Benny Eggs and New York Rents
Jimmy Breslin writes a tribute to New York City. An excerpt:
It is these rents that affected the Genovese crime family, once the nation's biggest and most lethal Mafia outfit. For it was in the Village, famed for palette and pen, that the mob missed its first heartbeat. The organization flourishes in places where the poor live. In a sense, real estate prices more than the law did in the Mafia—and helped change the character of this part of New York.
Consider the story of mobster Benny Eggs. He was paying $200 a month for his ground-floor clubhouse at 101 Thompson Street. He assumed the landlord was satisfied. The landlord was satisfied—satisfied that one day the cops would catch up with Benny Eggs and the clubhouse would be ready to rent to some scarecrow woman designer from Milan for thousands. Each morning, the landlord thrilled at the headlines in the New York Daily News about Mafia arrests—delight that turned to despair when Benny Eggs was not among them.
Then came the headline he had been dreaming of: BENNY EGGS BUSTED. Soon there was a store on the ground floor of Number 101 that paid $3,500 and sold expensive Italian fashions.