‘The Sopranos’ was inspired by this real-life Newark mob family

In the late 1960s, the Newark, NJ, mob was in disarray. Its leader, Anthony “Tony Boy” Boiardo, suffered from crippling ulcers. His father, family capo ­Richie “The Boot” Boiardo, nearing 80, wanted to retire, care for his garden and lounge at his gargantuan pool. But he kept getting pulled back in to help his son, who was disliked by fellow gang members. At least two of them — soldiers Angelo “Gyp” DeCarlo and ­Anthony “Little Pussy” Russo — were caught on FBI wiretaps gossiping about the likelihood of Tony Boy getting killed by one of their own. 

If this setup sounds familiar that’s because the Boiardo crime family inspired the HBO TV series “The Sopranos” and its new pre­quel movie “The Many Saints of Newark,” which drops in theaters and on HBO Max Oct. 1. The latter, set in Newark amid the 1960s race riots, tells the story of a young Tony Soprano as he began to make his bones. In the film, Tony is portrayed by the late James Gandolfini’s 22-year-old son, Michael. 

The Boiardo crime family of Newark, first led by Richie “The Boot” Boiardo (center) and then his son, Tony Boy.
The Boiardo crime family of Newark, first led by Richie “The Boot” Boiardo (center) and then his son, Tony Boy.
Getty Images

“Sopranos” creator David Chase revealed to New Jersey Monthly in 2002 that while “90 percent of [the TV show] is made up . . . it’s patterned after this family.”

Many names and situations on “The Sopranos” and in the movie are dead ringers for real Jersey mafiosos. Riffing off Anthony “Tony Boy” Boiardo, in “Many Saints” Tony Soprano’s father is called Johnny Boy. Reality and fiction both feature thugs nicknamed Big Pussy (the true genesis of John “Big Pussy” Russo’s nickname: he was a successful cat burglar.) And real-life Tony Boy as well as TV’s Tony Soprano both suffered due to their devious lives. They were wracked by emotional maladies with physical repercussions (ulcers for Tony Boy, panic attacks for older Tony Soprano) and hired psychiatrists to cope.

While Soprano’s sessions with Lorraine Bracco’s Dr. Melfi are well known to fans, those of Tony Boy, who witnessed his first murder at 14, are less so. “Tony Boy worked with a therapist who had been a military doctor, specializing in PTSD,” Robert Linnett, author of “In the Godfather Garden: The Long Life and Times of Richie ‘The Boot’ Boiardo,” told The Post. “Tony Boy was dealing with the stress of being the Boot’s son and running a mob family, which he was ill-equipped to do.”

Tony Boy Boiardo (left) took the reins from dad Richie “The Boot,” and like TV’s Tony Soprano (right) had to hire a therapist to manage stress.
Tony Boy Boiardo (left) took the reins from dad Richie “The Boot,” and like TV’s Tony Soprano (right) had to hire a therapist to manage stress.
Getty Images; HBO

Like on “The Sopranos” when Tony took the reins from a jailed Corrado “Junior” Soprano, things weren’t going well for the Boiardos in the ’60s. IRS agents were investigating The Boot — nicknamed for his bootlegging prowess — and feds had begun closing in. DeCarlo was battling cancer while serving a 12-year prison sentence for numbers running. Life magazine ran an exposé on The Boot, his “brazen empire of organized crime” and 30-acre estate in Livingston, NJ, with a home described as “Transylvanian traditional.” The unwanted publicity led to kids throwing cherry bombs over the fence. Frustrated, The Boot actually took potshots at two trespassing kids. 

Weirdly, in the midst of all this, he encouraged his teenage grandchildren to patrol the grounds with long guns. “We hunted there and people thought we were bodyguards,” grandson Roger Hanos told The Post. “We kept guns close in case we saw rabbits or squirrels.” 

Before their world began to crumble, though, the Boiardos ran Newark. For decades, the clan controlled the city’s crime scene and benefited from racketeering, loan-sharking, theft, gambling and no-show jobs along with other criminal enterprises at the Port of Newark. “It was and is a candy store,” a law-enforcement source told The Post. “The Port is a magnet for criminals. We’ve highlighted 500 longshoremen getting paid a total of $417 million for work that will never get done.” 

When Richie “The Boot” (left) stepped aside, he became increasingly detached and paranoid — the same as TV boss Corrado Soprano (right).
When Richie “The Boot” (left) stepped aside, he became increasingly detached and paranoid — the same as TV boss Corrado Soprano (right).
Roger Hanos; HBO

The family’s lucrative, illicit trade started out innocently, however, with milk. 

It all began with a pre-capo Richie delivering the wholesome beverage. His family immigrated from Italy to the United States in 1901. And his parents, who adopted the boy they called Ruggerio at age 6, mostly lived on the straight and narrow, but Richie had other plans. 

Around 1915, having worked in construction and already saddled with a bust for running an illegal gambling joint, Richie, then in his 20s, secured a Newark milk route. In short order he became more than a milkman. “He had contact with households and started selling [illegal] lottery tickets to the families who also bought his milk,” ­Hanos said. “It was a simple way to make ­extra money.” 

It also solidified his criminal reputation. 

