The following writings are presented in their entirety. They are true stories regarding some of the events and personalities of the Brooklyn/New York mafia during the 1960’s. The only corrections made were for punctuation and clarity. Nothing was omitted and the content is exactly as the writer intended. - Thanks, Doug Palumbo
Jilly’s was the place to go in New York…besides the Copa.
The boys (husbands) went to the trotters as usual and we (the wives) were to meet them later at Jilly’s. My girlfriend and I got all snazzied up, hats and all, and took off for Jilly’s. When we got there the hat-check girl, who was a friend of mine, greeted us. As we were talking, Ed McMahon came over to where we were and asked if we ladies would like to meet Johnny Carson. My girlfriend said “not really” (nothing impressed us…especially Johnny Carson who was known for always being a drunk). Ed McMahon left and must have told J.C. what we said because all of a sudden, J.C. came running from the back of Jilly’s, punched me in the lower back then ran towards the front door. I took off and caught him in the little foyer (which had a thick glass door). I grabbed him by the shoulders and banged his head on the glass door. Ed McMahon came behind me and got me in a head lock. I let go of J.C. and he went out the door to his waiting limo. My girlfriends ran and jumped on Ed McMahon, hitting him so he’d let me go. Well he let go then ran outside. The girls and I were sitting on the floor in the foyer laughing with our hats all banged in. Finally the bartender came out to get us. He took us in the kitchen and gave us some brandy to quiet us down and begged us not to tell the boys what had happened or tell Jilly, who wasn’t there that night.
We wound up telling them all anyway and they were pissed that no one, especially the bartender, didn’t help us. The next day, I got a phone call for a sit-down with some “relatives” not to make a case and sue J.C. because they wanted to make a deal to get on The Tonight Show and talk about the Italian Civil Rights League. That put the kibosh on any kind of money we could have sued for and gotten from J.C.
About two weeks later, we were in Jilly’s again and J.C.’s favorite comedian, David Fry, was there. Fry was also there the night of the big fight and came to call us the Braccole Girls. He was with a couple of bimbos so we decided to abuse him; I pulled his sideburns and asked if he remembered the Braccole Girls. We then told him that if he ever called any of us the Braccole Girls again, we’d circumcise him again. By the way, the Italian Civil Rights League did have their time on the Tonight Show if you remember seeing it.
One morning I was having breakfast while reading the paper. Butch was gone already. The phone rang and it was Butch saying he was sending our two friends John and his wife, my dearest girlfriend Peg, to the track to place a bet on a horse that was a sure good tip. The money he was sending with John was $1,000 to be placed to win on #9 in the second race at Belmont. I was glad to join them and spend the day at the track. Butch said have lunch and he’d meet us at my sister’s house later that day.
John and Peg came over to pick me up and off we went. As soon as we got on the parkway, traffic got crazy. Eisenhower was coming into the city and there was a parade of limos, cops on motorcycles and the motorcade holding up traffic. John was worried that we wouldn’t make it in time for the race.
We finally got there and John ran out to place the bet while Peg and I parked the car. We met him by the entrance and sure enough, he got shut out at the window. John was thinking Butch was going to blow his top for missing the bet.
We watched the race and of course, the horse won paying $14.00 to win. You figure the numbers. Well, there was nothing we could do so we sat down and had lunch. While having lunch, I looked over the racing card and saw all of Butch’s regular horses running so I decided to bet some of those races instead.
Well, I didn’t win. In fact, I lost everything. Luckily, we already paid for lunch. Driving home, John and Peg didn’t talk because they knew Butch would be mad. When I got to my sister’s, Butch wasn’t there yet but he called her and said I would be coming with a load of dough (he knew the results of the race).
My sister was so happy. She said Butch was going to take me away on a vacation. I told her what happened and she almost fainted. She also knew Butches temper.
Ok…Butch came home (with one of the other boys in tow), picked me up in the air and was happy as a lark…until…John told him about Eisenhower. Butch was disappointed but understood. I then asked him to look at the race card to see what horses he would have played for the day. He pointed out a few horses and I told him I played those and they lost and that I lost all his money.
In the mean time, Butch’s friend went out the window and on to the fire escape. He was headed for the roof thinking Butch was going to blow his top! Butch looked at me, threw up his hands and yelled “HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?” I yelled back “YOU’VE BEEN DOING THIS TO ME FOR 11 YEARS!”
He could do nothing but laugh after that.
Butch was at the race track every day and the trotters every night (so was I most of the time).
He had a table in our dining room where he would watch the races and bet with “customers”. Butch would even foot the bill for food and drinks. The “customers” were heavy betters and loved the idea of not having to buck the crowds at the track…they felt like V.I.P’s.
I would go to the windows at the track with edge-off bets for Butch and play his horses myself. I would win about $300 to $500 a day. Butch was the best handicapper but he would bet it all back when he won. He would think nothing of betting $1,000 to $5,000 on a race. Not only did he like to gamble but he also drank a lot, which made him get stupid…and nasty.
Butch never knew how much money he had in his pocket when he drank which worked out well for me. I’d wait until he conked off to a dead sleep and take his stack and play “one for you, one for me; two for me, one for you”. I really dressed good in those days and had an expensive pair of glasses for every outfit.
One night I was home, it was very late and Butch was at the trotters. I heard something at the door, like paper shuffling. I looked at the floor and saw bills, 10’s and 20’s, coming under the door. I bent down and started picking them up. I was so excited, I started pulling them out before they were all the way under the door! I didn’t open the door or ask who was there, I just took the money. The flow of cash finally stopped and I heard someone walking away.
I sat there on the floor, in my shortie nightgown, and counted out $1,000; I had my new outfit figured out already! I didn’t say anything to Butch when he finally came home as he was drunk already anyway.
The next morning, Butch left the house before I was awake. When he came home that night, he told me he had to smack Moe around because Moe didn’t leave the money he owed Butch under the door like he was told. Moe said he did and that someone was pulling the money out of his hand before it was under the door all the way (Damn, there went my new outfit and fancy glasses!).
Butch said that when Moe told him someone was pulling the money in, he knew it was me. We had a good laugh.