Between the parties and the food, Paddy McGees regulars always knew they were in for a good time at the Island Park stalwart. But as the shuttered, Sandy-damaged restaurant is prepared to be razed, its final hurrah has moved to social media.
For 30 years, the seafood spot and nightclub sat on Waterview Road, overlooking the city of Long Beach. But the party came to end when superstorm Sandy left the building soaked in floodwaters and with a caved-in roof.
Owner John Vitale confirmed to Newsday in 2013 that he did not plan to reopen the restaurant, but it had sat as a vacant memorial for its loyal fans ever since. Now, construction crews are preparing the main building to be demolished starting Thursday.
Images of construction vehicles on the property sparked new life on the Facebook page, Remembering PADDY Mcgees, where a photo of a crane outside the restaurant was captioned “R.I.P. PADDY MCGEE’S . . . 5/5/16” was liked by more than 1,600 people and shared 1,400 times.
The Facebook page was created about a year ago by Mike Limmer, 71, of Wantagh, director of security at the restaurant for 25 years. Limmer said he started the page to share his fond memories of the restaurant and it quickly attracted about 900 fans.
“At one time, during the ’80s, ’90s, early 2000s, that was not only a very popular seafood restaurant, but it was also one of the more popular late-night, young-people gathering places,” Limmer said.
Limmer’s “R.I.P.” post was by far the page’s most popular. In addition to shares and reactions, it also elicited nearly 400 comments from former patrons and employees.
“It is very sad to see this place go. I met my wife there 11 years ago while we were out for my friends birthday,” Eddie Quiroz wrote.
“Fridays after working ICU. We were there when it opened in the 80s!” Jennifer Mintzer-Karmel wrote.
“I had lots of fun there over the years. I practically lived there on my boat in the summer of 2009,” commented Gary Mancuso Jr.
“So sad, had some amazing times there, will never be another bar like it!!,” wrote Gayle Monti Sommers.
Vitale said he enjoys the page as much as his former employees and patrons.
“I check on it all the time,” he said. “I’m not a big Facebook person, but I am enjoying some of the posts and the pictures.”
Vitale said some demolition has already taken place — mostly smaller structures and back dining rooms. The building is scheduled to be fully razed this week to make way for an apartment building.
Limmer said he first noticed the cranes while he was teaching a driver’s education course last month and he had the students stop so he could document it.
“I said I’ve gotta get some pictures, it was a landmark. It was a place in my life for 25 years,” he said. “It was a place where a lot of people came, they came to like it and love it.”