Monday, November 12, 2007
So yeah, I haven’t posted in ages. But I have an excuse this time! I just moved. From my cramped one bedroom apartment in Bay Ridge to a palatial 3-Bedroom in Bensonhurst. It’s been quite an adjustment so far. Bay Ridge is a really nice neighborhood with amazing restaurants and bars while Bensonhurst is a more “neighborhood” Brooklyn place. It’s still a safe place and all that but just a li’l more rough around the edges. But in the throws of New York City Apartment Living it’s every man for himself. When a bigger place opens up you have to jump on it. The day we officially took the apartment we were walking out when a car pulled up and asked if the apartment was available. It’s cutthroat, man.
Anyway, I can’t believe I’m actually living in Bensonhurst. I’m a huge Mafia buff, having read dozens of books on Italian Organized Crime and everyone mentioned Bensonhurst. It’s basically Ground Zero for the Brooklyn syndicates. I’m not as sure about what is going on today, from everything I’ve read it seems the Mafia has been really broken up. That’s not to say it’s gone by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just not what you see in the movies.
Bensonhurst has spawned some of the biggest mobsters of all-time. Sammy “The Bull” Gravano was born and raised in Bensonhurst before he became the most famous turncoat since Joe Valachi in 1961.
“Don Vito” Genovese operated in Bensonhurst. Genovese came up the ranks under the famed mobster “Lucky” Luciano. Genovese aided Luciano’s rise to power, which resulted in the creation of the “Commission”, which established the hierarchy of the mob and the “5 Families” that you see and hear about in films such as the Godfather.
Many of the guys who reached fame via Scorsese’s classic “Goodfellas” film were either born in Bensonhurst or in the case of Paul Vario, operated from Bensonhurst. Paul Sorvino played Paul in Goodfellas.
Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta was born in Bensonhurst.
Tommy “Two Gun” DeSimone, played by Joe Pesci, was every bit as crazy as the film portrayed him. DeSimone, was eventually killed by, according to Henry Hill, John Gotti himself. If you remember the great “Go get your shine box” scene, Billy Bats was a made man in the Gambino Family and Bats wasn’t DeSimone’s only run in with the Gambino family. While it is known that the Gambinos did kill DeSimone, Hill’s assertion that Gotti was the triggerman, is not. That does make a hell of a story, though.
James Burke “Jimmy the Gent” was played by Robert DiNiro in Goodfellas. Called Jimmy Conway in the film, (Conway was his mother’s maiden name) Burke was in foster homes most of his childhood. Incredibly, one of his foster fathers died in a car crash as he was turned around beating Burke in the back seat. His foster mother then blamed him for that, in turn beating him for years after. Reading about Burke is amazing stuff. He was basically a serial killer. He killed dozens of people and almost killed the famous New York City journalist Jimmy Breslin, chocking the writer to near death in public. Years later Breslin would receive letters from the Son of Sam. Talk about a couple of interesting on-the-job hazards.
Well, that’s enough of this little Mafia Lesson for today. Thought I’d give you an update on where the hell I’ve been.
Stay tuned for comics!