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PJ Horgan’s, A Sunnyside Institution, Closed For Good, Property Owner Says

PJ Horgans

P.J. Horgan’s to Close

Nov. 5, 2015 By Christian Murray

PJ Horgan’s, which has been part of the fabric of Sunnyside for nearly 40 years, is no more.

The developer of the Queens Boulevard property where Center Cinemas/Dime Bank and PJ Horgan’s was located, John Ciafone, said that the bar’s owner had notified him that the Irish pub had decided to close for good.

PJ Horgan’s had a lease that ran until June 30, 2018. However, it closed in April after a kitchen fire broke out.

After the fire, John Murphy, the owner of PJ Horgan’s, put a note in the window saying the bar had closed “temporarily” for repairs.

Ciafone said that he had told Murphy after the April fire that he would not be renewing his lease and not to spend too much money on repairs. He said that he would compensate Murphy if he closed.

John Murphy, the owner of PJ Horgan’s, could not be reached for comment.

Ciafone, who plans to construct a five- to seven-story building, said that the development will be easier to build with PJ Horgan’s gone. He had initially planned to build around the bar.

Ciafone said he is still working on the development but has been facing delays getting the design together.



Sunnyside Center Cinemas closed earlier this year after being unable to renew lease



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When I lived in Sunnyside in early 1990s, PJ’;s was one of my favorite places for a meal and drink! Sorry to see it go. Sidetracks bar is still around, isn’t it?


Listen – I’m not a huge fan of bulldozing buildings and seeing condos go up, but trying to hang on to the “charm” of the neighborhood (an old, defunct bank and a cut-rate movie theater) at the expense of progress and development is delusional. You could make the case that the Jehovah’s Witness church on Greenpoint should be closed and turned back into a movie theater (or real theater!), you could argue that Wendy’s on QB should be turned back into Rocky’s Gym or whatever it was, hey, let’s bring back the roach-infested greasy spoon on 40th and QB that has been turned into a great, inexpensive, authentic Italian restaurant.

In other words, the world isn’t going to progress exactly how you want it to or don’t want it to. That would be really boring.


My wife and I enjoyed eating at Horgan’s for the 18 years we lived in Sunnyside, especially when the liver dinner was one of the ‘specials’.

At least there’s still Alpha Donuts and New York Style Eats!


Why does this surprise anyone? When a business like the movie theater closes, the restaurants and bars around them are likely to close too. People generally go and eat and drink before or after going to the movies. It’s just about guaranteed.


Every time a business closes in the area
and there is a new development people throw their hands up, complain about gentrification and blame the developer.Sure it’s sad PJs is closing, but if the owner had the fire to continue running the business he could’ve moved to the red old butcher shop between Gaslight or Molly Blooms, or another suitable location. Is he supposed to just keep running it indefinitely because someone has been going there since the 80s or whatever? Anyone who runs a business knows the stresses involved, particularly with a restaurant/bar open very late. I wonder how many of these armchair quarterbacks would keep the place open to “keep the character of the neighborhood” when confronted with a nice buyout after years of slogging through the headaches of running the business all these years? That’s right, not a single person. To put it squarely on the developer is just a really dim, narrow view of the complexities, economics and wider framework with how cities operate. If you were really so upset about the character of the neighborhood you would get out do something about it.


i wonder if the red brick building on the left are condos? they might put up a stink if their sun and views are lost

if its a rent stabilized rental, there goes the sunlight the building will be built probably just 6 feet away enough space for the fire escape and a walkway…

Jim S

Back in the 80s my friends and I spent many a Sunday having brunch there and when friends came over to visit that was the place to go for a lovely burger.when i was in NY just last year I met my daughter there for a burger and she fell in love with the place. Sunnyside has changed over the years and PJ Horgans will be missed so no matter what commercial unit takes its place the atmosphere of PJ’s will never be replaced.

