09 February 2008

Mob Hangout-Like Marco Polo Really Mob Hangout



The recent roundup of Gambino mobsters turned up a weird, though not completely surprising, tidbit of local Carroll Gardens news. Among the figures indicted was none other than Joseph Chirico, president of the Brooklyn branch of the New York Restaurant Association, and the owner of the Marco Polo Ristorante on Court Street. Chirico's mob name was actually "Joe Marco Polo." Even weirder, this means that the grand old eatery Gage & Tollner was once owned by a Goodfella!—Chirico possessed the property for the few years before the place went under.

Lord knows, Marco Polo has always seemed like that kind of place. It's rarely crowded and yet keeps going and going and going. It has that kind of grand-cum-tacky decor the the mob seems to love. And the folks inside are usually hardcore local types.

According to Time Out, "The NYSRA claimed to be unaware of the indictment, and declined to comment. Calls to the restaurant placed Chirico `on vacation in Aruba.'"

12 comments:

JohnA said...

"And the folks inside are usually hardcore local types."


...Can you please explain to me what you mean by this comment?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

What I meant was the patrons of Marco Polo are people who have lived in Carroll Gardens all their lives, long before the recent onslaught of yuppies and young families. What did you think I meant?

JohnA said...

It sounds as though you are equating the hardcore local types to the mob.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

No. That's not what I meant. But, if you ever spend some time talking to the longtime residents of Carroll Gardens, there's no question that they once regarded the Mob as an element of their daily life.

JohnA said...

I have a long family history in that neighborhood... and thats not true.

JohnA said...

I am certainly not denying the presence of the mafia and thats not to which my initial affectations were respondant. Alot of the people that lived there read the paper, heard by word of mouth, or yes even saw the results of such terrible activities. However, this does not mean that they recognized this as "elements of their daily life", rather perversions of the nature of human activity. There were and are still plenty of social clubs that have to do with the actual preserverence of culture and were not hindered in any way by mafia activity.

It just seemed, in your second paragraph that these "hardcore local types" followed two sentences about the "aesthetics" of mob culture and how this denoted actual activity. I find this troubling. I hope that when a large group of my family makes an appearance at a restaurant that people don't get the wrong idea.

Anonymous said...

allow me to agree with both of you. I think MOST of my neighbors here in Carroll Gardens are NOT mobsters or the type that would be "hardcore" anything. BUT I also think there are plenty of old timers around that remember the good old days of mafioso running things and are still trying to live out/look up to that lifestyle. Unfortunately the loud, aggressive types get more attention than those who are just going about life in a normal way. I sort of love that the mob still exists. Its like living in a movie. If only they didn't kill people.

Peter said...

And the last customer who complained about the food is now sleeping with the fishes.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Johna: I wasn't raised in the area, but I've lived here for 14 years. I've talked to many oldtimers and know several longtime landlords and shopkeepers and they've told me stories of waking up to bodies on the streets and the dominance of social clubs. Joey Gallo lived here. Albert Anastasia was born here. Al Capone was married on Court Street! The area was Mobbed up however you want to look at it. Don't mean to refute your claims, Johna, but it's hard to imagine somehow living here in decades past and not being at least marginally aware of the Mob influence. That all said, I'm sure some very nice people dine at Marco Polo. My mother-in-law ate there once, in fact, and liked it very much.

JohnA said...

I never said that people werent aware of mob activity.

I'd be more than happy to take you on a door to door tour of people, maybe a social club or two, and introduce to you a slew of people who wouldn't consider (and would probably take much offense) the mafia as "an element of their daily life".

Brooks of Sheffield said...

First, Johna, let me say that I appreciate the well-considered and thoughtful back and forth you've given me here in the comment area. Thank you for the offer. I'll have to think about that. While I've long had a curiosity about the social clubs I see and sometime wish I could go in and play a round of poker or pool, that actual prospect makes me a little wary. I walked into a local club by accident years back (I thought it was an espresso bar) and I still get shivers thinking about the sudden and startled reaction I got from the members.

JohnA said...

I understand your apprehension.


I will post here the next time the Van Westerhout Cultural Activities commitee meets.