Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Real Life Sopranos...

Marco Polo

See this ristorante? Yeah, a lotta people got off'd because of conversations that began right here. In talking to a local shop owner we were told about the history of this neighborhood, and as one might imagine in Brooklyn, it was Italian, and it was mafia. The local funeral parlors were available for meetings...restaurants were often filled with men only, and closed to the general public despite the open sign in the front clubs littered the borough. There's even a locked Bocce court on the edge of Carroll Park. When it's busy it's full of old timers and long time Al Capone was married just a few short blocks from our apartment, at St. Mary's on Court Street. The name Gambino is a familiar one amongst side street lifers here. This is real life Sopranos stuff.

The word is that there's a reason why this neighborhood is so quiet and safe. A long time ago this was all just South Brooklyn, or even considered the northern edge of Red Hook, and it wasn't the kind of neighborhood that taxi cabs drove into, but it was the kind of neighborhood where a young Italian boy couldn't spit on the sidewalk without his father finding out before he got home. More recently, it's been gentirified, and the young families have moved in, but that hasn't stopped every head in Marco Polo's from turning when you walk in the joint. That hasn't made any of the old men standing out front of Guido's Funeral Home in the half light of evening look any less intimidating.

I'm glad I left the gun at home and packed the cannoli instead.


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