In 1920, Prohibition hit and Richie took to producing and peddling bootleg alcohol. He learned the business through a gang headed up by John and Frank Mazzocchi. By the early ’30s, The Boot assembled his own crew and dealt with the competition in classic mob style. “He executed the Mazzocchi brothers,” added Hanos, who avoided the family trade and is now retired from his job as director of human resources at a New Jersey university. “Then my grandfather became a bootlegging king of Newark.” 

John “Big Pussy” Russo (left) got the moniker by being a cat burglar, just like TV’s Sal Bonpen-Siero (right).
John “Big Pussy” Russo (left) got the moniker by being a cat burglar, just like TV’s Sal Bonpen-Siero (right).
Roger Hanos; HBO

Over ensuing decades, The Boot made millions by being shrewd and murderous. On a wiretap, gang members laughed about The Boot hammering “a little Jew” in the head before Tony Boy shot him. But he also had seemingly legit contracting businesses that thrived via sweetheart deals from politicians who received kickbacks. 

When things got messy, The Boot had a way of destroying evidence. “You’d hear about him burning people, alive or dead. That was weird and scary,” said Linnett, referring to what went down in a large fire pit at the rear of The Boot’s property. “Usually mob guys just put a bullet to the ear. There were not many mob bosses with their own crematorium. That’s brutal.” 

However, his son, to the manor born, lacked The Boot’s cunning. Tony Boy, after a brief and unsuccessful military stint, got involved in crime in the early ’50s by working as a frontman to obtain a liquor license for his dad’s restaurant. He quickly worked his way up the ranks as a mobster, but many thugs disliked him. 

“Tony Boy was raised with a silver spoon in his mouth. He raced around in fancy cars and threatened to kill people,” said Linnett. “Little Pussy, Gyp and others resented it.” 

According to Linnett’s book, an FBI report noted, “As soon as Boiardo [The Boot] dies, his son will not have long to live.” 

Richie “The Boot” Boiardo had a large swimming pool located at his Livingston Estate. He held parties almost every weekend.
Richie “The Boot” Boiardo had a large swimming pool located at his Livingston Estate. He held parties almost every weekend.
Roger Hanos

It didn’t help that Tony Boy famously screwed up. In the early ’60s, left in charge by an aging Boot, he organized a meeting that turned to mayhem. It began when he called numbers runner Pasquale “Smudgy” Antonelli to the Fremont Club in Newark for an early morning sit-down. The place was closed and Tony Boy was with Big Pussy and Jimo Calabrese, a Boiardo lieutenant and prolific killer. 

Exactly what happened next is shrouded in mystery. But it ended with Tony Boy, Big Pussy, Smudgy and Calabrese all with bullet wounds and needing medical care. Tony Boy was spirited to Florida. An associate of Smudgy was murdered a day later. Needing to clean up the mess, The Boot jetted home from an Italian vacation with his sweetheart. 

“I would say he was pissed,” Linnett said. “The innocent bartender who witnessed ­everything was killed. That was a case of The Boot’s brutality spilling over into the civilian world.” 

Throughout that decade, the family business got driven into the ground. Little Pussy, an associate named Jerry Catena and The Boot all landed behind bars on various ­charges. “My grandfather went to prison, for a little over a year, in November 1970,” said Hanos. “I felt bad about it. I drove my mother and aunt there to visit him in Leesburg State Prison. I fed his dogs and checked out his house. They let him have his own garden at Leesburg.” 

‘Sopranos’ (cast pictured above) creator David Chase says "90 percent of [‘The Sopranos’] is made up . . . [but] it’s patterned after the [Boiardo] family."
‘Sopranos’ (cast pictured above) creator David Chase says “90 percent of [‘The Sopranos’] is made up . . . [but] it’s patterned after the [Boiardo] family.”
Alamy

Tony Boy died of a heart attack in 1978, at age 60. His father passed six years later, due to heart failure at 93. By then the Boiardo crime family was skeletal, but it did not mark the end of Newark’s mob. 

“I fully believe there is an organized Newark mob,” said ex-Secret Service agent Jan Gilhooly, allowing that cameras everywhere complicate being a crook. “But organized criminals spend 24 hours a day thinking about how to steal things. The Port is still heavy in loan-sharking and gambling. Plus you now have street gangs that need to be dealt with.” 

According to the law-enforcement source, “organized crime remains alive and well. The mob had a check-cashing place [in the Newark area] through which they laundered $1 million per day. A container full of perfume got stolen [from the Port]; that was worth another million. There was a [wiretap] bug [on which gangsters] talked about NJ belonging to the Genovese family.” 

On another tap, they jawboned about something more relatable. “Guys were arguing over which ‘Sopranos’ character is based on who,” said the source, adding that the guys also appreciated the show’s realistic portrayal of their backstabbing loved ones. “Even family members will try to do you.”

This article was originally posted here

Ray Liotta reveals why he passed on role in ‘The Sopranos’

The rumor mill has swirled for quite a while that Ray Liotta was offered the lead role of Tony in “The Sopranos” and he turned it down.

However, that was never the case. Liotta, 66, explained in an interview with the Guardian that he was approached by the HBO mob drama’s creator David Chase to play a different character.

“No! I don’t know where that story came from,” Liotta said about the idea he was offered the role of Tony Soprano. “David once talked to me about playing Ralphie. But never Tony.”

But the “Shades of Blue” star said even the part of Ralphie, which was ultimately played by Joe Pantoliano, was just not in the cards for him.

