Sunday, April 19, 2009

Knickerbocker Village And The Smith Projects In The French Connection

video
from Joe Bruno
I SAW THE PIECE ON TONY LOBIANCO YOU POSTED RECENTLY. I DON'T KNOW IF YOU KNOW, BUT A FEW SCENES FROM THE FRENCH CONNECTION WERE SHOT IN THE 4TH WARD.
IN THE MOVIE, POPEYE DOYLE, PLAYED BY GENE HACKMAN, LIVED IN AL SMITH PROJECTS . THERE ARE A COUPLE OF SCENES SHOT IN THE HALLWAYS OF SMITH. SMITH HAD THE ONLY BUILDINGS I EVER SAW THAT HAD EVEN AND ODD FLOOR ELEVATORS.
ALSO, SEVERAL SCENES WERE SHOT IN MOOCHIES BAR, ON THE CORNER OF SOUTH AND MARKET SLIP. MOOCHIES WAS A SHOT AND A BEER BAR, FREQENTED BY EVERYONE FROM REGULAR NEIGHBORHOOD GUYS, TO ALLEGED MOBSTERS, TO ALLEGED COPS, TO ALLEGED JOURNALISTS FROM THE JOURNAL AMERICAN DOWN THE BLOCK, WHICH LATER BECAME THE NY POST.
STEVE DUNLEAVY FROM THE POST WAS A REGULAR AT MOOCHIES, AS WAS JIMMY BRESLIN IN HIS DRINKING DAYS. IN FACT, WHEN MOOCHIE DIED IN THE LATE 70'S, DUNLEAVY WROTE THE OBITUARY IN THE NY POST.
I REMEMBER MOOCHIES HAD A POOL TABLE AND HE SERVED BEERS TO GO IN BIG, WHITE STYROFOAM CONTAINERS. ALL YEAR ROUND, YOU COULD SEE SCORES OF GUYS SITTING ON THE BENCHES IN TANAHEY PARK, DRINKING BEERS IN MOOCHIE'S CONTAINERS. BEER FROM A BOTTLE OR CAN?? FORGEDDABOUDIT!
FOR A WHILE THERE WAS A SIGN AT THE BAR "BOOZE OR BEER, OR STAY THE EFF OUT OF HERE." ORDERING SOMETHING LIKE A PINA CALADA AT MOOCHES WAS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE AND MIGHT EARN YOU AN UNSCHEDULED DIVE IN THE EAST RIVER ACROSS THE STREET. IN MOOCHIES, THEY MIGHT SERVE YOU A GIN AND TONIC, OR A TOM COLLINS, BUT NOT WITHOUT A DIRTY LOOK FROM THE BARTENDER. FOR SOME REASON, RUM AND COKES WERE OKAY. AND SEVEN AND SEVENS.
I STUCK TO THE BEER TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE. BETTER ON MY BUDGET TOO.
THERE WERE PLENTY OF FIGHTS AT MOOCHIES. NONE OF WHICH, FOR OBVIOUS REASONS,  EVER MADE THE NEWSPAPERS.
THERE ALSO WAS A RUMOR BRESLIN WAS BEAT UP AND THROWN OUT OF MOOCHIES A FEW TIMES, FOR USING SLUR TERMS AGAINST ITALIAN/AMERICANS. FUNNY THING, BRESLIN'S WIFE AT THE TIME WAS AN ITALIAN/AMERICAN.
GO FIGURE. BUT BRESLIN WAS ALWAYS A FOUL MOUTH SLOB, IRREGARDLESS OF HIS REAL, OR PERCEIVED WRITING TALENTS.
BRESLIN WAS KNOWN TO BE A BIG TIME JERK WHO WAS SAVED FROM A LIFE OF DRUNKENNESS AND DESTITUTION WHEN HE GOT THE INSPIRATION TO WRITE A MOB SPOOF CALLED THE GANG THAT COULDN'T SHOOT STRAIGHT, LOOSELY BASED ON THE LIFE OF CRAZY JOE GALLO. JERRY ORBACH PLAYED THE LEAD CHARACTER IN THE MOVIE.
THERE'S A SCENE IN THE MOVIE ABOUT A LION BEING KEPT IN A SOCIAL CLUB BASEMENT TO ENTICE TARDY GAMBLERS TO PAY UP OR BECOME LION FEED. THE SOCIAL CLUB WITH THE LION WAS RUMORED TO BE IN THE 4TH WARD, BUT I NEVER SAW THE LION MYSELF. I DIDN'T BET. PERIOD. DON'T LIKE LIONS EITHER.
THE OWNER MOOCHIE WAS A CHARACTER HIMSELF. ALWAYS GRUMBLING ABOUT SOMETHING. NEVER SMILING UNLESS THE BAR WAS CROWDED AND THE REGISTER WAS HUMMING. BUT A TRUE NEIGHBORHOOOD LEGEND.

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