A well done blog article that I was made aware of recently detailed a subject that is sure to raise the ire of some Italian Americans, but I just thought it to be totally ridiculous: a guided tour of New York’s most famous mafia “landmarks”! An excerpt from the article reads:
An enterprising soul by the name of John Ciarcia is, dare I say it, “making you an offer you can’t refuse”: A bus tour of (New York City’s) most famous and beloved gangland sites.
Even though there are several Mafia walking-tour guides, Ciarcia offers the first mobile tour on this subject. “Everybody loves the mob,” he said, a restaurateur, radio host and actor (he had a bit part in “The Sopranos“). “We’d like to give them a taste of history in the mob.”
Starting next month, The New York City Mob Tour will guide you through the best in former Mafioso stomping grounds, watering holes and killing fields. Replete with newsreels and film clips describing the various points of interest, you and your own gang could marvel at what was really hot in New York in those fun-filled, captivating days of old.
Are there less tourist activities in the New York City area than I had imagined?
As to why something like this comes to fruition, it’s simple: Negativity sells, and everybody’s buying. As long as people perceive that the term “mafia” equals an exciting and affluent, albeit dangerous, lifestyle, we will continue to be interested.
No doubt, what looks like exploitation of a proud culture here will offend some people. That’s the idea. The more people it offends, the louder the buzz. And then it sells. Negativity sells. And we buy it.
I have Googled “famous Italian Americans” in the past and was always impressed by the sheer number of the thousands of influential people who have had a positive impact on this country.
I like to reference our sporting figures. Individuals like DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Joe Montana, Vince Lombardi were huge.
And those are just some of the famous ones. There are millions of ordinary folks who did exactly the same thing.
My grandmother’s family came here from Sicily to escape the influence of organized crime. They left a comfortable life in their home country, came here with nothing, but still managed to build themselves a piece of the American dream. There will never be a bus tour for that, we know. But that is the true heritage of the Italian immigrants that came to this land.
I’ll make you “an offer you can’t refuse”. Or shouldn’t refuse. Focus on the positive aspects of your culture and heritage, whatever it may be, and ignore the rest.