The Screeching of the steel wheels of the Third Avenue el tr
The real Paul Ricca was a stone cold killer, equally proficient with a knife or an ice pick. He enjoyed his reputation for heartlessness and cruelty
Date: 2/13/2011 2:20:30 PM ( 12 y ) ... viewed 30207 times
The Screeching of the steel wheels of the Third Avenue el train drowned out the scream of Patricia as Sergio lie dead on the street Bronx Street Corner. Oh my Gawd, Oh My Gawd Screamed Patricia as she reached over and held the limp body of Sergio in her arms, a crowd gathered as she cradled Sergio in her arms rocking back and forth screaming “My Baby, My Baby”
It was just weeks after a newborn baby was killed by a pumpkin that was hurled form a fifth floor crescent Avenue window. Life was precious but life was also disposable in this lower middle class Bronx neighborhood
A burly man with a short mustache and a shiny trench coat fled the scene, dropping the gun into a trashcan as he slowly but steadily left the scene, making his way into an old black Cadillac. Some chase him yelled Patricia, grab that bastard. One of the young boys, a stocky Italian Boy named Anthony, a boy too young to know any better caught up to the killer and grabbed him and turned him around so he was in full view to many of the neighborhood people.
Paul Ricca, better known as Paul the waiter, was an enigma to those around him. He could, and often did, cry openly at the birth of a soldier's new born child.
In the working class dominated underworld, where ignorance is a virtue, Ricca was not only relatively well read, he practiced old world manners. He never spoke a vulgar word. He bowed slightly to women and they adored him. He was refined in the peasant Italian view of what refinement was. He never told an off color story. Politicians liked him. Mob legend says that he was a guest for dinner at the Roosevelt White House.
Ricca spoke often and colorfully about his impoverished childhood in Naples and he was known to be generous in his donations to assist Chicago's poverty stricken immigrant Italian community.
From his massive estate in River Forrest, empowered by his vast fortune, most of it in cash, Ricca was able to slip in and out of Chicago's elite society "like cashmere around a leper."
The real Paul Ricca was a stone cold killer, equally proficient with a knife or an ice pick. He enjoyed his reputation for heartlessness and cruelty. Even Sam Giancana was amazed that Ricca "...a real bastard that guy. He would laugh while he cut out a man's heart."
Ricca was suspected by police and Federal agents of taking part in at least 24 murders in as many years. That number didn't include the many other killings he ordered during the almost forty years that he ruled over the Chicago outfit.
The little that is known about his background, for he was a very secretive man, is that he was born Paul De Luca Angelo Ciolo in Naples 1897.
In 1917, Ricca killed Emilia Parillo. Ricca liked to say that he knifed Parillo to death because Parillo, just a boy at the time Ricca snuffed out his life, dared to ask for Ricca's sister, Amelia's hand in marriage and later that he killed Parillo because he had jilted her.
Ricca liked that story so much that he spread it around and even paid some newspaper people to print it for him.
The truth is that Parillo was killed in a retaliation murder for the Mafia which Ricca was already a member of in 1917.
Whatever the reason, the 17-year-old Ricca stabbed the unarmed boy to death while he begged for his life and then left him on a dark street to bleed to death.
Ricca was arrested and did some time for the killing, but only two years since it was a crime of passion and in the village life view of things, Ricca had acted honorably if his story was to be believed.
However, when Ricca was released from jail, he hunted down the witness against him, a young man named Vincenzo Capasso, and slit his throat from ear to ear and then fled to America using the name Paul Maglio, a village friend. There was no doubt who had killed Capasso. Ricca was tried in absentia and convicted to twenty-two years in prison.
Ricca arrived in America just before his twenty-first birthday by way of Cuba to avoid annoying questions by the Immigration department.
Once in Cuba, Ricca was placed in touch with a fellow Neapolitan, "Diamond Joe" Esposito, who brought Ricca out to Chicago and placed him under the Bloody Genna brothers.
Ricca's first job was to run sugar and whiskey from Cuba to points north and moonshine from Kentucky to Chicago.
But Diamond Joe could see that Ricca was far more intelligent that the lowly bred Gennas and their religious fanaticism and blood lust. As a result, Ricca climbed up the ladder quickly.