“I didn’t want to do another mafia thing, and I was shooting ‘Hannibal.’ It just didn’t feel right at the time,” he said.

Liotta famously starred as Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 mafia crime film “Goodfellas.”

In 2001, Liotta also spoke about turning down a “Sopranos” role, the Associated Press reported, but said he’d like a guest spot.

“It was for a two-year commitment and I didn’t really want to give up that time now,” Liotta said on the “Today” show. “I would love to do a guest spot on there, do a couple of episodes. Having done ‘Goodfellas,’ it’s definitely a genre I’m familiar with.”

The New Jersey native also revealed to the Guardian why he never reunited with the Oscar-winning director.

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino and Joe Pesci in 1990's "Goodfellas."
Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino and Joe Pesci in 1990’s “Goodfellas.”
Getty Images

“I don’t know, you’d have to ask him. But I’d love to,” Liotta remarked.

“If you got one movie that people remember, that’s great. If you got two, that’s fantastic,” he said.

But Liotta finally got his chance to star in a “Sopranos”-related project. He will next be seen in the series’ film prequel, “The Many Saints of Newark,” as the dad of Alessandro Nivola’s character Dickie Moltisanti.

“Many Saints” will feature original “Sopranos” legend James Gandolfini’s son Michael playing a young Tony in 1970s Newark, NJ. The film is out in theaters on Oct. 1 and streaming on HBO Max.

Liotta’s co-star Corey Stoll recently told Page Six that the “Field of Dreams” star had to audition for “Many Saints,” but Stoll did not have to send his audition tape to get his role of young Uncle Junior.

“I’m kind of embarrassed, even Ray Liotta had to,” Stoll, 45, said. “There are some advantages to being bald. I think that’s what it is.”

This article was originally posted here

If you can’t wait for the prequel, visit these real spots from ‘The Sopranos’

Looking to let out your inner mob boss without actually breaking the law? Then these spots are for you.

As anticipation builds for “The Sopranos” prequel film, “The Many Saints of Newark,” out in theaters and on HBO Max Oct. 1, it’s the perfect moment to revisit the original series. And if you’re sick of sitting at home on your couch — who isn’t? — then another way to get reacquainted with Tony Soprano and his crew is to do an informal tour of all of their favorite spots.

Creator David Chase made it easy. Keeping in line with his vision of authenticity for the show, many locations from the original “Sopranos” are still existing places in both New York and New Jersey.

Yes, with a tank of gas and a mission, you can gaze upon the actual house that stood in for Tony’s home, or eat at the infamous restaurant from the long-debated finale.

Ready to channel your favorite fictional mafia don? Bada bing, bada boom.

Re-create the intro

Many landmarks filmed for "The Sopranos" intro are still around today, such as the "muffler man" outside Wilson's Carpet.
Many landmarks filmed for the “Sopranos” intro are still around today, such as the “muffler man” outside Wilson’s Carpet.
Stephen Yang

Let’s be honest, we’ve all cranked Alabama 3’s “Woke Up This Morning” while cruising the New Jersey Turnpike at some point or another.

But we haven’t necessarily driven Tony’s actual route. To see all the landmarks he so cinematically passes, enter the Lincoln Tunnel heading to the southbound turnpike (use the ticket machine in lieu of an E-ZPass if you’re truly committed), and continue until you see the famous “Drive Safely” Citgo container in Linden before heading for Jersey City via the Pulaski Skyway.

Satriale's was and still is a fan favorite setting for "The Sopranos."
Satriale’s was — and still is — a fan favorite setting for “The Sopranos.”
Alamy Stock Photo

As an added bonus, you’ll be passing over the set of Barone Sanitation — one of many businesses that provided a front for the family — at 275 Broadway on your way to the towering, carpet-clutching “muffler man” statue outside of Wilson’s Carpet at 220 Broadway.

Then, in Kearny, NJ, you can drive the parking lot that once was the set piece for Tony’s butcher hangout Satriale’s, at 101 Kearny Ave., before heading north to Pizza Land at 260 Belleville Turnpike in North Arlington, NJ.

This little pizza place in North Jersey was made famous from James Gandolfini.
This little pizza place in North Jersey was made famous by James Gandolfini.
Stephen Yang

After that, it’s a straight shot to Tony’s home in the suburbs of North Caldwell, NJ.

Check out Tony’s house

Perhaps the most famous home in New Jersey, you can drive up to see The Soprano house in North Caldwell.
Perhaps the most famous home in New Jersey, you can drive up to see “The Sopranos” house in North Caldwell.
Stephen Yang

Yes, the Soprano family mansion is a real house in a real cul-de-sac, and you can drive right up to the North Caldwell property.

Located at the top of a rock-sided hill, the iconic home has been used for “Sopranos” cast parties along with meet-and-greets for fans in its luxurious backyard, replete with the in-ground pool that served as a centerpiece for so many memorable scenes.

Tony Soprano's home looks just as luxurious in person as it did on TV.
The home of Tony and Carmela Soprano, pictured with their kids Meadow and A.J., looks just as luxurious in person as it did on TV.
HBO

Although much of the interior was just a set for the show, the actual home’s layout mirrors what millions of viewers have seen throughout the years — it’s owned by Victor and Patti Recchia, who put the property on the market in 2019 for $3.4 million. (It does not seem to have sold.)

