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Waterfront Crab House closes– after nearly 40 years in business

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Tony Mazzarelli

Tony Mazzarelli

Feb. 17, 2015 By Christian Murray

The Waterfront Crab House, one of the last vestiges of Long Island City, closed for good Sunday.

The closure comes just three weeks after the owner of the long-time establishment Tony Mazzarella passed away. He had owned the Crab House, located at 2-03 Borden Avenue, for decades.

The Waterfront Crab House first opened its doors at in 1977 and Mazzarella quickly filled it with boxing and historic memorabilia dating back to the early 1900s. On Monday, the sporting memorabilia still hung from the walls.

A sign was placed on the front door of the Crab House Sunday that read: “It is with deep regret and heavy hearts that we inform you that due to the passing of Tony Mazzarella we must close the Waterfront Crabhouse.”

One of Mazzarella’s children was at the restaurant Monday but did not want to discuss what his plans are for the restaurant or the real estate.

Many people have held weddings, parties and social events at the Crab House over the years.

The site has a lot of history; there was a bar at 2-03 Borden Avenue back in the 1880s.

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116 Comments

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Tommy P

I’m so sorry to hear The Waterfront Crabhouse has closed. I proposed to my wife in 1990 and was looking forward to having dinner there on July 26 … It’s our 25 th anniversary . I was going with our daughter because the setting is so special.i remember vividly the owner coming over to us and giving us a bottle of champagne. As far as I’m concerned he was total class and I’m sure his family is all class too. Rest in peace to a man who treated my future wife and I like we were family

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Bill Mac

Tony was a great man the staff was excellent .I had partys there and dinners there .My guests and myself were always treated like family .REST IN PEACE TONY .God bless your family in whatever they decide .You will be missed!

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Mary Ann

Sorry for the passing of the owner. Sympathy to his family. The Crabhouse was my family’s place to eat and celebrate our special occasions. We are hoping they may consider reopening again. Hoping it doesn’t become another high rise apartment complex. Rest in peace Tony.

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Dina

I just want to reiterate condolences to the entire Mazzarella family..these type of restaurants dont exist anymore, I’m praying for a miracle to have Tony’s legacy continue and keep it open..even allow a closing event for the patrons such as myself, who is second generation going there with my parents..

God bless..

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Frankie M.

My condolences to Tony’s family and I’m saddened by the closing of this wonderful restaurant. I’m an entertainer and worked at the Waterfront Crab House for over twenty years. It was by far my favorite place to play and I’m grateful for the friends I met there and the fun times I had with management and staff.

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Frances Braddock DiDomenico

I wish to express my condolences to your family on the loss or your Dad. I have been in the restaurant too many times to count over a period of 20 years. I would be interested in knowing if and when the memorabilia were being sold or auctioned off. I am specifically interested in James J. Braddock’s stuff that I would admire and show my children & friends when we visited. Thank you.

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Mel

I’ve mentioned condolences for the passing of the owner previously! Why weren’t the staff members of which were employed for years not get any notice whatsoever? I can’t respect that, sorry! That’s just cold, a slap a slap in the face! And before anyone attacks my comment I know people who worked there, legitimate sources and they don’t lie.

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Anonymous

This whole “discussion” from both sides is beyond ridiculous. I officially don’t care anymore that this place closed.

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"JULIAN"

My condolences to the entire Mazzarella family. I was an entertainer at the “Waterfront” for over 25 years..I had the best times there..met some incredible people and celebrities…..Thank you Tony, Bobby, Krissy,Michelle and the rest of the family for letting me be part of your family..I will forever be grateful..God Bless you all!

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Anonymous visitor

Sad to see any established business close in LIC, especially one with the history of the Crabhouse (and the previous businesses at that location). I am, however, a bit surprised by the nostalgia for the food, which I found to be fairly middle of the road with a few bright spots and many more dim spots. I had hoped that the business would be able to reinvent itself into a more upscale restaurant with a consistently stellar menu with new management, but I guess that won’t be.

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Sean P.Moran

I have been going to the Waterfront Crab House for years. I work for the LIRR and would go there on Fridays up to last Friday . I loved the food, service and atmosphere. I am going to miss it. I wish Kathy and the staff the best of luck in the future and thank you for the memories .

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Terry

Anger and frustration seem evident on the part of the family. But like someone also said, the anger and tone of some of the comments completely negates any point you are trying to make on behalf of the family. I read those comments and instead of feeling compassion for the family, it seems that they are filled with just as much hate as the negative comments on here. So, why empathize? I get it that you’re pissed off, but take the higher road man.

