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Carroll Gardens rallies around Mark, but not Benny

The Brooklyn Paper
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Carroll Gardens rallied behind big shot pizzaiolo Mark Iacono this week, championing the man — not just his marinara.

Last Friday, Iacono, 44, the owner of Lucali, was brutally stabbed in a vicious knife fight with lifelong paisan Benny Geritano, 38, an ex-con with alleged mob connections. Iacono took the worst of it, but prosecutors said both men will now face attempted murder charges.

Those who knew both men said they couldn’t be more dissimilar.

“Mark is not that kind of desperate person who’d attack someone in the middle of Smith Street on broad daylight,” said John Heyer, a sixth generation Carroll Gardens resident. “He’s a calm, cool collected guy. I find it hard to believe that he was looking to attack someone with a knife.”

Other old timers agreed.

“Mark’s a good kid. He started that business from nothing. He comes from a good family,” said a resident who requested anonymity.

“He’s a clean cut kid,” added a woman whose known Iacono for years. “A real gentleman. He’d always say, ‘Let me buy you a cup of coffee.’”

Still, Iacono’s pizzeria has mob ties, having once employed Dominick “Black Dom” Dionisio, the Colombo crime family soldier, when he was awaiting a trial for armed robbery.

“That’s like his cousin. When you know a guy for so many years, when you’ve grown up together … how can you refuse them?” said a resident who knows Iacono.

Geritano, neighbors claim, is a street tough with a temper.

“There have always been shadows around Benny,” said an old-timer, lowering his voice. “Word on the street is that this guy is trying to make a name for himself.”

It’s unclear what sparked the fight. One report says it was over a woman, another says Geritano was collecting a loan.

Whatever the cause of the brawl, the incident harkens back to the tony area’s less-effete past. Fifty years ago, mobsters such as “Crazy” Joey Gallo ruled the neighborhood.

But the only constant in New York is change, and young men in skinny jeans have replaced the old men who munched cigars on the corner of Court Street and First Place.

“Maybe Benny didn’t realize that the neighborhood’s changed,” said resident Deb Scotto.

Updated 5:23 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John from CG says:
I love the quote "A real gentleman. He’d always say, ‘Let me buy you a cup of coffee."

Yeah right, he has the money from his $40 pizza...

But I'm still wishing him well.

I love this quote too:
"Maybe Benny didn’t realize that the neighborhood’s changed"

Very interesting article, well done!
April 20, 2011, 2:47 pm
SBGUY from South Brooklyn says:
Mark is an all around great (not good GREAT) guy, a loving family man, and a LOYAL friend to everyone that knows him. A lot of ppl can say a lot of things but unless you know the man its all an opinion and has nothing factual to back it up in any way shape or form. First it was a "shakedown", then it was a "debt", then Benny playing the victim saying Mark stabbed first, now its supposedly over Annette? Not even the cops or DA know what's what, they have a longer list of "Theories" or as I call it Fictional Stories from all these "sources" than a Friday night line at Lucali's.

The fact that the Cops/DA even had the stones to charge, let alone consider charging Mark for defending his life and wanting to LIVE is beyond me and they should be ashamed of themselves. The man had major surgery after being rushed in critical condition to Lutheren and based on the scene wasn't even likely to make it yet HE GETS CHARGED? Why cause the Cops/DA are convinced its a "Mob" thing? Its some legal system we've got here let me tell you, its a disgusting joke that charges against Mark were even considered.
April 20, 2011, 2:54 pm
SBGUY from South Brooklyn says:
@ John
be accurate its a $24 pizza and you pay for quality, do you think imported cheeses from Italy are cheap? Do you get that quality pie anywhere else ? A world renouned Italian chef said that when you have Mark's pizza you have to go check outside and make sure you're still in brooklyn cause the flavor makes you think you've been transported to Italy. So obviously you gotta pay for that kind of experience.
April 20, 2011, 2:59 pm
3rd pl from CG says:
I grew up in this neighborhood & saw too many of it's own go down in this kind of violence. So I decided to move and haven't thought about it much in the last 10 years or so...I knew both men, and I can say the kind words they are stating about Mark is the man I remember.  

However, I also remember a different Benny...one I played little league with...one that was funny as hell and a good hearted kid.  Unfortunately, he got wrapped up in things as he got older.  Let's hope if he survives this ordeal, he can find that same kid inside him somewhere and move on with his life in a positive manner.
April 20, 2011, 3:15 pm
C from Cg says:
If somebody who knows you stabs you, you arent a great guy. Its simple math.
April 20, 2011, 9:27 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
I want to try Bennie's pizza before I take sides.
April 21, 2011, 10:42 am
queen from Miami says:
Benny u should HAVE WENT TO MIAMI!! UR SOOOOO STUPID!!! THIS IS WHAT U DO OVER A PIG!!
April 21, 2011, 6:24 pm
Billy from Red Hook says:
Mark is a Congenial and Benevolent man! And How I can tell you that the lady above is telling the truth here: "let me buy you a cofee" is because last week before this incident almost a HORRIBLE Trajedy we both were in the Cukoos Nest together, and I would be simply Honored to get him his sandwich, but when I tried to pay for it, he said to me: "Billy I got it and your soda and a sandwich too, please don't fight with me about it?" I replied "No Mark Never". He is a Very Very Sweet man, I have been no angel in my life, none of us are, whatever is in our personal lives, we can make errors or miscalculations, but the element here is Mark most Definetely shows this community is his mind and heart does not have 1 ioda of evil element in it, and this is showed Tangibly over and over again, person by person. We can rely upon byproduct, this man is loved by people not only in his community, but people abroad as well!
April 22, 2011, 3:18 am
haha from brooklyn says:
benny did annette sell enough cards to bail u out yet?? hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
April 22, 2011, 8:14 am
anon from south brooklyn says:
benny g once robbed a bank to celebrate beating a murder charge. mark was always a quiet a nice guy. there's no question when investigations and trials are all said and done, mark will get off.

only hope it doesn't tarnish the rep of lucali's because it's a great restaurant. also hope it doesn't mean bullet sprays through the store windows in the future...
April 22, 2011, 1:04 pm
yeah from brooklyn says:
sbguy every article in every place you comment. wh don't you put your real name on and stop hiding.
April 23, 2011, 7:12 pm
rico from carroll gardens says:
I knew benny as a nice kid growing up with his two brothers.
Nov. 6, 2013, 7:18 am

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