When actor James Gandolfini, who played the role of Tony Soprano, died in 2013, someone brought a bag of ziti to the home, according to the New York Times.

14 Aspen Drive, North Caldwell, NJ. This is a private residence and can only be observed from the street.

Shop at Centanni’s meat market

Fun fact: Before the safe haven for the Soprano crime family was Satriale’s, this real Elizabeth, NJ, meat market was used in the pilot episode.

Owner Michael Centanni still has fun with the room where Christopher Moltisanti wasted Emil Kolar.
Owner Michael Centanni still has fun with the room where Christopher Moltisanti wasted Emil Kolar.
Stephen Yang

Centanni’s made its mark as the spot where Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli, 55) clipped trash-hauling rival Emil Kolar (Bruce Smolanoff) over business negotiations gone wrong. Its exterior appeared as the backdrop to some colorful exchanges as well.

Since Centanni’s was — and still is —  an active and bustling business, “The Sopranos” series couldn’t film continuously there, thus the set of Satriale’s was built.

Sorry to disappoint, but Satriale's was only a temporary set for "The Sopranos.'
Sorry to disappoint, but Satriale’s was only a temporary set for “The Sopranos.”
Getty Images

Rest assured, Centanni’s carries “gabagool” and plenty of other Italian goods you can savor once you’re back home.

815 2nd Ave, Elizabeth, NJ; 908-352-3108. No website

Take in the sights at the Bada Bing!

It’s hard to miss the “Home of the Original Bada Bing!” sign that stands proudly in front of Satin Dolls off I-80 in Lodi, NJ.

Yes, you can get a dance at the original Bada Bing!
Yes, you can get a dance at the original Bada Bing!
Stephen Yang

The crown jewel of Silvio Dante (Steven Van Zandt, 70), that appeared consistently throughout the series, lives on to this day as an active strip joint where “Sopranos” fans can, er, reminisce on the show’s former set.

Along with the countless shots of topless women, scenes filmed at the Bada Bing! often showed employee Georgie Santorelli (Frank Santorelli) getting beaten up in some form or another throughout the six seasons.

In Season 5’s “Irregular Around the Margins,” Christopher Moltisanti drunkenly stormed into the Bing and threatened to shoot Tony after hearing a rumor Soprano fooled around with his fiancée Adriana La Cerva (Drea de Matteo, 49).

Silvio Dante was also shot into a coma in the jiggle joint’s parking lot in the series’ infamous second to last episode, “Blue Comet.”

230 NJ-17, Lodi, NJ; 201-845-6494, www.SatinDollsNJ.com

Grab a drink at the New York crew’s hangout

Also used as a set for “The Godfather: Part III” and “Donnie Brasco,” lower Manhattan’s Mulberry Street Bar served as the Averna Social Club in “The Sopranos” — better known as the New York crew’s home base.

Mulberry Street Bar has been featured in many mob films as well as "The Sopranos."
Mulberry Street Bar has been featured in many mob films as well as “The Sopranos.”
Stephen Yang

Featured throughout the series, this is the watering hole where Tony would have backroom sit-downs with high-ranking member Johnny Sack (Vincent Curatola, 68) and boss Carmine Lupertazzi (Tony Lip) to hash out business at hand.

It’s also the location where Phil Leotardo (Frank Vincent) decided to “decapitate” the Soprano crime family — by going after Tony himself — in “Blue Comet.”

Mulberry Street Bar has since been renovated, but still proudly lays claim to its cinematic history with a list of films and shows that have been shot there displayed on the wall. Nowadays, it features a pleasant curbside dining setup as well.

176 Mulberry St.; 212-226-9345. No website

Hike through the Pine Barrens

Unlike Christopher and Paulie, bring more than ketchup and relish packets to snack on as you walk through the Pine Barrens.
Unlike Christopher Moltisanti and Paulie Gualtieri, bring more than ketchup and relish packets to snack on as you walk through the Pine Barrens.
HBO, Stephen Yang

Arguably the most hilarious episode of “The Sopranos” is called “Pine Barrens,” after a real nature preserve in South Jersey. It was where Christopher Moltisanti and Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri (Tony Sirico, 79) got helplessly lost in the dead of winter after an interior decorator who killed 16 Czechoslovakians ran off.

Although the Season 3 standout was actually filmed at Harriman State Park in New York’s Rockland and Orange Counties, the real Pine Barrens preserve in the wilderness around Hammonton, NJ, is a favorite of locals and offers a fun, outdoorsy escape into the woods with safely marked trails.

609-561-0024, VisitNJ.org/City/Pine-Barrens

Get yourself a treat at Applegate Farm

Fans will remember this roadside joint from the Season 6 episode “Chasing It,” where Phil Leotardo took Vito Jr. — son of Vito Spatafore (Joseph Gannascoli, 62) — out for ice cream. There, he chewed out his former associate’s son for acting out after his father’s murder (ordered by none other than Leotardo himself.)

Not far from Holsten's Applegate Farm is known for its crafty and scrumptious ice cream.
Not far from Holsten’s, Applegate Farm is known for its crafty and scrumptious ice cream.
Stephen Yang

Although young Vito’s “silo” ice cream concoction — a massive cup of different flavors, topped with whipped cream and syrup — was a limited-time promotion, Montclair’s Applegate Farms has a well-earned reputation for offering some of North Jersey’s best ice cream and shakes, such as a frozen campfire s’mores blend. 