Esposito liked him, Ricca could court favor when he had to, and he was made maitre d' at Esposito's restaurant the Bella Napoli, hence his nickname "Paul the Waiter," a name Ricca detested. "I was the manager, you want to call me a waiter. . .then go ahead."
In 1928, when the Justice department started using deportation as a means to level out the Capone organization, Ricca retained American citizenship under the name Paul DeLucia, because he wrongly assumed that the Italian government had notified the American government he was living in the country under the name Paul Maglio. That was another mistake that would come back to haunt him. Ricca had already filed income tax returns under the name Paul Maglio and swore on those documents that he was an American citizen and that Paul Maglio was his actual name.
During his long career as Chicago's most influential and powerful gangster, the federal government would never allow Ricca to live out his life of crime without interference. But even under the constant scrutiny of the entire Justice department, Paul Ricca ruled supreme in the Chicago underworld for almost four decades.
With time, Ricca drifted over to the Capone organization and again, he courted the powers that be and rose up the ladder quickly and quietly.
Ricca was present with Al Capone at the Atlantic City conference and by 1929, a year after he had set up Diamond Joe Esposito for murder, law enforcement and the syndicate considered him an up and coming star of the Chicago mob.
In 1930 Capone sent Ricca as his personal emissary to New York in an effort to settle the Castellmarese war. It was the start of Ricca's push to power on the national syndicate commission. Ricca continued to sit in on national commission meetings, sometimes with Nitti's knowledge, more often without it.
As early as 1929, Ricca could read the writing on the wall and the writings said that Capone was going down, sooner or later, but Capone was going down. The feds were planning to get Capone and make an international example out of him.
The smart money and the old time bosses, who had taken a liking to Ricca, advised Ricca to keep a low profile and distance himself from "that gorilla," as New York called Capone behind his back.
To be continued
The expressions on some of the people were blank. Not surprised but blank. Some people immediately raised their hands up in disgust and patted Patricia on the Head. They said “Whadaya gonna do” as they left the scene. The eyes of the killer and the boy met and before he could drag the gunman down, A stern look and then a smile came from the gunman who just said, Hey ant knee paison, Ya mother , she’s calling ya, now get the hell outta here and remember, Ya still have a mother and a fam-lee. Ya saw nuthin, like everybody here. Ya saw nuthin. He took out some cash and actually threw it up in the air as he fled the scene.
Some immediately left Patricia and her grief behind and were actually laughing and fighting for the money. Anthony sheepishly turned away feeling weak and emasculated,
Being bumped and knocked to the ground by the crowd who were now fighting to grab the cash that lays on the Bronx Street.
Anthony walked back over to comfort Patricia who now was delirious and
Yelled to Anthony, Ya saw him Anthony, Ya saw him. Who was Anthony, Who killed my Baby? Why did he kill my baby. Anthony looked up to see a tall well-dressed man walking over to comfort Patricia. His eye looked down at Anthony and gave Anthony a Motion to beat it. Anthony looked over at Patricia and said “ I don’t know, I never saw him before. He was not from the neighborhood.” The man in the trench coat gave a smile of approval and bent down to comfort Patricia.
The minutes seemed like hours and the still was not a cop or an ambulance on the scene. But, that was normal for Little Italy in The Bronx, which at the time was a self-governing neighborhood controlled by the Italian elders and I don’t mean priests. The type of self-governing protected men like Sergio’s killer from being ratted out by one the bystanders. At least any of the bystanders who wanted to protect the safety of themselves and their loved ones.
As a boy I learned very young that while I was taught to respect the police. My own brother became a NYC Policeman. I also learned that it was not wise to speak to the police or to discuss neighborhood problems with the police over the families that ran my small Bronx neighborhood. If there was a problem , you go to the cawfee shop or to the club. There will be someone there to take care of it.
The stench of death was on almost every street corner in the Italian section of the Bronx.
It was outside the Arthur Avenue Market where mafia boss Phil Skalisie was gunned down after exiting the Arthur Avenue market.
A steady rain fell; creating a stream of blood that was emptying into the corner sewer.
A crowd started to gather around the body as passers by exited the Italian market, which was busy with its usual Friday food shoppers.
There is no retirement for made men only violent death. The infection had spread through this Italian Bronx neighborhood as it had infected many other communities. The neighboring communities in the Bronx were predominantly Jewish immigrants. The more recent Jewish families had fled Europe after the Holocaust.
