Mazzarella was the owner of the Waterfront Crab House, a seafood staple in LIC for nearly 40 years.
But the restaurant, which Mazzarella painstakingly rebuilt after it was destroyed during Superstorm Sandy, was home to much more than an eatery.
Covered in boxing memorabilia, the Waterfront Crab House was also home to the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame, which close friend and Hall of Fame President Bob Duffy said was Mazzarella’s idea to open.
“He was a leader and remains a legend in New York City boxing,” Duffy said of his friend.
Mazzarella was also a member and treasurer of Ring 8, a veteran boxers association that supports fellow boxers who are in need. His restaurant served as the home of the group.
Duffy said that without Mazzarella’s support, Ring 8 would not exist.
“I don’t think there would be a Ring 8 today if not for Tony’s generosity and perseverance,” Duffy said. “He kept Ring 8 alive.”
A former New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) deputy commissioner and inspector, Mazzarella was well known throughout the boxing world. He shared his love for boxing with younger generations by starting the Golden Mittens, which introduced sports to kids.
“He was without question the most respected Ring 8 member,” Duffy said. “We will all miss Tony Mazzarella more than words alone can properly describe.”
But Mazzarella’s generosity did not only extend to the boxing community. Community members say his restaurant was always offered up as a meeting space for various groups and organizations.
He helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for pediatric cancer as the co-founder of the Patty Fund for Childhood Cancer. He also served on the board of the Queens Division of the American Cancer Society, and was awarded the St. George National Award, which recognizes outstanding volunteers and leaders in the battle against cancer.
A manager at Waterfront Crab House, who said she worked for Mazzarella for 15 years, could only describe him as a “wonderful gentleman.”
“He was a really nice gentleman to work for,” she said. “He was into the community. He did a lot for cancer patients and Ring 8. He did a lot of things like that.”
Tony Mazzarella is survived by his wife, Robin, three children and two grandchildren.