Ice cream cakes, pies, apple cider donuts, chocolates and banana splits are also offered at Applegate — without the company of an angry old mafia captain.  

616 Grove St., Montclair, NJ; 973-744-5900. ApplegateFarm.com

Stroll below the Brooklyn Bridge

Whenever Tony would meet Johnny Sack by the Brooklyn Bridge, serious business would go down.
Whenever Tony (right) would meet Johnny Sack by the Brooklyn Bridge, serious business would go down.

Whenever Tony needed a covert meeting with New York’s Johnny Sack, they would trek out to the desolate area around the Brooklyn Bridge, such as in Season 4’s “The Strong, Silent Type,” when Sack confronts Soprano over the Jersey crew keeping New York out of its housing-appraisal scam.

Of course, at the time of filming, in the early 2000s, the undeveloped beachfront near DUMBO was much less conspicuous than the row of restaurants, carousel and ferry station that now make up the area surrounding Empire-Fulton Ferry park today.

Nowadays, it's a little difficult to have covert mob meeting by the Brooklyn Bridge as the area is now a tourist hotspot.
Nowadays, it’s a little difficult to have a covert mob meeting by the Brooklyn Bridge as the area is now a tourist hot spot.
Stephen Yang

It might be swarmed with tourists taking selfies nowadays, but the Brooklyn Bridge waterfront still has its spot in “Sopranos” history.

1 Water St., Brooklyn; BrooklynBridgePark.org

Enjoy the ocean breeze at the Asbury Park boardwalk

Not far from fellow boss Bruce Springsteen’s hometown of Long Branch, this Jersey Shore boardwalk appeared in Tony’s dreams and flashbacks whenever something was going seriously awry.

Some of Tony's most important flashbacks happened at this Jersey shore boardwalk.
Some of Tony’s most important flashbacks happened at this Jersey Shore boardwalk.
Stephen Yang

It most notably showed up in Season 2’s finale, “Funhouse,” when Soprano comes to the realization that his dear friend Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero (Vincent Pastore, 75) was wearing a wire and working with the feds, thus leading to the big guy’s demise at sea not long after.

The Asbury Park boardwalk reappeared in Season 3’s “To Save Us All From Satan’s Power,” when Tony reminisces about Bonpensiero as the crew realizes they need a replacement to play Santa Claus at Satriale’s at Christmastime. The job was delegated to gentle giant Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri (Steve Schirripa, 64).

Outside of “The Sopranos,” the Asbury Park boardwalk is known for its beachside attractions such as the Stone Pony rock club and the the Wonder Bar.

1300 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park, NJ; APBoardwalk.com

Hole up at Holsten’s

This North Jersey confectionery only appeared for four-and-a-half minutes in “The Sopranos” — but it was the most important 270 seconds of the entire show.

Holsten's more than prides itself for being a pivotal piece of "The Sopranos."
Holsten’s prides itself for being a pivotal piece of “The Sopranos.”
Stephen Yang

The famous setting for the series finale (and now prequel film) gave David Chase’s audience its final glimpse of Tony Soprano before an abrupt, 11 second cut to black that rocked the television world.

Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,’” a song chosen by Chase due to his crew’s distaste for it, echoes throughout the restaurant as Tony, son AJ and wife Carmela feast on a last supper of onion rings, just as Meadow struggles to parallel park outside, and while a mysterious man in the “Members Only” jacket leaves the counter to enter the bathroom. 

The ending of "Made In America" still sparks controversy to this day.
The blackout ending of “Made in America” still sparks controversy to this day.
HBO

Today, the Soprano family table (third row on the middle left) remains intact, for hungry diners to marvel at and take pictures with their onion rings, burgers and ice cream sundaes that the restaurant is also known for.

You can sit in the Tony Soprano booth in Holsten's and order onion rings for the table -- the best in the state according to Soprano.
You can sit in the Tony Soprano booth in Holsten’s and order onion rings for the table — the best in the state, according to Soprano.
Stephen Yang

Holsten’s walls are also filled with behind-the-scenes photographs from when the show was filmed, and they sell plenty of “Sopranos” merchandise to take home.

If you struggle with parallel parking like Meadow, rest assured that there’s a parking lot adjacent to Holsten’s.

1063 Broad St., Bloomfield, NJ; 973-338-7091, Holstens.com

This article was originally posted here

To Die Another Day: Victim’s Father & Mob Friends Wouldn’t Have Let Robert Durst Make It To Trial

September 22, 2021 – Famous Big Apple real estate fortune heir and high-society eccentric Robert Durst will die in prison.

If certain people were still alive, he would have almost undoubtedly died a violent death in the streets, made an example out of for all to see.

Last week, Durst, 78, was found guilty in California of killing Susan Berman more than 20 years ago. Berman’s dad, David (Davey the Jew) Berman, helped pioneer the mob’s building of modern-day Las Vegas and ran a Minnesota-based Jewish mafia empire before dying relatively young of a heart attack in 1957 at age 54.

Berman was murdered in Los Angeles in December 2000 by her best friend, Durst, who feared she was on the verge of cooperating with authorities in the investigation into the disappearance of his wife, Kathleen. The 55-year old Berman was found shot in the back of the head on December 24, 2000, inside her home in Benedict Canyon.

Kathleen McCormack Durst went missing in 1982 and was never seen again. Authorities believed Berman aided Robert Durst is disposing of his wife’s body.

