Workers tore down the building that for years housed the popular nightclub Casey’s on Montauk Highway in Westhampton Beach last Wednesday afternoon, drawing to a close an era of late nights and spirited fun.
The bar was known for its packed dance floor on summer nights, but also for the generosity of its owners, Tony Galgano, Henry “Skip” Schmedes, and Rich Murphy, who readily offered up the location for plenty of community fundraisers over the past two decades.
“I can’t say enough good things about those guys,” said Tim Laube, president of the Westhampton St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, which held its annual fundraiser at Casey’s for at least 20 years.
He said it was sad to see the building come down, even if he and others knew to expect it once Casey’s closed its doors last year.
“We will certainly miss being there,” he said. “All the best to Tony and company. They were really good to us.”
Before the owners operated the club as Casey’s, they operated a bar called “Wilson’s Garage,” whose name they plucked from the 1974 rendition of “The Great Gatsby,” in the same building. Neither Mr. Galgano nor Mr. Murphy could be reached for comment. Mr. Schmedes died in 2011.
Paul Pawlowski, who recently bought the property, said he plans to submit plans for the construction of a new building to the Westhampton Beach Village Planning Board in the next few weeks. He explained that the new building could accommodate retail shops or medical offices, although he said he is also open to other ideas, including some type of cafe or eatery, so long as it complies with the village’s zoning code.
The property sits in the village’s B-2 zoning district, which permits luncheonettes, delis and coffee shops, professional offices and services, medical offices and various other retail uses.
Though he agreed that it was sad to take down Casey’s, he explained that the old building was constructed for the nightclub and bar use, which could not accommodate other businesses.
“We’ll look to have something up within the next six months,” he said.
True Value Hardware recently opened in the new building on the lot Mr. Pawlowski owns next to Casey’s. He said Dunkin Donuts plans to occupy the other portion of that building sometime next month.
Joe Folchetti, who tended bar at the local hotspot in the early 1990s, was passing by as the demolition got underway last week. He stopped to take photos before the building came down.
“I have a lot of good memories and a lot of good friends who worked there for a long time,” he said on Thursday. “It’s an end of an era seeing the building go down.”
He recalled the popular bands that drew crowds to the club, including Alive 'n' Kickin’ and the Fabulous Greaseband.
James Arrasate, who owned the 1.2-acre property before selling it to Mr. Pawlowski, could not be immediately reached for comment.