The Mob

A no-nonsense message.

My wife’s grandmother lived most of her life in Las Vegas, dying there well into her 90s. Remembering the old days, she would proudly relate how “In the old days a girl could walk down the Strip at 3 am and no one would hassle her. The Mob sure knew how to run that town.”

I was reminded of this the other day reading of the profligate lifestyles of our public servants who expect nothing less than a life of suites at the Ritz and Gulfstream jets to make ‘cultural exchange’ visits to Italy and other such major trading partners of our nation. The New Mob.

The Old Mob seems to have handled it differently. While you no more wanted to cross these fellows than the latter day crooks in Washington, they lived in modest outposts of New York City like Staten Island and the Bronx with their mistresses quietly hidden out of sight for an occasional dinner and romp in the city. Whereas our elected representatives seek to be seen swanning around in G5s and dining out at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, your local Mobster made do with a Caddy (in addition to the prestigious nameplate he needed the large trunk) and the local pasta joint.

One favorite hangout in my days in New York, which remains in business to this day, was Patsy’s. Patsy’s was some 50 yards down West 56th Street from my ‘luxury high rise’, in reality a 450 sf alcove studio apartment in Hell’s Kitchen. The cliché scene so oft portrayed in films and on TV of the mobster, his hair just so, the wife, the dyed blonde girlfriend and the priest breaking bread, was one to be seen regularly at Patsy’s tables, where real southern Italian cooking was served in a no-nonsense manner. No one, but no one, dared hassle the stretch limo double-parked outside. You know, the one with the burly chauffeur with the bulge in his jacket and swarthy looks to match. I still like to make a point of a meal there when back East. It helps the digestion to know that your are in a safe and familiar spot.

I imagine, judging by the ‘take it or leave it’ signs on their wall, Sodini’s in North Beach, SF, must be a brother under the skin. There’s no denying the simplicity or directness of their message and I, for one, think the world of that sort of thing.


G1, 14mm, f/5, 1/320, ISO 100