Kira speaking in front of Tommy’s Tavern on Thursday (Image via Ben Weiss).

More than 100 protestors gathered Thursday afternoon in front of Tommy’s Tavern (1041 Manhattan Ave.), a local dive bar on Manhattan Avenue, to condemn the owner’s recent behavior towards a black woman.

Kira, a black woman who works in Greenpoint, says that she was waiting at a bus stop across the street from the bar on June 7th when the owner, Thomas Kaminski, told her she “shouldn’t be here.” 

Kaminski bragged about how he had more money than her and yelled about ‘Black Lives Matter protests’ in his neighborhood, at one point flipping her the bird, she alleges.

“It’s obvious in Greenpoint that I’m probably the only black person I’d see for a while,” said Kira, who declined to give her last name. “But I never felt unwelcome until that day.”


She previously spoke about the altercation a week ago in McCarren Park during one of the nightly vigils in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. After returning home from the park, she decided to organize a protest in front of the bar, which Council Member Stephen Levin’s office supported.

“Racism has no place in our district and we will not stand for it,” said the Council Member in a statement.

Members of the protest were also unflinching in their criticisms of Kaminksi.

“We wanted to make sure that he knew he couldn’t verbally assault someone on the street corner and not have any repercussions,” said Richie Jolivette, who owns a travel agency and walked from Williamsburg to participate in the demonstration.

Image via Ben Weiss.

“He is racist. He is misogynistic. He is not a good person,” said a longtime Greenpoint resident who knew Kaminski personally. (She declined to give her name because of privacy concerns.) 

“He is also mentally ill, but that’s besides the point.”

Tommy’s Tavern, also known as “Murder Bar” for a killing that happened there years ago, has a history of unsavory activities, including a confrontation in which Kaminksi punched Nick Rizzo, a local Democratic politician. 

Image via Ben Weiss.

Gavin McInness, alt-right provocateur and co-founder of Vice, also claimed to have the first meeting of the Proud Boys, a Southern Poverty Law Center designated hate group, in the dive.

The bar is currently closed by order of the city’s health department for a number of violations, including evidence of live roaches.

Greenpointers reached out to Kaminski for comment and will update accordingly if he responds.

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  1. How do you cure a clearly mentally ill person of racism?
    Also- this bar has been closed for a very long time and probably will never reopen.

    1. Can’t be that damn good if it’s been closed for as long as a previous commentator states. But I’m guessing you think it’s so great because of its racist owner??!

      1. $3 cans of Schaefer, flat and level pool table with room to shoot, boar bristle dart board, back room that hosted wild shows for years, hilariously rude bartenders, and the most diverse customer base you’ll ever find in GP. So Tommy is a little nuts, kinda rounds it all off if you ask me. I hope he pulls himself together -the death of his mother really was a big hit- and opens the place up again.
        Shouting in the street with pitchforks and then vandalizing the business isn’t helping anyone.

  2. I’ve seen this guy have arguments with mailboxes, I wouldn’t take it personally. Always a diverse group of regulars at this place. I used to play pool there A LOT with friends (black, gay, foreign, whatever), it was fun. Sad to read about this and sad to see this placed vandalized.

  3. Awful to hear how this crazy bar owner behaved but as a longtime Greenpoint resident, I was very surprised to hear Kira say she was the only black person in Greenpoint. Greenpoint is fairly diverse with a large Latino population and many other people of color (certainly including African Americans) living here and also working here. If anything, new affordable housing has made the area more diverse. I hope Kira knows that this insane bar owner is the exception in Greenpoint which is, again, fairly diverse and pretty welcoming to all who come, at least as I know it.

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