The tour starts promptly at 6pm -- 5pm from October through mid-March-- at 176 1st avenue, near E10th street outside of what used to be a 110 year old Italian restaurant and opens with a brief understanding of the delicate balance between the two worlds of the neighborhood: The respectable, honorable immigrant success stories and the ruthless thugs, protectors and shakedown artists that kept them in their clutches. The shape of a "Mafia" and its influence on everyday citizens is clearly outlined here.
The story then follows the slow and steady rise of Charles "Lucky" Luciano, through the neighborhood spots that he used to frequent. The tour then follows the cafes and restaurants of the neighborhood to weave together the story of prohibition, mafia warfare, double-crossings, and a new incarnation of what it meant to be Mafia in America.
The tour follows a distinct narrative through the span of the 20th century, linking together small, local stories of mid-level thugs and "businessmen" and the ways in which they tie together with the greatest Mafiosi in American history involved in major plays all over the world. There are also multiple references and connections to The Godfather Trilogy, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos.
The tour ends in NoLita (Northern Little Italy) with the story of the notorious John Gotti, a perfect conclusion to a century of Italian-American supremacy in Organized Crime (as well as some theories as to the state of the Mafia today...)
Total walking: 1.2 miles (just under 2K)