I made an unscheduled stop the other night at Bamonte's, the red sauce joint with the thick Mafia air, situated on a deserted block of Williamsburg near the BQE. It was about 10 PM and a balmy evening and I thought I might brave the chilly front that would no doubt be put up by the Goomba crowd and get a drink.
I expected to feel a little intimidated walking in, and, although they were friendly enough and mixed my Manhattan up quickly, I could tell they would rather have been left alone to their "deese, dems and dose" closing-up confab. So I asked no questions, made no comments, pretended to watch the Rutgers game on the tube and sipped my cocktail with as much non-chalant toughness as I could muster.
The place was empty of diners. The last seating seems to have been 9 PM. The requisite pictures of actors from Coppola and Scorcese films, and "The Sopranos," were on the walls, as well as plenty of baseball memorabilia. Two working, wooden phone booths stood open. The were buzzers near tables to summon waiters, a detail I have never seen at any other restaurant. The kitchen was visible through a sleek glass wall—an incongruously modern touch. (Notwithstanding, the glass wall dates from the 1950s.) Mexican busboys trundled off into the night. Left were the portly, graying bartender, a youngish, blonde waitress of hardbitten looks adding up her tabs, and a yackety-yak goodfella talking a blue streak at the end of the bar. A megaphone he didn't need.
Topics ranged from the game to a local mugging of a young women everyone knew. Three men had jumped out a car and taken the girl's purse as she went on a late night errand to buy milk, of all things. "She was on Haveymeyer down by the highway." "Well, no wonder. What's she doin' goin' down there at night." "That's where she lives!" "Oh, down THERE! It's DESOLATE down there!"
Mr. Know-it-all knew someone down at the local precinct who said the muggers would certainly be caught. "Because, even when they got masks on, they'll get a hundred calls. Because people recognize the gait, the way they hunch their shoulders, the way they walk. Yeah, they'll get caught."
Mr. KIA said this incident argued in favor of his belief that young women should be allowed to carry side arms. But the waitress tood exception.
"Can you imagine my sister with a side arm? She's be shooting everybody."