Right away, New York vs. The Mafia sounds like an awesome idea since there are no doubts at this point unless every last person in this production is pulling a massive scam, that the Mafia was at one time the boss of the Big Apple and ran just about everything. And why not? For as much as New Yorkers want to talk about how great their city is and how united they can be, there’s a great amount of disharmony in the city just as much as anywhere in the country, and it showed back in the Mafia days as much has it shows now anywhere else. There’s no desire to downplay the events that helped to shape a city that became known as one of the most powerful in the country, but one has to take what’s said with a grain of salt at this point, no matter what they’re told and how much sense it might make. Leading up to and at the height of its power, the Mafia had the kind of clout to make it known that they were running the city, that they had the control, and that they were the ones that said what happened and what didn’t. The Mafia had their codes, their rules, and their order and discipline. The rest of New York had a hodgepodge of people that didn’t stand together in order to do something about this dangerous group of people that for the most part ran their everyday lives.
Most of us have heard the various stories about the mob at this point and have likely decided that a lot of it might be true but some of it couldn’t possibly be true. We’ve seen movies like Goodfellas, Casino, and many others that detail a lifestyle that was harsh for those that didn’t walk the line, and a life of power and prestige for those that did. The Mafia, at one time, was one of the most powerful criminal organizations in the world. With members that came from the ‘old country’ over in Italy, it was also one of the most vicious since there were codes of conduct in America, but the mob was the one making that conducts as they went along. If anyone ever believes that they didn’t kill women or kids, then they’ve bought into the idea that the mob didn’t go after pretty much anyone, and their families, if things got too out of whack. It’s not hard to believe that one point those who weren’t a part of the mob and who didn’t work for them would get tired of the organization and try to find a way to bring them down, but the Mafia wasn’t composed of a band of thugs with a grade school education. Many of those that ran things in New York were intelligent, cunning, and absolutely ruthless.
But at the end of the day, they were bullies in fancy suits, and many cities have discovered ways to deal with bullies, no matter how well-organized or well-armed they are. With the Mafia, things had to be done carefully since as I mentioned, they weren’t a bunch of street hoods that knew how to take orders and little else. The Mafia managed to infiltrate just about every aspect of life in New York, and they knew how to keep people in line at all times. Be it a threat, a bribe, or something along those lines, they knew how to keep people from implicating them or otherwise turning on them, and for those in the organization, becoming a rat, a stool pigeon, a snitch, otherwise, an informant, was a sure way to earn a green light, or a death sentence. This tended to happen when a person stepped out of line or did something incredibly stupid, and considering that it had to be sanctioned, it meant that someone had really fouled up and been caught doing something they shouldn’t have. And while the Mafia didn’t exactly go broadcasting the fact that they were killing people now and then, it wasn’t something that took people long to figure out. If you ran afoul of the mob and they took offense, then your life ceased to have any real meaning at that point.
The show looks like something that’s going to possibly shine a light on the period of time in which New York was a den of thieves, a place where the Mafia consolidated their power and made good on the chaos that had already come and gone before their rise. But again, it’s also something that might be best taken with a big grain of salt and a quick Google search to affirm that what’s being revealed is legit. No offense to the show or to the city, but history is often written by those that are trying to tell the best story.
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