The heavily-covered trial charging Durst with the Berman homicide was originally slated to begin in March 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Proceedings resumed in June.

Durst is also suspected of a slaying in Texas. Morris Black, a neighbor at one of the Durst family properties, has his dismembered corpse, found floating in Galveston Bay in 2001.

The story of Robert Durst inspired the 2010 film All Good Things, starring Oscar-nominee Ryan Gosling. Durst himself participated in the chilling 2015 HBO docuseries The Jinx, which chronicled his strange connections to all three cases and included an apparent hot-mic confession, where he uttered “I killed them all” after thinking he had completed his interview and was out of hearing distance of the crew.

Many that knew Davey Berman believe if he was alive when his daughter was slain, the killer either would have never dared pull the trigger in the first place or would certainly never live long enough to see a jury.

“This screwball would never even thought of lifting a finger to hurt Susan if her dad and his friends were still alive back then,” said one Vegas old timer who knew Davey Berman when he was in his 20s. “Her dad would have chain sawed this guy to death before the cops got to him believe me. I don’t care how much money he had. He could never have bought his way out of a slow, painful death. But this is a different age. A whole new era.  Street justice gives way to court justice. And who am I to judge. But for better or worse, street justice is much swifter. They wouldn’t have hunted him down and made an example out of him.”

Davey Berman was raised in Ashley, North Dakota by Ukrainian immigrants and then moved to Sioux City, Iowa as a teenager. By the 1920s and the height of the gangland Prohibition boom, he was living in Minneapolis and working as second-in-command to the Twin Cities Jewish mob boss, Isadore (Kid Cann) Blumenfeld. New York Jewish mob titan Meyer Lansky put Berman and Kidd Cann together, helping forge bonds that stretched from the farmlands of the heartland to the heart of the Big Apple and what would soon become the Five Families of the American mafia.

At first, Berman and his bodyguard and enforcer Israel (Ice Pick Willie) Alderman ran their own independent rackets separate from the Kid Cann Gang. But at Lansky’s behest, they joined forces, brought in the city’s biggest Irish crime lord in Tommy Banks and became a superpower-rackets combine backed by both the ruling Italian mob factions in Chicago and New York.

Besides building an early adulthood friendship and business relationship with Lansky, Berman and his brother and right-hand man, Charles (Chickie) Berman, cultivated ties to the Chicago “Outfit” during their days in Iowa, too. The press dubbed Kid Cann the “Al Capone” of Minnesota and the heat that reputation generated began bearing down upon the Bermans and their business operations, despite Davey’s close ties to Mayor Marvin Kline.

Following a stint in the Canadian army, where he saw combat in Europe during World War II, Davey Berman headed west to Las Vegas to aid Lansky and Lansky’s partner Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegel in implementing their vision of constructing a resort-style gambling and entertainment mecca in the desert. Flanked by his brother and their top muscle, Ice Pick Willie Alderman, he landed in Las Vegas in 1944. One year later, at the conclusion of the war, he moved his wife and daughter, Susan, to Nevada to join him.

Berman headed an ownership group, including Lansky, that had controlling interests in the El Cortez, the El Dorado, and the Las Vegas Club. Upon Bugsy Siegel being murdered in Beverly Hills in 1947 for mismanagement of Flamingo hotel and casino finances, Berman was put in charge of the glitzy establishment, along with Lansky’s “boots on the ground” Moe Sedway from New York and Gus Greenbaum representing the interests of the Chicago mob. Kid Cann, according to FBI records, also received portions of “skim” money from the business arrangement in Vegas.

“Davey Berman was one of the very early major players in Las Vegas, he was essentially one of the founding fathers of The Strip,” said Geoff Schumacher, a Las Vegas mafia historian and executive director of the city’s Mob Museum. “That was a cutthroat world he existed in and found success and respect in. Those guys didn’t play games and didn’t trust just anyone. Everyone in Vegas held Davey Berman in very high esteem.”

In the 1950s, Berman sold his shares in the Flamingo and purchased interest in the Riviera. He died on the operating table during heart surgery. Lansky lasted until 1983, dying peacefully in Miami. Kidd Cann, who passed away in 1980, had moved from Minneapolis to Miami later in life to work for Lansky’s gambling interests in South Florida.

This article was originally posted here

The Prodigal Son Returns: Skinny Joey Back In South Philly For First Time In Half Decade, Mob Gossip Mill Ablaze

September 16, 2021 – Philadelphia mafia don Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino has been making the rounds in the old neighbourhood lately, returning to the City of Brotherly Love for the first time in five years. First on his agenda was reuniting with his mom, Rita, who he had not seen in person since 2018.

The handsome, swashbuckling 59-year old gangland figure relocated to Boca Raton, Florida in 2011 upon his release from prison on a racketeering conviction. The FBI believes he runs the Bruno-Scarfo crime family from afar using a series of proxies and front bosses. Merlino took control of the crime family in the 1990s when he was just in his thirties by winning a shooting war for power.

Per sources and media reports, the Skinny One was present for a glad-handing session with the rank-and-file at the local mob clubhouse in South Philly at Ninth & Christian in the first few days of his return and made his way to at least one meeting with his attorney, the venerable Eddie Jacobs. Paparazzi and federal surveillance units were snapping photos simultaneously as Merlino took in the Philadelphia Phillies-Colorado Rockies MLB game last Thursday and Friday nights from box seats at Citizens Bank Park. Merlino’s daughter dates a member of the Colorado Rockies.

