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Category: NYC Area

NYC Area 0

Hoboken’s Most Powerful Gangster

Inside a low-slung building surrounded by trees in southern Minnesota, there is an old man. Now ailing and in his 90’s, he was once one of the most powerful members of the American mafia. This building is Federal Medical Center Rochester. This man is Louis “Bobby” Manna. Manna was born in Hoboken in 1929 and, by the 80’s, he had […]

NYC Area 0

Meet New Jersey’s Biggest Polluter

Along the New Jersey Turnpike, it comes into view: a massive complex of tanks, smokestacks, and tangled pipes. This is New Jersey’s biggest polluter: the Phillips 66 Bayway Refinery. The Phillips refinery releases far more toxic chemicals than anywhere else in the state, and more than twice as many as the runner-up (another refinery). Some of these chemicals may cause […]

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The Church Tony Soprano’s Grandfather Built

“See that church? Your great grandfather helped build that almost 80 years ago. He was a stonemason, the old man. Came over from Avellino with four dollars in his pocket.” Tony Soprano The camera pans down to show a beautiful church made of grey stone. Alongside it: a red Tahoe. A father wants to show his teenage son the family’s […]

NYC Area 0

The Mafia’s Hoboken Fortress

On a narrow street at the edge of town sits a squat brick building. There are no windows. On the street, lookouts watch for unfamiliar faces. The few who do enter are carefully watched. Inside: the headquarters of the most powerful mafia family in this country. This is Casella’s Restaurant in Hoboken, NJ. In the 1980’s, it functioned as home […]

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Where Christopher Moltisanti Almost Died

How could this happen? How could this happen? Tony Soprano As Christopher Moltisanti walks out of a diner beneath the Pulaski Skyway, he happens across two of his partners in crime: Matthew Bevilacqua and Sean Gismonte. What’s brought them to this same desolate spot? Suddenly, Sean leans out the window. In his hand: a pistol. Before Chris can react, Sean […]

NYC Area 0

A Notorious Mob Informant’s Hoboken Headquarters

A slight, bespectacled man with white hair sits behind a table, going over today’s bets. At his side: a beeper. You might not even notice it. Inside the beeper is a tiny microphone. This unassuming bookie in a nondescript storefront is about to take down the most powerful organized crime family in this country. Peter “Petey” Caporino, a Hoboken native, […]

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The Real Barone Sanitation from The Sopranos

A German Shepherd barks viciously and strains at his chain. A red Tahoe pulls up to a a large industrial building. The sky is grey. A hulking man steps out. This is Barone Sanitation, which featured prominently in The Sopranos as a front for Tony’s illicit interests. In one my favorite episodes from season 2, facing increasing police scrutiny, Tony […]

NYC Area 0

A Hidden Castle…In New Jersey?

As you round a clear blue lake, a second, smaller path winds away from the main trail. Up this path, on a peak covered with flowers, lie the remains of a vast stone edifice. This is Van Slyke Castle in Ramapo State Forest in Oakland, NJ, just 30 miles from midtown Manhattan. I visited with a friend last week and […]

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This is Satriale’s From The Sopranos

They sit around tables covered in checkered cloths, sipping espresso. The conversations are hushed. As you approach, they fall silent. This is Satriale’s, the butcher shop that served as headquarters for Tony and his crew in The Sopranos. These scenes were shot at a storefront in Kearny, New Jersey, a working class, mostly Spanish town near Newark. Yesterday, I went […]

NYC Area 0

The Real Groundhogs of New Jersey

You look out onto a small grassy area in a nearby park. Surrounding you are tall brick buildings and in the distance, the New York City skyline. Wait…is that something moving? This is how I discovered the adorable groundhogs of Auf der Heide Park in West New York, NJ two years ago. I’ve seen as few as one and as […]