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Italian Eros

love on the boweryIn 1917, gangster Frankie Yale opened a large bar in Coney Island that he named the Harvard Inn. A dive, it occupied a one-story building on Bowery, a short, seedy alley running between Surf Avenue and what would later become the Boardwalk. It had a 20 x 40 foot dance floor and a 20-foot bar. He hired 18-year-old Al Capone as a bartender and bouncer.

One summer night that year, Frank “Galluch” Galluccio, a neighborhood hood, came into the Inn with his date, Maria Tanzio and his sister Lena. Capone took a liking to Lena, and everytime his rounds took him past her table, he tried to talk to her. She snubbed him. When Galluccio saw that Capone was beginning to annoy her, hfleeced!e asked her if she knew him. She told him that she had never seen him before and asked him to tell Capone to leave her alone. Before he could say a word, Capone came by again, leaned over Lena and whispered loudly, “You got a nice ass, honey, and I mean it as a compliment. Believe me.”

Beadel Debevoise, Fiction Editor, notes: The preceding is, of course, true, I just can’t reveal (or remember) my source right this moment. Upon counsel from Admin & attorney, I will divert my ardors from the all-consuming world of both South and Southern Brooklyn real estate & let ya’ll know ASAP. (Shout out to the Anthony Anastasio Memorial Library at Brooklyn College: what’s good?)

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