When we lived in Providence, my family bought our first house on the East Side, in a relatively quiet, older neighborhood with trees and nice, modest homes. What my parents might not have realized when they bought the house was that diagonally across the street from us, in a small brick house with a black wrought iron fence, lived Raymond Patriarca, the Don of the New England Mafia. He was getting on in years at the time but he lived there for at least a little while before retiring, moving in with his second wife elsewhere in the city, handing the family business off to his son, and finally passing away from a heart attack in 1984.
I don't remember if I ever saw them but I remember my folks and people in the neighborhood talking about the large men in suits who always stood outside his front door and had candy for the kids who rode by on their bikes or played ball in the street. Plus, it was like the one crime-free neighborhood in Providence during the late 70s and early 80s, which were not exactly Providence's Golden Years by any stretch. My mother, who knew the realtor, was able to go into the house when it went on the market and she described the large, heavy front door and the apparently bulletproof windows. Plus, the house was built of brick so no drive-by gunfire was going to touch the old man.
I thought about this tonight for the first time in a long while when I read this article about the apparent fate of John Favara, a 51-year old furniture warehouse worker in Queens who had the misfortune to a) live near the late John Gotti, the "Teflon Don" and head of the Gambino Crime Family and b) accidently strike and kill Gotti's 12-year old son when the boy swerved his bicycle in front of Favara's car. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a child like that. I expect that I would probably go mad from grief but according to new court documents, Gotti found an outlet for his sense of lose...ordering Favara shot and then dissolved in a barrel of acid to hide the evidence. Eeeeewwwww!
At least when we lived nearby, Raymond's son, Ray Junior, was already older than my folks and with those bulletproof windows, we never had to worry about pissing off the old man with a baseball hit into his living room!