Pleasant Avenue in East Harlem once was the stomping ground for Genovese boss Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno and other mobsters, and crime writer Megan Abbott takes a look back on that lawless street for The New York Times:
"If you knew the right people," David Durk and Ira Silverman wrote in The Pleasant Avenue Connection, their 1976 exposé, "you could go there at three in the morning and borrow 50,000 dollars in cash or rent a submachine gun or arrange to fix a judge or pick up three kilos of heroin."
Although Ms. Abbott writes of the neighborhood changes appearances can be deceiving, and the underlying reality of the mob in New York has changed very little. The Genovese crime family still controls the town, and all of the underworld services it offered on Pleasant Avenue in the 1970s still are available today even if through a different boss on a different street. As Axl Rose sings with Guns N' Roses in "Patience": "I've been walking these streets at night . . . and the streets don't change but maybe the name."