My first job when I came to this then great country was driving a horse and carriage around Central Park…at night!

This was back in the bad old days of New York City. Pre-Giuliani. Pre-law and order. Pre-civilization. It was pretty bad, I must say.

One night one of my rides wanted to go to THE TAVERN ON THE GREEN restaurant in Central Park. So I dropped them off and decided to hang for a while there.

I got off my carriage and tied up my horse next to a large white limousine. The limo driver was standing next to his car.

I started chatting to my fellow carriage drivers.

My horse started backing up nervously close to the limo.

The limo driver started shouting at me. He thought my horse would damage his car. I had tied my horse up so he couldn’t possibly reach the limo. But the driver couldn’t know that.

I was dismissive in the extreme! I may have even used an expletive or two. Hey, it was New York!

The driver didn’t like that. And he was getting rather aggressive. But what the hell! He was just a limo driver!

There was traditionally bad blood between limo drivers and carriage drivers. We fought for the same tourist dollar.

All of a sudden one of the other carriage drivers came scurrying over and whispered to me.

“Don’t f**k with him! He’s not a limo driver, he’s John Gotti’s driver! That’s f**king John Gotti’s car!”


John Gotti, cappo di tutti cappi, boss of all bosses in the New York mafia was dining at the Tavern On The Green that night.




Me: “I’m so sorry sir! Let me just move my horse safely away from your car sir!”

I had already had dealings with the Brooklyn mob.

I knew what to do.

Don’t fuck with them.



  1. And all I got are Chicago mob stories. Non where my physical being was in any sort of danger though.

  2. I grew up with the mob next door. My town on Long Island has Italians, Jews, and Irish. Token German and Pole. When a Black moved in they moved out right away. I never knew why when I was little. But Joseph Gambino moved to my town in the 60’s. And that is who’s family John Gotti took over.

    I have plenty of stories. And the IROC joke holds true 100%. Hell just watch the Jersey Shore.

  3. i lived in Queens for five years howie. i know exactly what you mean.

    long island people are the funniest on earth btw. they know everything. and the worst part is THEY DO know everything!

    it was wild back then. john gotti was like Jay z. he was a legitimate star. a media star. he loved it.

    i remember when paul castellano got whacked outside Sparks steakhouse (great place btw) that was big news in NYC. like there was a new mayor.

    johnny boy was in charge now. and he was nuts.

  4. dan, you don’t want to be in a position to get stories like that. trust me.

  5. because you might get your ass kicked in terminal manner. hanging out with psychos is just not a good idea.

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