Mulberry Street, July 27, 2013

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A man brandishing an iPad and giving a tour of Little Italy outside La Grotta Azzurra Restaurant, corner of Broome and Mulberry. A gaggle of tourists, some dangling  expensive Canons or Nikons. I think he was explaining which mafioso got whacked at which restaurant. A very angry middle aged to older man with a bald head, a polo shirt the color of an orange gelato, and shorts revealing very arthritic knees with resultant bowlegs, supported by a cane. He snarls “Get the fuck out of this neighborhood!” to the guy wielding the iPad, who ignores him. Time was, his words would have chilled a man’s bones to the marrow. That time has passed. No respect. His neighbors have moved to Queens and Nassau. The FBI has done its work and the wise guys have been diminished. No more “social clubs” on Thompson Street and Mulberry Street, where German shepherds napped, rousing themselves to snarl at black passersby. Chinese souvenir sellers have established a beachhead as Chinatown pushes ever further north. Mulberry Street is a tourist mall; didn’t you know?

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