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.
I was on the phone minding my god damn business waiting for the bus when this ASSHOLE pulled up from around the corner and started shouting and pointing at me. I was mad confused so I took my headphones off and realized he was saying something about black protestors in his
— BlackGirlMagic (@muthaeffinkira) June 7, 2020
“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.
That’s terrible. No place in our neighborhood for that bs. I live around the corner. I’m very sorry.
— (((Stephen Levin))) (@StephenLevin33) June 8, 2020
“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.
“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.
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.