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

Col Jeromus Remsen, war hero

Colonel Jeromus Remsen was a Revolutionary War Hero. His family came to America in the seventeenth century and his father, Abraham Remsen, settled at Hempstead Swamp, one of the first battle sites in the Battle of Long Island during the Revolutionary Way.

Remsen was also in the French and Indian War and was one of the original settlers of Queens. He joined the Continental Army and kept the British Army from taking cattle as he drove them eastward out of British hands. He was a Colonel of A Regiment of Kings and Queens County Militia in the Battle of Long Island.

A grade school in Forest Hills Queens has been named after him, as well as a street in Manhattan and the Remsen family cemetery which is still in Queens Trotting near Course Lane and Alderton Streets.

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Historic, but not famous

Thomas Pullis, farmer

Thomas Pullis (1778 – 1854) was a farmer in the Middle Village area of Queens. When he died,  his farm was willed to his three sons, with the instructions that the cemetery was never to be sold. In his estate funds were provided to build a brick wall around the cemetery so that it would be protected. The cemetery established is one of the last private family cemeteries that survives in the city and contains 7 graves and 3 headstones. It was restored by the village in 1993 after a non-profit was set up for multiple historic restorations in the area. It has been transformed into a tranquil and peaceful garden, a fitting tribute to the memory of the Pullis pioneer family of Middle Village.

Mr. Pullis purchased 32 acres in 1822. Pullis, like many local farmers of that time brought their vegetables, fruit and other produce to market. Pullis traveled to the ferry landing at English Kills on Newtown Creek and then onto the ferry which took him to Catherine Market in Manhattan. On his way to Manhattan, Pullis, with others, would often stop at a roadside tavern for a bite to eat. This tavern was Niederstein’s Restaurant, which opened in 1845.

You can visit the Pullis family cemetery which is located on the east lawn area of Juniper Park, east of 80th Street. Nearby, St. Margaret’s Church is situated on land formerly owned by the family and often open for visitors.

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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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