James, having never lived in an urban setting, is this about right? In the 60s my old boss, the original owner, before his children bought him out, would accommodate a gentlemen from back east, at times in our hunting camp, summer and fall.
Ishmael, some will tell you otherwise. But there was never a significant Mafia presence in Baltimore. I had an Italian coworker whose girlfriend collected his book money and left it on his windshield in the parcel pickup lane. He would give the money to his uncle, and that was about it. Baltimore Italians will sometimes break bad about mob connections. If there are any they turn out to be a low ranker in Philly or New York.
However, the bar depicted in the article has been reproduced many times in Baltimore, including that same willowy skank—and I only spent one night with her...
Organized crime in Baltimore has always been small scale, with the biggest presence being cops who run their own rackets.
My sense was that Baltimore was barely on the mob radar. Besides, the Italian community in this town has never been big enough to hide in. Little Italy is just two and a half blocks. People from urban environments like to project themselves as coming from a dangerous place for many reasons, including the fact that they do come from a dangerous place. The perception has long been—before the internet and such, in the age of movies and broadcast TV—that rural and suburban people are only going to understand urban crime in terms of Mafia movies. So often the stories were related in that manner, something I always disliked as it stank of Hollywood.
Sometime this year I'll do a sketch of Baltimore crime rackets.
Fighting Smart: Boxing, Agonistics & Survival