Funny thing about modern life: More people were interested in the finale of “The Sopranos” than the possibility of a real life mob war going on in Bensonhurst.
Even after police said that a member of the Genovese crime family was slain execution-style in his Bath Beach home last Thursday and a Gambino crime family member was almost rubbed out as he sat in his Caddie, the changing demographics of Bensonhurst left most residents yawning in their sushi.
The murders raised some eyebrows because the Gambinos and the Genoveses have a deep and dark past in organized crime. But in recent years, the once close alliance between the families had begun to sour.
The full curdle began last Tuesday, when Robert DeCicco, whom federal authorities say is an associate of the Gambino family, was shot three times in the arm, with another bullet grazing his head, as he sat in his car on Bath and 17th avenues in Bath Beach.
DeCicco, 56, is the son of a once-powerful capo to Gambino Godfather John Gotti. True to omerta, he told cops he couldn’t identify the masked gunman, who fled in a white Lincoln Continental.
Then, two days later and only a mile away, the body of Rudolph “Cueball” Izzi, 74, a Genovese associate, was found face down in his white striped pajamas on his bed in his Bensonhurst home.
This wasn’t Izzi’s first brush with law enforcement. The reputed mobster was an associate of Rosario Gangi, a Genovese captain whose crew long dominated the Fulton Fish Market, and has been on police radar screens for more than 40 years.
The two alleged mobsters were neighborhood fixtures with notorious pasts, with both having spent time in jail, but by all accounts their last couple of years have been quiet and unremarkable — a far cry from their colorful heydays.
Izzi was even known around town as a meticulous dresser with an uncanny ability to color coordinate his wardrobe.
Twenty years ago, news of twin, mob-linked shootings would have shaken the community, but today it hardly registers as a tremor.
Many residents around the shootings even seemed confused by the idea of a mob war.
“A mob war?” said one woman who lives on the block near the intersection of the DeCicco shooting. “I am sorry, but I don’t understand.”
Another woman said heard about the murder, but didn’t know there was a mob connection.
“I was in the shower when I heard the gunshots,” said the woman, who also lives on the block of the shooting. “I didn’t know the man and I hadn’t heard anything about the mob.”
Of course, there were the usual characters playing the classic role of wise guys (if not wiseguys).
“You have to watch who you ask,” said one of the men, who were standing at the corner of Bath Street and 17th Avenue. “You don’t want to find yourself with any problems.”