Thursday, November 29, 2012

DISORGANIZED CRIME, Sixties: Cruising in the Village

From Disorganized Crime, by Sonny Patini

The sixties in New York was an era of change and excitement. Hippies from all over the country flooded to neighborhoods like the East Village and Greenwich Village. On the southeast corner of St. Mark's Place (8th Street) and 3rd Avenue you could hear live jazz from the Five Spot Cafe. In Greenwich Village we'd go listen to the live Latin bands at the Village Gate, like Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Eddie Palmieri, Cal Jaeder, Johnny Pacheco, Willie Colon and, the female who sometimes jammed with Tito Puente, La Lupe. Joan Baez was at the Village Barn; the Lovin' Spoonful up the block at the Purple Onion; Judy Collins was at the Hungry I; and Bob Dylan was at Gerde’s Folk City.

One of my hunting grounds was Trude Heller’s on 6th Avenue. The word I got was that Matthew “Matty the Horse” Ianniello financed this joint, along with a lot of other Village night spots. Walking around Washington Square Park or down a street at 2 a.m.– it was alive with possibility. Freaks, hustlers, hippies, gays, dealers and street musicians, all players in a carnival-like atmosphere.

An old TV series called "Naked City" said there are 8 million stories in the Naked City. To me, the "City" meant Manhattan and its clubs, nightspots– even the apartments held intrigue. Whenever I went anywhere, as soon as I came back and saw the city's skyline, I got a feeling.... a certain energy. It was like listening to Al Green singing Love & Happiness!

I talked to any decent-looking girl I could, eventually concluding from my track record that I had a twenty-percent chance of getting laid. My approach and conversation was civil; if they didn't want to be bothered, I went on. As soon as one of my friends, "Nicky the Count," got a car, the "Village Route" was a nightly affair.

One night I rode down to the Village with the "Count" and we picked up this professional-looking woman. I asked her what she did for a living, and she said she was a "sex researcher.” Being used to cashiers, I never ran across someone in that line of work before and asked her what type of sex research she did. She said right now she was in the middle of a project researching the correlation between the size of a man's penis and his race and ethnicity. "Really!" I said, "what did you find out?"

"Well," she replied, "so far, the research shows that Native-American men have the longest penises and Mexican men have the thickest.”

I said, "That's interesting.”

Then she asked, "By the way, what's your name?"

I replied, "Tonto Rodriquez!" Later that night she accused me of false advertising.

Another night we took this fine-looking female to a coffee shop. Now the "Count" was a tough bastard, but he wasn't the sharpest pencil in the box. We're sitting down at a table, and Nicky is trying his best to look cool and sophisticated, smoking a cigarette like Maurice Chevalier with his fingers under the cigarette. We usually gave phony names to these girls, so when the girl asked Nicky what his name was, he replied, "Dino.....Dino Valenti."

She said, "That's a nice name; how do you spell it, with an ‘E’ or an ‘I‘?"

He was dumbfounded and looked anxiously at me for help. I was enjoying the moment and just stared at him. After an awkward silence, Nicky regained his composure, gave her a debonair look and replied, "Valenti.....Valenti, with a V!"

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