The Jewish Communities of the Grand Concourse had a strong sense of community and the suffering and past indignities committed against Jews brought the community closer together. Self respect and self worth was taught to the children of the holocaust and to other Jewish immigrants.
Education was stressed and the Torah was an anchor to the many Jewish immigrants who now called the United States of America home. I admired and was some times envious of the close relationships between my Jewish Friends and how they treated each family member with respect.
It is the springtime 1969 in the Bronx, The mostly Italian Neighborhood in the Central Bronx is still predominantly Italian and there are Puerto Ricans and Blacks to the East
And mostly Children of Irish Immigrants to the West and a diminishing Jewish population On the Grand Concourse .
The Arthur Avenue section of the Bronx is nestled between Pelham Parkway and the Grand Concourse. Two neighborhoods that were populated with middle Class Jewish Immigrants who are homeowners, business owners or working in academia.
To the East was the Tremont Avenue/Bathgate Avenue Section of the Bronx. An area once filled with Business Owned by Jewish merchants and a population and a growing Black and Puerto Rican population.
To the immediate South there is Saint Barnabas Hospital and the third avenue el train stop, the Third Avenue EL train linked neighborhood commuters with the Manhattan trains A once white neighborhood was now mostly Black with a dwindling Italian and Jewish population. Some neighborhood Italians called Third Avenue and East 180
Street the DMZ. It was the end of the turf for neighborhood Italian gangs and the beginning of growing minority communities.
In the summer of 1962, I was 8 years old. I would wait eagerly at the corner of Crescent and Arthur Avenue for my older sister Alberta to return home from her job in Manhattan. She would sometimes bring me treats. Occasionally I would wait for her to come off the El Train at Third Avenue (DMZ) and there would be many different people getting off the train. It was a diverse group of people, Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Italians, Irish people, strangely dressed Jewish Men, etc. One day, while over at Third Avenue without permission, about 5 blocks from my house. Five blocks and a street that was worlds apart from my neighborhood.
A Black lady smiled at me and asked me if I was Connie's son. I replied yes, I am.
She told me to head home , it would be dark soon and I should not be in this neighborhood at night. Just then , an Italian man and woman who lived in my neighborhood yelled out to me “Donald C’mere, whadaya doo-in here?
Does ya mother know ya here? I sheepishly said no and told them I was waiting for Alberta to get home from work.
The Black lady said to the Italian couple. That’s what I wuz telling da boy.
I was surprised when they said to the lady “Nobody is tawkin ta ya nigger, worry about your own kind! They the man said to me, Donald you should not be tawking to moolies.
I just looked at the Black lady who now was just walking away. She smiled at me and I saw my sister coming down the steps from the El Train and ran to greet her. My sister Alberta was a strong person and as one of her friends said. She took nothun from nobody
Her smile turned serious when she saw tears forming in my eyes. She always knew when something was bothering me. She called the black woman by name and said hi. The other couple had also waved and made a step toward Alberta but left when she said Hi to the Black Lady. They took off and the husband said to his wife. Let’s go the Iarussi’s are turning into nigger lovers.
My Sister took my hand and said to me. Ignore them, Don’t worry what they say.
There are good people and bad people in all types. She then quickly turned the subject and with the Italian Couple still looking from a distance. She said to me, Donald lets go in this store and get you some candy. But, you can’t eat it until after supper. She helm my hand, held her head up high and we walked into the Black owned candy store to get some candy. I was surprised when the Very large Dark old man said Hi Alberta who is this fine boy/ She told him proudly, this is my brother Donald. We walked over to the cake counter and bought some snowball cakes, they were my favorites. The Italian couple were now actually peering into the candy store window outraged that my sister and I would be in a black owned business.
Know those people said the candy store owner. Yeah, said sis, when she saw their outrage. She turned to the store owner and said. Ya know what, why don’t you give me a NO-Cal soda and give my brother a seven up. My sister was now doing this to nudge the racist couple. She paid for the drinks and with the door open so everone in and outside could hear. Alberta proudly and loudly said. Thanks, I’ll see you tomorrow morning for my coffee and paper.
