Historic, but not famous

Carrie McHenry Thomas, Parks Department

Carrie McHenry Thomas (1913 – 2013) was the first African-American to work at the Arsenal in Central Park with the New York City Parks Department. She was recruited in 1937 by Stuart Constable, the Director of Parks under Robert Moses.

She worked in Room 100, which was then the Capital Projects division for Parks. She was one of three women working there, and started out as a Contract and Specification Writer. She worked in the Capital Projects division until 1978. She also advocated for the hiring of other African-Americans in the park department including engineers and architects.

Ms. Thomas worked on civic and election campaigns at a time when Blacks were becoming politically active, including campaigns with Hulan Jack, the first Black borough president in New York City, coming from Harlem,  Constance Baker Motley, the first female borough president and dozens of others in her Harlem neighborhood. She and her husband, Richard, were donors to Black charities and civic organizations, including Harlem Hospital Center, the Schomburg Center for Research, the New York Urban League, Harlem School for the Arts and the National Office of the NAACP.

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Historic, but not famous

Anthony Mazzarella, Waterfront Crabhouse owner
Tony Mazzarella, owner of the Waterfront Crabhouse.  Photo by Jeremy Walsh

Anthony Mazzarella (1938-2015) opened the Waterfront Crabhouse in Long Island City Queens in the 1970s. The restaurant, located on Borden Ave in a building dating back to the 1800s, was known for its seafood dishes and walls decorated with boxing memorabilia.

 

Besides the restaurant, Mr. Mazzarella was also know for his charity events.  He served as a member of the American Cancer Society and Queens Division, and he founded the Patty Fund for Childhood Cancer. He started an annual block party on the Fourth of July that raised thousands of dollars for cancer patients. Other events were held at the Crab House, all for the benefit of the American Cancer Society. Every year he would also host a Christmas party for kids with cancer.

As a former boxer, Mazzarella started the Golden Mittens to use physical fitness as a way to keep children away from drugs. Mazzarella was a member of Ring 8, an organization dedicated to helping members of the boxing community. He was a member of the New York State Boxing Commission.

Mr. Mazzarella died in 2015 after a long illness. The restaurant closed soon after Tony’s death, but has since reopened with a more modern look and a new name “Crabhouse” by local restaurateur Joseph Licul and his partners.

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