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Today, from witness protection, D’Arco recalled, “He was a stickup guy, taking chances on armed robberies.” But the pizza parlor and its adjoining clubhouse soon became headquarters for “the Prince Street crew,” a prime gathering spot for local mobsters.“Raffie went into business with Charlie Brody and the rest of the Becks moving heroin,” D’Arco said.In 1959, a lean, dark-haired young hoodlum from Little Italy named Ralph “Raffie” Cuomo was released from prison after serving a stretch for armed robbery. (He would later explain that “Ralph’s Pizza” sounded too “feminine.”) He was a good cook. The Di Palermo brothers were all leading members of the Luchese crime family, the Mafia borgata of which Little Al D’Arco would later become acting boss.
Patrick’s Old Cathedral School, the Catholic grade school on Prince and Mott streets.
“They were selling drugs out of that store and their own grandchildren were going to the school on the corner.
When Al D’Arco got back to Little Italy, he found Raffie Cuomo and the Prince Street crew still flourishing. “I blamed the Prince Street crew, Petey Beck, his brothers, and all of them.” He wasn’t the only one.
Only now their drugs were being sold locally, to neighborhood kids. Drugs had been sold out of a small Puerto Rican-owned bodega down the street from St.
And he was at the casinos in Atlantic City all the time, didn’t matter how much he lost.” He still had enough loot left over for side investments.
The chef ran a sports-betting operation, specializing in weekly football sheets. “He was a shylock, he had a lot of money out on the street,” said D’Arco.Alfonso “Little Al” D’Arco, acting head of the Luchese crime family, was the first mob boss to turn government witness.He flipped for the feds in 1991 and helped send more than 50 mobsters to prison.A complicated legal battle ensued, and he dropped it.But when reporters came knocking on Prince Street to ask what he thought about what he’d started, Raffie Cuomo, an apron tied around a growing paunch, scoffed at the pretenders. “There’s nothing like our ‘Ray’s.’ ” He shyly refused to pose for photos.This nun from the school went out and screamed at them, right in front of their club there on Prince Street.” Al D’Arco wasn’t about to become a crusader. Drugs sold and consumed elsewhere, he rationalized, had nothing to do with him.