The New York Times reports on the death of Robert Bisaccia the underworld figure who inspired the character played by Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.
Anthony Margotta Jr., a horse trainer in New Jersey was the nephew of Bisaccia.
“He was one of the most loving uncles in the world — funny, charming, one of a kind — and his advice was always to do the right thing. Always. Don’t do anything shady. Don’t do anything wrong.”
Alas, that’s not the way Mr. Bisaccia is remembered by law enforcement officials in New Jersey who had stalked him since the 1960s. They say he began as a minor figure in the Gambino family who rose to become John J. Gotti’s powerful capo in New Jersey, and was admired and feared for his toughness, ferocity and willingness to do whatever was asked of him.
The thing that interests me in the article is the reference to his being a "traditionalist," meaning that he "would have taken a bullet rather than rat out a friend.” The idea of "honor among thieves" has always fascinated me. I wonder if the ones who were able to hold on to that so called honor are only the ones who weren't offered a sweet enough deal by the government. Ratting out his friends worked pretty well for John Martorano.
Perhaps the key word is "friends." If one stops being your friend, he's fair game for testifying against. Maybe that's how it works. What do you think?
I appreciate, perhaps more than most, the mystique of the North Jersey or Brooklyn tough guy who spits in the eye of Johnny Law like James Cagney in Angles With Dirty Faces. But, I'm afraid it's a total myth. What's your opinion?