Historic, but not famous

Thomas H. Todd, founder Long Island City Star

Thomas H. Todd founded the Long Island City Star newspaper before Long Island City was  incorporated, the first issue was published on October 20, 1865. It was the only paper in the area at the time. Todd was schooled in journalism at the Flushing Journal. Within a month of the first publishing, the friendship and patronage of the late Oliver Charlick, president of the Long Island Railroad, was secured. The railroad regularly took out paid ads in the paper, allowing it to continue when the initial years were quite lean .In 1876, the Star went daily. Its circulation grew from a few hundred to some twelve thousand per week by 1896.

Mr. Todd went missing in January 1901. A body was found in Flushing Creek in June 1902 and identified by his wife and 2 sons. But, after hearing evidence at an inquest, the family decided it wasn’t him. Meanwhile, other family members still swore it was Todd. But the inquest jury declared it wasn’t him.

By November 1902, there was a nasty battle of an “alleged will” presented by the two sons who charged that their mother and their sisters was not competent to serve as administrator of the will.

No one is sure what happened to Mr. Todd. The day he vanished, he reported for work in the morning, but looked so bad he was sent home. It was thought he would take the train to Flushing, where he lived, but instead he boarded a ferry bound for James Slip. He always had $100 with him and there is speculation that he just disappeared on his own.

Mr. Todd was highly respected for his newspaper and the work it did in the community. The paper existed until 1968 and had expanded to cover much of southern Queens and Greenpoint Brooklyn.

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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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Historic, but not famous

Louis Allmendinger, architect, designed and developed housing  in 1908 and 1911, setting the standard for future tenement construction. The homes  are characterized by three-story tenement buildings featuring yellow and orange Kreischer-brick facades, stone details, pressed-metal cornices, and ironwork at the stoops and area-ways. They are prevalent in Long Island City, Ridgewood and Woodside Queens. The buildings, known as “Mathews Model Flats,”  (built by Gustave X. Matthews) at a cost of $8000 each. They constituted better-quality housing than previous tenement models, providing larger rooms and private bathrooms.

The tenements attracted working-class German immigrants from nearby Bushwick, Williamsburg, and the Lower East Side. Tenements/Flats had been known for their poor living conditions. Allmendinger, working with Matthews, changed the face of lower income housing in the outer boroughs of NYC.

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