Rhode Island’s famous for you

The time has come to capitalize on our scandalous past
By PHILLIPE AND JORGE  |  December 12, 2007

Phillipe + Jorge are alerted to how Las Vegas plans to create a museum paying tribute to organized crime and the role played by the Mob in creating this living monument to neon, excess, kitsch, Elvis, and gambling in the Nevada desert. We assume there will be splendid and inspired touches like the Meyer Lansky Gift Shop, where you can launder your gambling money, and the Bugsy Siegel Wing, with tour guides who bitch-slap the folks entering the joint.
 
This sparks an idea in P+J’s fertile imaginations. If it’s good enough for Lost Wages, it’s good enough for the Biggest Little, especially when Harrah’s and the Narragansett Indians basically gave us the same message last year.
 
So how about a Providence Mobster Museum and Hall of Fame on Federal Hill, to celebrate our bygone years as New England’s headquarters of organized crime? We have plenty to glorify, since Providence gangsters still get play in contemporary works, like The Departed and The Sopranos. And that doesn’t even get into past dark deeds at City Hall, which should warrant an entire floor, with dioramas depicting Joe Doorley slumped behind his desk with a drink in his hand, the Bud-I browbeating hang-dog members of the University Club, and Frank Corrente slipping an unmarked envelope into his pocket while a camera hidden in a briefcase rolls tape.
 
We could add a Disneyesque animated robots kick line of cops, firefighters, and public works employees doing their Rockettes’ impersonation while singing “Look for the Union Label.”
 
What better time to launch such a project, when the current mayor of Our Little Towne, David “Little Chi-Chi” Cicilline, just happens to be the son of the famed defense lawyer Jack Cicilline, who defended a number of clients with dubious pasts and associates, such as one Raymond L.S. Patriarca, a sweet, charming, shy, mysterious, diamond geezer of a guy.
 
Jack deserves special mention, because he always assured us that there was no such thing as the Mafia. Hey, just a bunch of old “hats” standing outside social clubs on the Hill, minding their own business, if you please. And what body in a car trunk? He was probably just looking for his spare tire when he fell in, shot himself in the back of the head, and locked himself in.
 
Ah, imagine the glory of the opening day for such a paean to our past. How lovely it would be to see little children playing stickball in the street on a beautiful summer day on Atwells Avenue, across from the new museum on the site of the former Patriarca-owned Coin-O-Matic vending machine company.
 
Sinatra songs will be pumped into the air as we inaugurate the first class of honorees with plaques that include both head-on and profile images of the new Hall of Famers, a la police mug shots. Raymond, Junior, Baby Shacks, Buckles, the Saint, and the Moron, we salute you!
 
Not for nuthin’, but it brings a fuckin’ tear to your eye, know what I mean?

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