Following his Friday night at the ballgame, Merlino and his entourage went clubbing and hit up Rouge in Rittenhouse Square. Over the weekend, he dined at some of his old-school favorite haunts like Chickie’s & Pete’s and The Saloon. He watched the Philadelphia Eagles’ NFL opener Sunday afternoon at Chickie’s & Pete’s.

Merlino got off his parole restrictions (from a 2016 gambling pinch) back in July and is allowed to meet with anybody he wants. According to sources, he has met with several of his high-ranking mob lieutenants so far during his stay. This weekend, he will head to the wedding of a close associate’s daughter.

Fox29 and Mob Talk Sitdown News Dave Schratwieser was the first to report on the particulars of Merlino’s return to South Philly.

This article was originally posted here

‘Majority’ of Colombo administration arrested on racketeering, extortion charges

‘Majority’ of Colombo administration arrested on racketeering, extortion charges

A substantial number of Colombo administration members were arrested Tuesday on racketeering and extortion charges, including alleged boss Andrew “Mush” Russo, 87, and alleged underboss Benjamin “Benji” Castellazzo, 83.

The bust was carried out in a join operation between the NYPD and FBI to unravel a labor racketeering and extortion fraud system.

In Brooklyn federal court, 14 defendants were charged on a 19 count indictment. Of these 14, 10 alleged members of the Colombo crime family were reportedly attempting to penetrate the long-standing construction labor union and its healthcare program in Queens.  The defendants are also facing extortion accusations having to do with workplace safety certifications.

Russo, Castellazzo, consigliere Ralph DiMatteo, capos Theodore Perisco Jr., Vincent Ricciardo, Richard Ferrara, soldier Michael Uvino, and associates Domenick Ricciardo and Thomas Costa are all charged with racketeering.

The unsealed indictment shows high-up Colombo members threatening construction labor union officials with violence.  One member reportedly collected a union manager’s salary using threats of “bodily harm.”

One of the defendants, Ricciardo, was caught on a wiretap saying life-threatening statements.

“I’ll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids, right in front of his f—–g house, you laugh all you want pal, I’m not afraid to go to jail, let me tell you something, to prove a point? I would f—–g shoot him right in front of his wife and kids, call the police, f–k it, let me go, how long you think I’m gonna last anyway?” Ricciardo says on the recording of a phone conversation.

Andrew “Mush” Russo, alleged boss of the Colombo crime family (NY Daily News).

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Jacquelyn Kasulis stated, “oday’s charges describe a long-standing, ruthless pattern by the administration of the Colombo crime family, its captains, members and associates, of conspiring to exert control over the management of a labor union by threatening to inflict bodily harm on one of its senior officials and devising a scheme to divert and launder vendor contract funds from its healthcare benefit program… In addition, for their own enrichment, the defendants conspired to engage in extortionate loansharking, money laundering and fraud, as well as drug trafficking.”

Castellazzo’s attorney, Jenifer R. Louis-Jeune, made a statement supporting her client’s innocence; while Attorney Seth Ginsburg is confident that Ferrara “will be vindicated.”

“Everything we allege in this investigation proves history does indeed repeat itself. The underbelly of the crime families in New York City is alive and well,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Michael Driscoll in another statement Tuesday, “These soldiers, consiglieres, underbosses, and bosses are obviously not students of history and don’t seem to comprehend that we’re going to catch them.”

This article was originally posted “here

Philly Wiseguys Will Be Broken Up Into Multiple Trial Pods In ’19 Racketeering & Drug Case Targeting Upper Echelons Of Bruno-Scarfo Crime Family

September 15, 2021 – U.S. District Court Judge Barclay Surrick is seeking to divide up last November’s racketeering bust of high-ranking Philadelphia mobsters Steven (Handsome Stevie) Mazzone and Domenic (Baby Dom) Grande and 12 others into three separate jury trials.

Surrick made his intentions clear at a status hearing on the case this week. Joe Meringolo, Mazzone’s attorney, countered Surrick’s proclamation with an offer of two different trials, one for those charged with participating in a racketeering conspiracy and the other for those not named in the conspiracy counts

Mazzone, 59, is the Philly mafia’s reputed underboss and was caught on an FBI wire at a 2015 mob induction ceremony giving a welcome speech and pep talk to a group of five new “made members,” one of which was alleged to be his younger brother, “Sonny” (also facing charges in this case).

The affable, well-liked 42-year old “Baby Dom” Grande is a skipper in the Bruno-Scarfo crime family, allegedly being groomed to one day take the reins of the family and lead it into the future, according to a number of sources. At least one member of Grande’s crew was wiring up for the feds and recording conversations talking about mob business, structure and protocol.

Both Mazzone and Grande are out on bond awaiting trial under home confinement conditions. Grande is a nephew of Mazzone’s by way of marriage.

Besides the racketeering counts, Grande has several drug offenses hanging over his head. The only counts Mazzone has to deal with are racketeering related.

Unlike Mazzone, Grande has never done hard time behind bars. Mazzone did almost a decade as a guest of the federal government courtesy of a 2001 racketeering conviction. None of the trials are expected to get started until the spring 2022, despite Meringolo telling Judge Surrick, that him and Mazzone were ready to go to trial immediately.

