2015-02-25 / Front Page

Family Signs Off On Crabhouse ‘Dream’

BY LIZ GOFF
The family of the late Long Island City restaurateur, Anthony “Tony” Mazzarella, made the agonizing decision to turn off the lights at the Waterfront Crabhouse for the last time on February 15. just weeks after Mazzarella passed away from a long illness.

The family posted a sign on the front door of the  popular restaurant saying, “It is with deep regret and heavy hearts that we inform you that due o the passing of Tony Mazzarella, we must close the Waterfront Crabhouse.

“It has been over three decades since Tony opened these doors in pursuit of his dream,” the sign reads. “Friends were made here and lives were changed. There are simply too man people to say ‘thank you’ (to) and so many incredible experiences to recount.”

The sign continues with a ‘thank you’ to the many patrons who supported the Crabhouse over the years making it “the institution it has become.”

The family writes, “To our staff, customers, friends and supporters – you have enhanced our lives and we want to say ‘thank you’ for the journey.”

Mazzarella, 77, whose background as a boxer and his countless charitable efforts made him a standout in the community opened the iconic Waterfront Crabhouse in 1979 and soon filled the restaurant with sports memorabilia dating back to the early 1900s, most of which bring back memories of Sonny Liston, and other great legends of the ring.

Tony organized a Christmas party each year for more than a decade, to help brighten the holiday season for cancer-stricken youngsters. Working with officials at the Queens Division of The American Cancer Society and a group of volunteers in1987, Tony established The Patricia Manning Memorial Fund, later renamed the “Patty Fund,” to help youngsters and their families to bear the financial burden they faced in their battles with cancer.

Mazzarella’s outreach efforts are far too many to list, but it should be said that this one man left an indelible mark on all those he touched, all who were privileged to know him.

Mazzarella is survived by daughters Michelle and Kristine, son Danny, three grandchildren and his second wife, Robin.

The Waterfront Crabhouse was situated in a building that dates back to the 1800s, home of Miller’s Hotel. The site gained notoriety when it became one of the first police precincts in the Long Island City area, where former Long Island City Mayor “Battle Axe Gleason” was jailed, wined and dined after he threatened to take a ax to a local railroad crossing to stop operators from imposing a toll at the site.

Plans for development of the site have not been released.

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