At about 6pm every weekday, my sister Alberta would arrive home from her job in NYC
The Arthur Avenue Playground was a hangout for many of the neighborhood kids who cut school or would meet there and hang out after school let out. It was also a place where many mothers would take their children to play in the sandbox or the monkey bars while they sat and shared the latest gossip. It was also a place where many of the elderly Italian immigrants would agther and play bocce ball while talking about the old country
Many of the older men seemed so lost, searching for yester day through the companionship of paisans.
The park had its gangs and hoods. But, most of the kids there were respectful of the women and the old men. If they knew what was good for them. Not only the police patrolled the neighborhood. But by many of the made man and wanna bees who would put out a situation created by the gangs before it got out of hand and brought in the police.
Anyone could go to the park for anything from recreation, gossip, hang out, or to bet the numbers or place a bet on your favorite horse or sports team. I did not hang out in the park, I was a passive person who tried to avoid the park culture.
Anger, Violence, was a part of everyday life in the Bronx in the late 60’s.
Either you were part of the inner circle of the youths that hung out in the park or you were not. If you were not part of the culture. You were not considered to be cool.
It was open season on anyone who came through the Arthur Avenue Park if you were not a member of the inner circle.
The late 60’s was the decline of the greasers and thugs who were losing their power.
The park was just blocks from Fordham University. A middle class Jesuit college whose student culture was turning from Conservative to part of the peace movement of the late 60’s.
This angered the thugs in the park and occasionally when long hair students came through the park. They would be harassed and sometimes jumped and beaten up for no reason at all.
The violence would be more severe if an African American or Puerto Rican would dare step into the property of this Young Italian gang. The era of white gangs in the Bronx were declining. Thugs like the Fordham Baldies and the Golden Guineas were more legends than reality to the park culture.
Other white neighborhoods were experiencing the same decline and were also lashing out against Blacks, Puerto Ricans and Hippies. The Ducky Boys were a white gang that would lock horns or should I say “grease” with the Fordham Baldies. Each gang had its ethnic history and it’s own turf.. An Italian girl dating an Irish Boy could be very dangerous for the Irish boy who entered the Turf of the Italian Neighborhood. He would most likely be jumped and as the park gang would say. We would skull the Mick bastard
A White girl dating a Black boy would mean severe punishment for any Black boy or name who would dare date a white girl. This rule held strong in any white neighborhood in the Bronx. An Italian girl dating an African American would be considered a slut and a nigger lover. She would face insults, beaten up and be an outcast. The African American dating her would face being jumped, beaten and maybe even killed
I remember raeding an article about the Little Italy section of the Bronx back around 1970. The Village voice article quoted a young neighborhood boy running into an
Belmont area candy store and proudly telling a story about how some nigger was jumped, beaten and his head cut off. The kid proudly shouted , “The guy’s head was rolling down the street”. The story was exaggerated but the Arthur Avenue Section was not where African Americans wanted to be in the late 60’s and 70’s.
In the Neighborhood Blacks were considered the toughest. Many people actually feared blacks. Since I was a young boy. I remember hearing stories about how bad Blacks were.
I did not understand this talk since I attended an school of mixed cultures including African Americans. Puerto Ricans and other cultures. My best friend from 4th until 6th grade was an African American named Hubert. We got along great, it seemed like the only kids causing trouble in the elementary school were the children of the white racists.
I remember back in 1968 when a neighbor of ours came by with material
On Racist Democrat/Independent Presidential candidate and Governor of Alabama, George Wallace. The Wallace campaign stressed segregation; they said that there was not a dimes difference between Johnson and Nixon.
My neighbor tried to convince my parents how important it was to keep African Americans out of our neighborhood schools, Churches. She said to my mom. “The niggers are taking over” “They want nigger teachers and nigger Businesses and they want to turn us into slaves and serve them”. I was a young boy who had never heard such crazy talk. I had been to Hubert’s house; I had been to the home of my friend Hector. There was no anger, no taking over going on.
I was in a neighborhood that was almost 100% democrat. There were no Republicans.
This was a neighborhood that had a fear of minorities. This anger coming from many people whose families had been in the USA less than 50 or 60 years at the most, many even less. Yet, these same people who had actually lived in the USA less a time than African Americans wanted to dictate what was acceptable behavior and living areas for Blacks?