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Closer than you think

So taking the higher road means to allow people to troll around and spew nonsense? That’s the problem with people nowadays – you have all become complacent and fight for the most ridiculous of things. People are on here bashing a family they know nothing about and the sad part is many more are just joining in because like the saying goes: misery loves company. So you want to bash me? Go right ahead but get off your damn high horses and STOP TALKING crap about people and situations you know nothing about.

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Terry

Taking the higher road means exactly the opposite of that, actually. I mean no harm. I’m telling you about a perspective and another point of view. Do what you wish of course. But as an outsider-you’re making your family (or whoever they are to you) look angry and people don’t empathize with angry. That’s all I’m saying. Good luck to you. And my condolences.

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Farther than you think

Specifically, you seem to be attacking people on many fronts, Closer. You accuse others of being a “troll” but you yourself hide behind an anonymous name and the veil of obscurity. Yes, I do too, but I’m not accusing anyone of trolling. Come out and speak frankly with your own voice if you believe so passionately in the issues.

The commenter Terry does take the high road by not whiplash-reacting to your passive-aggressive questions (you’re not really interested in debating them, you’re only asking them to antagonize someone). Terry proves the point that whether you have outsider or insider status, you’re not doing the Family any service with your attitude online.

Me, Terry, we’ve probably been around on this Interwebs a lot longer, a know a negative – mostly ad hominem – attack when we see one, versus a coherent, adult, mature, fact-informed debate.

Have a great life, Closer.

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Roland D.

My wife and I were just there for Valentine’s Day with four other couples. As usual the food and entertainment was fabulous. I didn’t know the family personally but please accept my condolences. The restaurant will be missed.

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Closer than you think

The closing of this landmark and yes it was a LIC Landmark is bittersweet. Many lives were changed and many more enhanced. The restaurant was a beacon for many things which brought joy and happiness to all. From the many fundraisers held there to save children’s lives, who were and are suffering with cancer, to making past boxers truly relevant and acknowledged, who were once forgotten and left alone. TONY did this and then some, all on his own. HE WAS the Waterfront Crabhouse.It will be missed but never forgotten. To all the TROLLS on here, fighting to make themselves relevant I salute you. I salute you for truly showing how disgusting, ignorant, ill-educated and ill-mannered your souls really are. I THANK YOU for your presence no longer lingering at the restaurant (which I am going to safely say most of you probably went there one time, if at all and are talking shit based on what you’ve heard and NOT by what you have experienced there.). Many of you on here, with your nasty words and full of shit opinions, know-it-all attitudes of KNOWING NOTHING, will one day truly face “KARMA” (as some are saying) and YOUR judgement will come. Unfortunately we won’t see what your price is but I do know YOUR time WILL come, because as they saying goes “GOD DON’T LIKE UGLY!” Let the family mourn in peace and keep the ignorance to yourself. To all who have kind words and memories THANK YOU because you were part of this history and what made it what it was – HOME TO MANY.

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Kenny

I was truly saddened to hear of the passing of Tony and the closing of the restaurant. My thoughts are with you Krissy and Bobby as I spent many a day having lunch with the artist in residence my father-in-law Frank Feldman. My grandfathers pictures and boxing memorabilia hung from the walls and the Ring 8 Christmas parties and fundraisers for children with Cancer showed how commited Tony was to helping those in need… Our thoughts are with you all!

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joe $

I been going there for years, its a shame, bottom line condominiums will be there next year at this time….

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Closer than you think

LICmode I see you just needed your 2 seconds of relevance! These rude and heartless comments just goes to show how people really are – worthless!

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Anonymous visitor

Did you ever stop to think that “closer” is part of this family and all you negative people are pouring salt into their wounds? Maybe you should walk a day in their shoes and make the decisions these kids had to make before you run your mouth. Leave this family alone.

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Closer than you think

First off YOU don’t know me AND NONE of my comments have been ignorant, rude or heartless. On the contrary my words have been spoken with heartfelt warmth towards the family because I ACTUALLY KNOW THEM. So if you are trying to mix me up with these assholes all you are proving is that YOU are part their rude and heartlessness.

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SMDH

I’m so sad to read this. We were just in last week to watch a game at the bar and have some great food. Chris seemed optimistic they would stay open and maybe make some improvements. Sorry for the family’s loss.

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Doug C.

We’ve had our Christmas party there for over 30 years. all the way back to when we were still N.Y. Tel. Went there many times during the year too. Always had a great time. Tony was always a gentleman, coming to our table to talk with us. His daughter was a pleasure to see when we walked in. Tony and The Crab House will be missed by us all.

