New York has always been a gangster’s paradise. That’s part of its romance and its lore. From groups like the 19th century Plug Uglies, immortalized in Herbert Asbury’s 1928 “The Gangs of New York,” to their 20th century counterpart, the Mafia, the city has a peculiar fascination with its least repentant miscreants, the ones who flaunt their lives outside the law.
Twenty years ago, John Gotti ruled the tabloids, and before him Joey Gallo, Joe Colombo, Frank Costello, Lucky Luciano — the list goes on and on.
As to why this is . . . well, Jimmy Breslin has an opinion. “I can barely handle legitimate people,” he writes in the opening pages of “The Good Rat: A True Story.” “They all proclaim immaculate honesty, but each day they commit the most serious of all felonies, being a bore.”
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