When Bushwick was Bonanno
Today it’s among the trendiest neighborhoods in the world. Thirty-five years ago, this forlorn corner of Brooklyn was the epicenter of America’s mafia-fueled drug trade.
Illustrations by Ben Bertin
Settimo Favia’s routine was a fairly simple one. Every night around midnight, the native of Palermo, Italy, would close up his East Harlem pizza parlor and begin the trek back to his wife and home in the sleepy, suburban neighborhood of Glendale, Queens.
Favia, his pockets stuffed with pizza shop receipts, had just parked his car in the small hours of November 21, 1979, when a man stepped in front of him and fired two shotgun blasts. Just fifty feet away from his house in Glendale, Favia was killed instantly, as the assassin leapt into a car idling nearby.
Why this twenty-eight-year-old immigrant was slayed in such a fashion remains unclear to this day, but Favia was, in all likelihood, the victim of a unique breed of mobsters who once ran the rundown streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn. Now home to some of the city’s trendiest cafes, bars and brunch spots, Bushwick’s Knickerbocker Avenue was at one time the epicenter of a billion-dollar heroin empire.
Plagued by yea…