Coming down Brooklyn's Knickerbocker Avenue, the Scaturro Supermarket stands near Colosseo Imports and the Bellissima Beauty and Wig Salon. Then Cafe Del Varre, the Bari Food Center and La Bella Palermo.
"No doubt about it," said a long-time resident as he passed the shops. "They snuffed out the 'Big Cigar' on his home territory."
Carmine Galante - the Big Cigar, would-be capo of the five Mafia families - was familiar with this small Italian oasis in the predominantly black and Latin Bushwick section of Brooklyn. He had come to Joe & Mary's restaurant at noon on Thursday for a small gathering to send Joe - Giuseppe Turano, owner of the mom and pop Mafia hangout - off to Italy.
At 2:50 three hooded gunmen bluntly ended Galante's life at age 69. They also killed the don's bodyguard and cancelled 48-year-old Giuseppe's trip to Italy, permanently, wounding his 17-year-old son John in the process.
It was classic Mafia justice: black limousines blocking traffic and armed gunmen protecting passerby just long enough to do the deed. And then, with the bodies lying bloodied among the tomato plants and grapevines, the cars sped off. There was pandemonium for hours afterward, neighbors gawking at the scene; by nightfall the area began to recoup.
Down the street at Pino's Taverna Del Golfo Tratoria, Mrs. Pino, still serving food at 2:30 a.m., shook her head. Outside in the damp, hot night, a group of men played cards, as they do every night in the summer.
"Mary is in Italy," she said in Italian. "She went a few months ago because her mother was sick. Guiseppe was supposed to join her there this week."
She shook her head again.
"When a man minds his business, he lives longer," a voice at the table muttered sotto voce.
Across the street from Joe & Mary's, in the display window of St. Barbara's Botanical Gift Shop, a huge wooden figure of Christ on crutches stared toward the padlocked grating around the restaurant.
"I know Johnny Turano [Giuseppe Tuarano's son]," said a skinny Puerto Rican kid. "I used to call him Chico. He used to call me Chico, too."
No one got them confused.
"No way," he laughed. "He's Italian and I'm Rican."
Every few minutes, a police cruiser drove past. "There aren't any more than every night," said the kid, lighting up a Winston.
"We brought there, too. Puerto Ricans buy there. If you're hungry you buy anywhere."
Above the restaurant, in the second-story windows of the three-story building, sat a middle-aged Puerto Rican woman and her nephew and niece.
"We got here late," said the niece, her cotton blouse soaked from the sweltering heat. "We didn't see it; just the cops and reporters."
On the stoop of the tenement above St. Barbara's, a few men had gathered. A haggard-looking drunk, his head tilted to the side, stumbled by.
"Why don't you ask him questions?" another kid advised, snickering. "I bet he knows."
"You betta watch it," a kid called Jose said. "They were even gonna arrest a reporter today for going down the fire escape."
Jose walked away. His friend didn't want to give his name.
"You know that lady who was talkin' on TV today?" he asked. "She gotta watch herself. She showed her face on TV. She was stupid."
He talked, though, about the mix of Italians and Puerto Ricans in the area off Knickerbocker.
"Certain stores don't get messed with," he said, swaggering a bit. "The night of the blackout, the Italians were out here protecting their stores with guns. Just the Italians.
"We don't fight here. Nothing too bad happens. Sure, this stuff happens once in a while. Everyone sees the cars pull up to these places. But, what do they say, the bigger they are, right?"
The nephew had come down to the street door. Jose's friend walked off.
"I have a lot I could tell you," he whispered. "The people here are very scared. They're very depressed."
Just then the inner door opens and his aunt came out. She spoke rapidly to him in Spanish.
"She will not let me talk to you," he said. "I have to go."
Back leaning again on his window sill, he sat staring.
On the wall behind him was a sign, "Wanted for Homocide." Beneath it were shots of 14 men. The one in the lower left-hand corner had a red "Arrested" sticker across it. The thin, Puerto Rican suspect looked familiar."The subject is wanted for the murder of Otero Matos on Jan. 22, 1978." He looked no different than he had 15 minutes earlier.
Up the street, patrolman Freddy Mignone was walking his beat.
"There used to be 50 copies of II Progresso on that newsstand," he said, pointing his night stick toward a nearby stall. "Now they get about 10. They don't sell.
"Galante was seen on the block a lot. The big cars show up at all these coffee shops. We take the plates and send them in."
By morning, at Joe and Mary's, the crowd started forming as soon as the first of the detectives from 14th Homocide arrived for a re-casing of the restaurant. An elderly man pushed his small dented metal cart closer. On it were old Calvert Gin bottles, containing orange and cherry fruit drinks.
Joe Di Feore, 17, and John San Cimino, 21, watched intently from the corner of Knickerbocker and Troutman as 10 or so detectives from 14th Homocide entered the restaurant.
"You see, Pino, he keeps the front door locked all the time," said Di Feore. "He only lets in people he knows. That's the way you have to be."
San Cimino identified himself as a nephew of Leonardo Coppolla, one of the men shot dead with Galante.
He said his uncle was just a friend of Galante, although police officials have called Coppolla Galante's chauffeur-bodyguard.
"He was young, you know," added San Cimino. "Only 40."
"Most of the young people," interjected Di Feore, "go in, make quick money, and get out. Once you get in deep there's only one way out," he said, nodding toward the restaurant.
Another young Italian, Tony De Luca, seemed less troubled by the killing and the street scene.
"The Puerto Ricans are scared because they don't understand it. The Italians aren't scared - they're just cautious."
One of the kids pointed to the proclamation on the restaurant sign: "We give special attention to outgoing orders."
"Yeah," he said with a hesitant laugh, "they weren't the only ones who did that, right?" CAPTION: Picture, The New York restaurant where Galante was shot; by UPI