Ty Sullivan

Ohhh….Gee there’s a surprise! Did you really think that Ciaphony was going to let them stay and “build around them”? Really? Seriously Mr. Ciaphony, how gullible do you think we are?



seriously! it’ll be a while before the developers find Skillman. and they’ll pay less in rent up there than they did to this twisted slumlord down there on QB. Ciafone should pay to relocate the bar up to murphy’s.

Anonymous visitor

Maybe the owners of murphy’s want to cash out and retire?? Did anyone run that scenario thru their negative little minds!


Uh, I think you’re pretty confused buddy. Murphy’s closed because the owners hadn’t been paying their rent or their employees. Horgan’s closed unexpectedly because of a fire, and only after Ciafone told them not to bother rebuilding. I don’t think the owners of either place wanted to retire. And if they did, Horgan’s was so well-loved by the community, I’m sure someone would be willing to carry the flame. There was nothing negative about my post except about Ciafone, who is actually a slumlord.


ok well he’s not literally a slumlord but he’s just not really a nice community-minded developer.

Michelle Ryan

Been going there 35 yrs, with Grandmother, New Years Eve (when didn’t have plans)..Promotions, Planning trips…or sometimes weekly just to enjoy the great burgers & pub food…My Mother loved the chicken pot pie…the nicest pot pie I’ve ever seen…Never had a bad meal in all those years…..A real shame..Wishing the best for everyone who worked there, always the nicest servers…Greed is ruining everything in the city.:(


Cifone should stay in Astoria and not be moving into Sunnyside area. Very sad to hear he is involved in any aspect of life in Sunnyside.


It’s a shame that these developers are just money hungry, greedy bastards, They don’t care about the character of the neighborhood…just the all mighty dollar!! How you gonna have a nice neighborhood if there’s no place to go anymore! Oh, we can all look at the new apartment buildings! That’ll be a fun night out!

Anonymous visitor

Where you you live Donna? In a teepee? or maybe a cardboard box?? If you live in a house or a building then guess what?? It was built by a developer!

Get over yourself. There are many people who need a quality place to live. I am sure any residential building that is built along Queens Blvd or Skillman Ave will include retail on the first floor. They would be crazy not to. Especially since they are so GREEDY!

Sunnyside Local

Thank you John, Padraig, Ann Marie, Sinead, Amanda, Antonio, Moyrah, Lynda and Amanda for giving Sunnyside one of the best pubs on the planet. You are and will be sorely missed.

parking woes

Maybe Ciafone can clean up the mess around his valuable property? There has been a TV on the sidewalk for a few months, parts of a tree are all over 43rd and there’s graffiti all over his building’s windows.


LOL Design delays. Broker wants 19 Milllionand Ciafone waiting to resell if Deblasio 2 Rezoning bills pass City Council.

Kristen McGowan

Such a shame. Sunnyside is losing all of its charm that drew people here. Many a family meal was had there! The overdevelopment needs to stop.


“Ciafone said that he had told Murphy after the April fire that he would not be renewing his lease and not to spend too much money on repairs. He said that he would compensate Murphy if he closed.”

He got a nice fat check to close, sounds like.

Kramden's Delicious Marshall

The developers are destroying this city’s soul. Eventually it will be a characterless, homogenized forest of boring glass boxes and Chase banks. I feel sorry for future generations.

Joe at the Berkley

Sunnyside has lost a lot of flavor in the past year, The Bliss, Murphy’s, the Outpost diner and even the old Center movie theater. Horgans will be missed. Thanks for the great memories.

Craic Dealer

What if the former owners of businesses were being paid to faze out their business… a buy-out essentially.

PJ Fan 2

Slumlord John Ciafone. From 2012:

“What you may not know is that Ciafone currently appears on Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio’s slumlord list. To his credit, he is on the “most improved” list, having reduced his violations from 195 to 2. He tried to donate to DeBlasio, but it was returned.”

He also owns three homes, including a “summer home” $1.7 million mansion in Whitestone.


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