Monday, November 12, 2012

DISORGANIZED CRIME: DWI, Driving While Italian

Jimmy DeCarlo, another mobbed up "goodfella," connected to the East Harlem crew, had just bought a new car, and we got word in the 29th Street social club that he was bringing it around to show it off. Joe Bada Beep (no relation to Bada Bing) got the bright idea to have the younger guys, meaning Jerry and I, put loose lug nuts in the hub caps of his new car when he came into the club.

Sure enough he pulls up, proud as a peacock, and after he shows us all the car, he goes into the club for some espresso and the accompanying Italian expressions like mingua', madonna, goombah, jabonee, scutcha, chadrool, bafongool, mamaluke, bachagalupe, fuhgedaboutit, etc. A lot of Italians were called Tony, not because their name was Anthony, but because when they arrived here, their luggage said, "to N.Y.” They were also referred to as Wops because when they arrived at Ellis Island, some were without papers, and they were put in the line that said, "WOPS.”

Jerry and I go out, remove the hubcap, put a few lug nuts in and replace the cap. We go back in the club, and that's the signal for someone to say, "Hey, Jimmy, take us for a ride!"

Jimmy says, "Sure," and we all pile in the car. Jimmy has the radio on and don't hear it right away, so someone says, "what the fuck is that noise?" He shuts the radio off and the loud clunking noise is clear as a bell.

Everybody is saying, "This is a fuckin' lemon; they saw you comin'!"

Jimmy's face turns purple and he takes us back to the club.

When he gets out of the car and steps into the club for a minute, Jerry and I remove the lug nuts from the hubcap. Jimmy comes out, looking enraged, hops in the car to go back to the dealer. About an hour later, he comes back and says they fixed it.

The 29th Street pit crew goes out and puts the lug nuts back in the hubcap again. Everybody gets back in the car to confirm Jimmy's assessment of his new car’s smooth, silent ride. Going west up 29th Street, you heard, cla, clunk, cla, clunk, clakkkk! Jimmy goes off and tells us to get out right there on the Street, he's going back to smack the shit outta' that "lyin' motherfuckin' mechanic motherfucker!"

One of the older guys calms him down and convinces him to let one of the neighborhood kids, who is a mechanic, look at the car. While Jimmy is being calmed down in the club, we take the lug nuts out for good before he kills someone! Some time later we heard Jimmy got in an accident on his way to the club. When he recovered from his minor injuries, we asked what happened. He said, "I was turning; I was turning, and I fell asleep!" He had narcolepsy, and instead of DWI's, he got DWS's.

Vinny Albano, Jr., was also on the list of drivers to avoid. We were driving through Westchester County one night when he suddenly pulled into the woods. I said, "What the hell are you doin'?"

He replied, "I thought this was an exit!" We heard he, too, got into an accident– he drove through a barrier into an excavation ditch. He was really Mr. Magoo.


DISORGANIZED CRIME, by Sonny Patini, published in a limited edition. Contact him at:

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