The changing demographics of Greenpoint, the increased costs and competition with other bars made it too much of a struggle," Kramer explained.

"Our regulars moved out and we had older, more established people moving in. They don't like my type of bar. They like shiny, new places."

As opposed to shiny, Kramer described Boulevard Tavern as "more seasoned, more classic, not quite a dive."

The rise and fall of Boulevard Tavern occurred during a time of great changes in North Brooklyn.

Between 2000 and 2010, median household incomes in Greenpoint rose from $45,000 to $61,000, according to a study by Columbia University

And, between 2000 and 2013, the number of food and drinking places in Greenpoint went up from 52 to 172, the study found.

Kramer described watching his regular clientele getting priced out of their apartments over the last three years and moving to places like Bushwick, Ridgewood and Jackson Heights.

"Once the regulars move out, they might as well move to Los Angeles, because you never see them again," Kramer said. "There are plenty of neighborhood bars."

Ria, his wife and business partner, passed away a little over three years ago, around the same time the bar started suffering financially.

"When my wife passed away, everything was put on my shoulders," he remembered. "There I was, faced with new responsibilities and a failing business."

Closing up shop is actually going to be a relief, Kramer admitted.

"People think running a bar is all fun and games, but it's a real burden," he said.

As for the future, Kramer is not entirely sure what he's going to do. Perhaps he will open another business, but not before saying a proper goodbye to Boulevard Tavern.

"We will have a farewell party on August 29 with all our friends, a D.J., perhaps a barbecue in the backyard," he said.

"We are going to try to send Boulevard Tavern off with a bang."