The North Eastern American Guido has been around for quite some time. They began arriving during the massive Italian immigration surge at the turn of the last century. These immigrants not only brought the endearing elements of their culture that we have all grown to accept and admire, but the scummy parts of it as well. It was out of the early Guido culture that the Italian Mafia in the US was born.
They've been called many things over the years. Goombas, Guineas, WOPs, Dagos, etc. More often than not, Guidos were Southern Italian descendants (Naples and everything south, including Sicily). The true Guido though didn't begin to really take shape until the 1950's. Back then, it was t-shirts with the pack of cigs rolled up in the sleeve, the pomade slicked hair into a perfect Ducks Ass wave, the obnoxious behavior. Some traits of the 1950's Guido that remain to this day include the obsession with nice cars and hair products. Think John Travolta (a key figure in Guido lore, as you will find out) as Danny Zuko in Grease.
Around the late 1960's the Guido began to clean up his act. More often than not the Guido opted for suits over the Guinea T-shirt. And not just any kind of suits. Shiny ones. Sharkskin. Alligator shoes. French cuffs. PINKY RINGS!! Think "Goodfellas". And no, it wasn't just gangsters sporting that shit in the 60's. It was bigger than that. Trust me, I've gone through my father and uncle's photographs from that era. Scary shit.
This trend towards dressing flashy continued into the 70's. But now, a few new elements were being added to the mix. Number 1, drugs. Cocaine and pills were the Guido's drug of choice in the 70's. Number 2 important element in the evolution of the 70's Guido: Disco. Disco in NY/NJ in the 1970's, there were f***ing discos everywhere, and the Guido's packed the places. Places like 2001 in Bay Ridge were considered the epicenter of disco's explosion in the 70's. It's where they filmed perhaps the greatest Guido movie of all time, Saturday Night Fever. I can't stress this enough, folks. This is the Guido docudrama. This lays out the foundation for Guido culture, still being practiced today, as is made evident by our little Hotti boys here.
Which brings us back, once again, to John Travolta, playing the quintessential movie Guido: Tony Manero. Tony obsesses over his hair. He wears flashy clothes. He is incredibly aware of his appearance. He hangs out with a bunch of douchebags just as obsessive about the same BS as he is. His father hates his guts. He talks funny. He goes to discos. He dances. These behaviors are all evident in the modern day Guido.
Travolta was also responsible for yet another of the Guido icons: Vinny Barbarino from the show Welcome Back, Carter. This show was about a couple of f***-ups at New Utrecht High School (my old man's HS and an important site in Guido lore) in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn (again, a very important part of the Guido landscape). Vinny isn’t as perfect of an example of Guido as Tony, but he’s enough to make John Travolta the equivalent of the Holy Trinity of Guidodom.
The 80’s were a weird time for Guidos. They started trading in the suits for different kinds of suits. The 80’s were the Track Suit Years. Sergio Tacchini, Adidas, Puma. Disco was dead, but a new scourge had replaced it in the clubs of NY/NJ: House music. House music sucks worst than disco. Ever hear that song “I’ll House You”? Every Guido knew the words to that f***ing song back then. It was also during this era that the greatest Guido car of all time ruled; The IROC Z-28. Preferably with T Tops. Also, hair gel and hair spray were now staples of the Guido repertoire.
As the 80’s became the 90’s, Guido regressed a bit, regaining the form of their flashy 70’s counterparts. Z. Cavaricci pants, flashy wild print silk shirts, and the beginning of the spiky hair look. While house music was still getting some play among the Guido nation, Hip-Hop was beginning to get some play as well. Also, the return of the Guinea T-shirt (or Wife Beater, if you prefer) was a suprising development of the 90’s. Guidos have always worn Guinea T’s, but only as outerwear during the 50’s and again in the 90’s.
And now we find ourselves here. The modern Guido has embraced the metrosexual lifestyle, complete with the body waxing and the fake tanning. I don’t really know what to make of this new variation, since I moved out of NY in the mid 90’s and I haven’t had the chance to study this new variation up close. But I gotta tell you all, I’m really excited about the new direction. I'm glad the Albanians are picking up the torch. I was a little worried that the Guido was becoming endangered there toward the beginning of this new century. It’s obvious to me that he is alive and thriving in the clubs of NY & NJ.
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