Fox Philly29’s and local mobologist Dave Schratwieser was the first to break the news of Judge Surrick’s intentions on his Mob Sitdown News website and social media accounts.

This article was originally posted here

British tourist mistaken for elusive mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro

British tourist mistaken for elusive mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro

An unsuspecting British tourist who was mistaken for highly elusive Cosa Nostra boss, Matteo Messina Denaro, 59, was arrested at a restaurant in the Hague last Wednesday.  He was said to be having lunch with his son and a friend when numerous police special force vehicles suddenly swarmed the location.

“Suddenly there were seven cars in front of the business. Officers with guns drawn…,” said the owner of the restaurant, according to the Times.

He was then taken to a maximum-security prison facility and held for four days.

The tourist has only been referred to by his lawyer as “Mark”.

“Mark” is believed to be a 54-year-old man from Liverpool living in Spain, who was visiting the Netherlands for the grand prix in Zandvoort. It was then confirmed that he had no ties with Cosa Nostra or any of the clans.

Matteo Messina Denaro is one of the most wanted criminals on Earth, and has been eluding world governments and police forces since he went on the lamb in 1993.

Matteo Messina Denaro (Far Right) – Bustle

Denaro was sentenced to life in prison twenty years ago after a bombing that killed ten people.  Since then, he has been sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia during numerous trials.

Officials have been using a computer-generated image of Denaro to estimate what he might look like presently.  It has been assumed that Denaro has undergone significant cosmetic alterations since he went on the run.

The generated image had been circulated and publicized by Italian, Dutch, and other countries’ media.

This article was originally posted “here

“Game Tax Gangster” Big Frank Whitcher Cashes In Chips In Motown, Passes Away Young At 52

September 13, 2021 – Former Detroit mob associate Frank (Big Frank) Whitcher died of natural causes over the weekend. He was 52 and long removed from his days as muscle on the street, having battled cancer and a variety of other health ailments in the recent past. In the 1990s, Whitcher was a collector for the Tocco-Zerilli crime famiy.

Whitcher was busted in the historic Operation Game Tax case back in 1996, which ensnared virtually the entire administration of the Detroit mafia and several lower-tier members like Whitcher, who was listed as co-defendant No. 16 in a 16-person federal racketeering indictment. Then-Detroit mob boss Giacomo (Black Jack) Tocco and his underboss and first cousin, Anthony (Tony Z) Zerilli were the top two defendants in the landmark legal assault.

Whitcher pleaded guilty in the case and did a short prison sentence. Tocco and Zerilli were convicted at separate jury trials, both doing prison terms and then dying of old age respectively in 2014 and 2015.

According to the indictment, Whitcher was part of the crime family’s Zerilli faction and once was ordered to physically assault a Detroit construction company owner refusing to pay a mob street tax. When the Zerilli branch of the organization was discontinued in the early 2000s, Whitcher left his life in the mob behind.

This article was originally posted here

Springfield (MA) Mafia Strongarm Receives Half-Year In Prison For Roughing Up Loanshark Victim In Front Of Social Club

September 10, 2021 — Western Massachusetts mob enforcer Anthony (Fat Anthony) Scibelli was sentenced to six months in federal prison last week for assaulting a debtor. The assault occurred in Springfield, home to a longtime satellite wing of New York’s Genovese crime family. Scibelli got off relatively light, as prosecutors were seeking at least 18 months for his punishment

Scibelli, 54, pleaded guilty to extortion earlier this year in front of U.S. District Court Judge Mark Mastroianni, admitting to collecting a juice loan debt for the local mafia crew in Springfield in the parking lot of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Society Social Club, in the city’s South End two years ago. Mastroainni took it easy on Scibelli at last week’s sentencing hearing, doling out a prison term three times more lenient than the U.S. Attorneys Office sought as the minimum term.

The social club has been Ground Zero for area mob affairs for decades. Scibelli’s beating of a man who he had been friends with in the past, was recorded on an FBI body wire the debtor was wearing that afternoon in June 2019.

The Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Society Social Club has acted as Ground Zero for the mob in Western Massachusetts for decades. These days, the club is run by reputed the skipper of the Springfield mob crew, Albert (The Animal) Calvanese, a convicted loanshark and a veteran staple of the Western Massachusetts underworld.

The debtor (someone Scibelli was attempting to collect a $40,000 loan sharking tab from) is described in federal court records as a “fixture at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Club.” Scibelli was recorded discussing “Albert” and the fact that the debtor should avoid angering him. The original street loan issued to the debtor was just $5,000.

“I want my money motherfucker….. you’re a real cocksucker,” said Scibelli as he pounded the debtor, throwing him a beating outside the club after a card game. “I want my money by the first of the month.”

Calvanese, 58, wasn’t charged in connection with Scibelli’s case. Authorities believe Calvanese took command of the Springfield mob crew in the 2010s after violent infighting, natural attrition and a series of government defections decimated the once well-oiled-machine of a rackets combine.

Scibelli is a distant relative of the notorious Scibelli brothers, former crew bosses, Frank (Frankie Skyball) Scibelli and Albert (Baba) Scibelli, who died in 2000 and 2012 respectively. Calvanese came up in the mob as a collector for the Scibelli brothers, per sources.

This article was originally posted here