Frank DiMatteo Describes "Growing Up Mafia"

Steve Adubato talks with Frank DiMatteo, author of “The President Street Boys: Growing Up Mafia,” to discuss his book and what it what it was really like to grow up in the mob.

#1932 12/14/2016






"Frank Di Matteo is... Hello. ...the author of The President Street Boys: Growing Up Mafia. How you doing, Frank? Very good, thank you. I do not want to assume that anyone knows anything about President Street. Tell them what President Street was, why it matters, and we'll talk a little bit about your growing up mafia. President Street. President Street's an old Italian neighborhood, we had in... Where? In Red Hook, Brooklyn. Yeah. The neighborhood started around the turn of the century. And by the late 40's, 50's, the Gallo Boys had blocked pretty much, tied down as far as buildings in, you know, family on the block, and cops. So let's break this down when we say "the Gallo Boys" I don't want to assume anything. Well, the Gallo Brothers... So it was the Gallo Brothers... the Gallo Brothers, there was, the most infamous was the so-called "Crazy" Joe Gallo? Yes. He was the leader of the Gallo Boys, there were two other brothers? Yeah, there was Larry and Albert. But Joey was the leader you know, a figurehead leader, you know. Yeah. Larry was actually was the leader of the... Who was killed? It was Joey. Yeah. So Joey... ...Joey. ...was killed famously... Yes. Umberto's? Yes. On Mulberry Street? Yes. In Little Italy? Yes. After a meal at about two or three in the morning, or so? Five o'clock in the morning. Maybe later, maybe later, right? Yeah. Four or five o'clock in the morning. Yeah. So you grow up, and your family? As you're growing up as a kid, how young were you when it was clear to you that those closest to you were in that organized crime family? About ten. Who were they? In your family? My father, Richard. My godfather was Bobby Darrow, Bobby Bongiovanni, and my uncle was Joe Schapini. Joe Schap. What did they do? Well, Bobby was strictly a killer. That was his job? Yeah. Bobby Bongiovanni. The so-called Buttoned Guy? That's what he did? Yeah. He was definitely a killer. Uncle Joe was, he was a diplomat, he ran all the unions. A diplomat? He was a diplomat. Yeah. Gentleman Joe. Yeah. He was a stick up guy in the 30's and 40's. Right. And then he became a you know, powerful new unions, and that's what he went to Joe for. But Bobby was strictly you know, nutty and a shooter. Hmm. Did you know that your, did you know that your dad was involved in that way? I knew at about ten. Ten? About ten. How? Before ten... I mean just by the time you get a little, I was a little, just started realizing a little more was going around, you know..."