HAMILTON HEIGHTS — Bill Musachia worked most of his life in construction, but what he dreamed about was opening a bar.
For a year and a half, Muschaia, 51, realized that dream in Grill on the Hill, at 1624 Amsterdam Ave. near 140th Street, a pub that quickly became neighborhood hangout after it was opened in September 2014.
There construction workers mixed with City College students and locals to watch "Game of Thrones" and football games or compete in regular quiz nights and video game tournaments. Their chicken wings were raved about.
Sadly, Musacchia's dream was short lived.
He was found dead in his Hamilton Heights apartment on Tuesday night after his partner at the bar, Julio Montenegro, went to check on him when relatives said he hadn't answered his phone all day.
"We could hear his [cellphone] alarm going off but the door was locked and he wasn't answering, so the [building] super called police," he said.
Once police got inside, Musacchia was found with no pulse and wearing a sleep apnea mask on his face, according to Montenegro.
Police said they were still investigating the death and waiting for the Medical Examiner to determine the cause.
"I feel horrible," Montenegro said. "I'm very upset that when his dream finally came true, he passed away."
Musacchia grew up in Flushing and worked as a construction contractor for most of his life, Montenegro, 52, said.
"We talked about this when we were in high school, it was like, his dream," he said.
In 2013, Musacchia was doing construction work in the building on the corner of 140th Street and Amsterdam Avenue when he noticed an empty storefront and called up Montenegro, he said.
"He said, 'you know, I think this is the one,'" said Montenegro, who works as a plumber.
The two friends, along with Musacchia's childhood friend Steve Attanasio, renovated the space for 9 months before opening Grill on the Hill over a year ago.
Friends, regulars and employees of Grill on the Hill described him as a compassionate man and father of a 21-year-old daughter.
"He was the best boss. He cared about others, about the community. Bill couldn't hurt a fly even if he wanted to," said bartender Mia Posmantur.
Neighbor De'juan, who declined to provide his last name, called Musacchia's death a "not only a loss for our building, it's a loss for the whole neighborhood."
"He was just one of those neighbors everyone would like to have," he said. "It was always a pleasure to see him, he was super helpful always."
Musacchia's wake will take place Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. and then from 7 to 9 p.m at Frederick Funeral Home at 192-15 Northern Boulevard in Flushing.