These men – some of these old Jewish men – are a special breed – from a special time and place.
I mean, all the expectation today leaves little for a kid to dream about. You are supposed to go to college. Then maybe law school or medical school. Family and responsibilities then start to add up. A decade or two goes by and you wonder where it all went.
But these guys.
These guys peak the imagination, if only in a villainous way.
Because what boy wants to work 8-5 and take orders?
A reflection of a road not taken. A tough guy, indeed.
Around each other, these men have a kind of ease that makes you want to confide things. The ease of old friends. Late nights. Stories by now more fiction than fact. Stories set on the stoops and corners of Bensonhurst, Flatbush, Brownsville, in a time when Jewish gangsters, that lost romantic breed, still roamed the streets, when Italians had no monopoly on hooliganism, when a Jewish boy could still fashion his future as murderous and daring and wide open, a future shot full of holes. Alleys. Blue smoky rooms. Basements. The ominous echo of footsteps. Leather shoulder holsters.
-Rich Cohen, Tough Jews