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LIC_Dude

Pearsons BBQ, McReilly’s, the Jackson Avenue Steakhouse, the Crossroads diner and now the Crabhouse.

All the great old school LIC restaurants are gone!

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Closer than you think

For all the people on here voicing your opinions of what YOU THINK YOU KNOW!! STOP! YOU HAVE NO CLUE AT ALL. Almost all of you don’t know the family and never knew Tony. It is CLEARLY NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS what they decide to do. EVERYONE has an opinion but no one has real solutions. I don’t see ANYONE standing outside the restaurant offering money to keep it running as so many of you gleefully claim that is what should be done. KEEP YOUR OPINIONS TO YOURSELF. AND I DO KNOW THE FAMILY – QUITE INTIMATELY SO I KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT!

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Hmm...

When you write aggressively, people don;t take you as seriously. Perhaps you should tone it down a bit.

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Anonymous visitor

Perhaps you should recognize that this maybe a family member writing and they are being attacked and simply trying to defend their good name. Perhaps people should be showing compassion and empathy for this family, not posting nasty comments.

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Hanna barbino

The workers show up and sign on the door closed for good… SMH! You know damn well this is all about the money. His greedy children have probably already have this place sold for millions. The poor man is not even in the ground yet and they have it closed and sold. They all should be ashamed of themselves

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Missy

You shouldn’t speculate about something you don’t know. Who knows what the situation is?Who knows what their fathers wishes were? Who knows how well the restaurant was doing with all the new restaurants around there? You’re and idiot!

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Closer than you think

HANNA BARBIN YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF SPEWING THIS CRAP!!! YOU HAVE NO CLUE ON ANYTHING! YOU HAVE NO RIGHT INSULTING THOSE KIDS. YOU HAVE NO CLUE IF TONY WANTED THE RESTAURANT TO BE CLOSED. BUT ALL YOU IMAGINARY PEOPLE ON HERE SEEM TO KNOW EVERYTHING AN DALL YOU ARE DOING IS INSULTING AND I AM PERSONALLY TELLING YOU TO KEP YOUR OPINION TO YOURSELF!

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Anonymous visitor

Since you were clearly raised by animals and don’t know the adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” I’ll say it so you can understand. Shut your mouth. These kids are in mourning and to call them greedy just proves you don’t know them at all.

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SMDH

I won’t call the kids names, but all of the shouting here doesn’t address that they didn’t give the workers a heads up at all. To show up and find your work place locked, with a sign that it is closed? Not okay.

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mich

So sorry to hear it Tony’s passing. RIP!. I’ve been coming here for 19 years , had my kids christening here and bdays. Their grandfather’s boxing picture was on the wall.Wondering what they will do with those. The crab house will be missed. Disappointed

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SC

Some of you are disgusting with your self serving “there goes the neighborhood” whine fest. A man lost his life, and your main concern is over “yuppies” and “developers.”. You have no idea what the family is or isn’t going through, or their reasons for closing, their financial situation, or whether or not Tony was even aware of this plan before he passed.

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Family Friend

I have known the Mazzarellas for many years. We had my dad’s rehearsal dinner there, my son’s communion, and more birthday celebrations than I can count. We just celebrated my sisters birthday there a few weeks ago, right after Tony passed away.

My heart aches for Krisi, Michelle & Danny, and their families. I know this was not an easy decision for them.

I am lucky to call them my friends, and I am fortunate enough that they will still be a part of my life, for many years to come.

Love you guys!

KJH <3

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glen

1st off, my condolences to the family.

As a native NY’r, the Crab House is one of those institutions that I felt that I had to visit, and well, I guess now I can’t. Things do change, and we have to accept that. I’m actually quite jealous hearing all these great memories, but I enjoy reading about them. Will the new generation have this? I’m hoping so.

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Sue

I am saddened to hear of your recent loss. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Tony during this difficult time. I’ll always remember my times at The Waterfront Crabhouse fondly and feel lucky that I had the pleasure of performing there for many years. May you find peace and comfort during this difficult time.

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Anonymous visitor

So and institution closes after almost 40 years and a family mourns the loss of their father and you say good because of parking? I hope someone steals your car jerk.

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Anonymous visitor

So you are of the “give me” crowd? Tony and his family are “give away” type people. You don’t even deserve to read the article written about him and all he created. Is your car made by charmin… Cause you are clearly a piece of shit.

