Bada Bing!

Friday, January 30, 2009

I grew up in Cleveland and I love the ethnic diversity. It's no secret that the city has an extensive organized crime history dating back to the early 1920's. My earliest recollection of this group called "The Mob" was in the late 70's during the mob wars when a relative of one of my sister's friends was blown to smithereens in the parking lot of a medical building in a quiet suburb after he came out of the dentist's office. Now if you're feeling sorry for him, don't.

He started out as a longshoreman on the Cleveland docks and rose to be a big player in the Cleveland mafia. He was personally responsible for a number of murders and his weapon of choice was a car bomb. He was once quoted as saying, "You live by the bomb, you die by the bomb". And that he did. At one point, there were so many bombs detonated in the city, that it was dubbed, Bomb City USA by media all across the country.

The bosses and their men all had colorful nicknames like "Peanuts", "Big Ange", "Lips" and "Butchie". I do remember going to school with a kid nicknamed Happy who drove a brand new Cadillac at 16 but I didn't ask questions.

I'm sure organized crime still exists to some degree today but it's not something I really think about much. My morning commute includes a stretch of road that leads you down a tall hill to a neighborhood known as "Little Italy".
The streets are lined with bakeries, restaurants, smoke shops, art galleries and a private Italian club. Hmmmm...I wonder who frequents the private Italian club? The sign on one of the bakeries reads, "Leave the gun, take the cannoli."

The drive is so routine that I can do it with my eyes closed and I don't really pay much attention to anything on the way in. A few days ago, though, slow traffic invited my gaze to wander to the traffic sign at the top of the hill. Someone had spray painted it to read "Traffic laws mob enforced."

Maybe it's just a reminder for when we forget. Capiche?


  1. Hi Chrissy!

    Just wanted to stop by and say Hi and to also thank you for adding me to your blog list.

    That's so nice of you!

    Hey...this post reminds me of all the "mob history" that goes on here (Philly) within the South Philly area. OMG...there are some abandoned resturants that still have the BULLET HOLES in the windows!!

    Whenever I'm there, it always feels like I'm in the movie The Godfather!

    "Leave the gun, take the cannoli."

    I LOVE that!!!

    I'll be back to visit.

    Have a nice weekend!

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Ron! I'm sure those bullet holes in the windows give that area its "charm." :-)


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