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Anonymous visitor

So you are of the “give me” crowd? You shouldn’t even be reading this article. Tony and his family are of the “give away” crowd. You are not of the same cloth. Is your car made by charmin? Because you are clearly a piece of shit.

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Closer than you think

REALLY??!!!! GET YOUR SHIT STRAIGHT! No one hoarded YOUR parking spot.. I’d love to see you cry to MTA about YOUR parking spot.. Idiots!

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Closer than you think

Since you seem to be in the know, really? You need to re-read what the person wrote: Good, maybe the parking spaces on Borden won’t be illegally hoarded anymore… to stated “illegally hoarded” could imply “their” space. So my comment is directed accordingly. Anyway no one should be making stupid comments like that. The man has passed away and the family is still mourning..

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Pat

My understanding is that the employees showed up for work and were told that the restaurant was closed. No heads up or nothing. Here’s you hat what’s your hurry? Nice!

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Rosario Caputo

It’s really sad when something is gone and there is nothing that can replace it. The Waterfront Crabhouse made you feel special because you felt you were in a special place. As an oldtime boxing fan it was a wonderful place for me to be in. We held my son’s dinner there just before he got married. (guys only). The memories will always be cherished of this great place. Rest in Peace Tony.

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Linda

Chris the bartender, where are you?? We came to watch the game tonight and hangout with you and found the sign on the door!

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LIC

What the real shame is the local Business Improvement who is a shrill. The got rid of a long time employee to hire a lobbyist connected to the real estate industry. I’m sure the BID could care less what happens to this empty space.

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Moe

I have been going to the Crab House since it opened. Maybe not as often as I would have liked, but always went a couple times a year. It was a wonderful place with good food and great ambiance. So awful that it is to be sold (obviously to a developer for big bucks) so soon after reopening after the fire. I was there in December with my (new) boyfriend and we had a wonderful time. Hopefully, it will be a good memory in our future

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Dana

First Scandals and now The Waterfront …. two of my favorite places to go for crabs. The neighborhood is changing so fast.

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Mark Suckle

Chrissy and Bobby
I am so sad to hear about Tony’s passing. Please accept my condolences and those of my entire family. Dad brought me here the first time many years ago and you have been great friends to my family and the Masons over the years. I can’t thank you all enough for the great dinners and the memories. You hold a big place in my heart and will be sorely missed.
Gods speed.
Mark

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Mark Suckle

I knwsomeone Who is interested I purchasing the property and keep it as a restarurant. Please get in touch.
M

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Family Friend

Mark.

I am a family friend, and, I am affiliated with the Masons.

My son is a DeMolay, and I think you and I know a lot of the same people.

I will find you on FB and get your contact info to pass on to Krisi, Michelle & Danny.

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Peter

This was a great place to go for farewell lunches, birthdays, and any other celebration. Thank you for the memories, the great food, and the wonderful atmosphere.

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Lillias Piro

They opened another one on the Bowery in NYC back in the 1980’s I worked there as a singing waiter, then a singing Bartender. That one closed. I worked there 8 years. I remember Butch! Was he the brother of the owner? Anyway I’m sorry it’s gone! It’s the end of an Era!

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silent majority

What is really disgusting is that his children are disgracing their father by selling this property for million so they can build luxury condos! By the water none the less. He rebuild this place not once but twice. Once after a fire and once after Sandy. Before he was even in the ground they saw the dollars signs. Shitting all over your fathers legacy. Nice job

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Lisa

You don’t know him or his family and what their going through. Don’t judge them with your disgusting words. Someone should shit on you.

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Yea

Shut up and don’t judge. You have no idea of the circumstances. Who is selling to whom, or not selling. You’re simply speaking out of your ass making predictions and judgment calls on people/situations you do not know. What’s really disgusting actually is trolls like you with your unsubstantiated statements.
Maybe it was his wish for them to sell it and donate a portion to his favorite charity. Maybe one of his family members is gravely ill and they need the money to help save their life. Maybe the family is relocating to another place far away. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Get the point?
Go bitch elsewhere.

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Family Friend

Do you the family? I’m guessing not.

I do, for many years. I can assure you that this was not an easy decision for his 3 children to make. They were raised in that place. His daughter has been running it for many years.

This was never their intention, of that I am very confident. This was probably the most difficult decision they have ever had to make in their lives.

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anonymous

it’s not one person’s business what the “reasons” are. Maybe the restaurant was suffering with all the new restaurants in the area. Maybe they have no one to run it 7 days a week. maybe this was going to happen even if the owner didn’t die. who knows? the point is not to judge a family who clearly is already suffering. THAT’S THE POINT!

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Family Friend

Personal reasons that are not for me to divulge, and that are, quite frankly, no ones business.

Do you have any idea what it takes to run a business like that?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

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Yea

For starters, why don’t you take some English grammar lessons and then come back. How do you expect anyone to take you seriously if your vocabulary and writing is on fourth grade level

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LittleBearNYC

How anyone who is not intimate with the family circumstances can judge them as money-hungry is beyond me. The internet has truly unleashed both the best and worst in people and their rush to judge and condemn anonymously.

Missy

THEY rebuilt the restaurant. The WHOLE FAMILY. So, whilst you THINK you have a clue as to what the situation is, you really don’t.

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Closer than you think

HOW DARE YOU!!!! Of course you call yourself a SILENT MAJORITY. You are full of shit and have NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL YOU ARE SAYING! If you REALLY knew the family and his kids YOU WOULD NEVER SAY THOSE THINGS. AND STOP INSULTING THEM. YOU HAVE NO CLUE!!

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Dori

To silent majority. What’s disgusting is your post. It’s pretty easy to cast stones when you hide behind an anonymous name. You have no idea of any facts and you obviously do not know Tony or his children. I know this family for 35 years and proudly worked for Tony Mazzarella for 18 years. I watched his kids grow into amazing adults and will always remain close to them. Someday you will lose someone near and dear to you. And when that day happens…remember your ugly words. I hope no one is that unkind to you.

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anonomus

@Silent majority – You are a heartless person. I would like to see you give up your life if your parent dies and take over whatever job they had!!! I don’t think so……………….Get over yourself. People pass…………things change ……….only an idiot can’t understand that!!!!!

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Anonymous visitor

I was there with my family the first week that The Waterfront Crabhouse opened. Spent many a wonderful Friday nights there. Will miss it, and hope it reorganizes and reopens soon!

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jack

Mr. Mazzarelli, for the terrific cuisine, the amazing service, and the atmosphere you created for us all these years, grazie mille per tutti.

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Robert

I enjoyed the area the food …the people all of it and mostly my happy time spent with friends there….thank you crab house…

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linda

It’s a shame that LONG ISLAND CITY has been over taken by developers. It was all about the VIEW when you went to the Crab house sadly developers took away a landmark!

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CHRISTINA

I am so sorry to hear this!!! May he rest in peace. Thanks for a lot of good times, great food & good memories Tony!!! You had the best Prime Rib – ever! & the place had so much character & history – two things Queens has been losing since the yuppies moved in. I hope his kid does the right thing & keeps it open. I hope he doesn’t sell the space to these hipsters or Manhattan rent refugees!!!

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Family Friend

I have known the family for quite a few years, and I know that this was not an easy decision for his children to make. I am confident they will do the right thing regarding the space.

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Suzanne

The right thing is not what’s right for YOU. Or even customers. They have to do what is right for their family.

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Closer than you think

YOU have no clue what the right thing is. YOU have no clue about the family or what his wishes were. HOW DARE YOU!!

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Family Friend

Do you know his 3 children?

Do you know his family at all?

Do you know anything about them, or their circumstances?

I can guarantee you that they did not make this decision lightly, and that it was and will always be the most difficult decision they have ever had to make

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anonomus

@Hanna barbin……..How dare You!!!……….The owner of the business died…….How dare you tell the family they must keep the place open for your own enjoyment!!!Slavery ended many years ago.

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MaryPat Murphy-Carey

Good memories. Had a family celebration for my 60th birthday here ..
Had so much fun .. Hate to see well enjoyed places disappear from the
neighborhood ..
RIP Tony Mazzarella

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Anonymous visitor

I am sure they saw the writing on the wall — developers are after this property for sure and the family will sell for big big bucks —

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John

Very sad to see this place close. Such a part of the fabric of this neighborhood. I didn’t get down there frequently but every time I did go I enjoyed the food and the experience. Another part of Old NY now gone.

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Enrico Rubio

I was going to call and reserve a table for this coming friday night april 3rd for my sister’s birthday. I found out about this place 3 years ago through some friends of mine who live in queens. My family and I have been there about 3 or 4 times. We’re from staten island. This place was worth the trip. Nice friendly Staff. Family style restaurant and the dress code was casual. The food was out of this world. Sad to see it go. I loved the waterfront crabhouse.

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Mel

So Sad! There goes the neighborhood!
The Crabhouse is was a constant a place to go and relax with friends and family in a beautiful atmosphere where memories were made you met interesting folks sitting at the bar and oF course the most compassionate bartender Chris! I will miss you!

Reply

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