Joe Bruno on the Mob – Andrea Giovino – Part 2
By the time she was in the sixth grade, Angela was tall for her age and rather pretty, but somewhat of a tomboy. She played stickball and stoopball and porchball, but as a tribute to her girlish side, she also played potsy , a New York City term for hopscotch. She also sang and danced, and she played the lead role in the school play Annie Oakley, for which she received high acclaim from the staff at St. Rosa Lima.
When she was fourteen, the tall, lanky Andrea started filling out in all the right places. To help support the family, Andrea got a job working the register at Bagato’s Italian Pastry Shop on Thirteenth Avenue in Brooklyn. The pay was off –the-books and sometimes included free day-old bread, which she took home to the delight of her mom (if you pop day-old bread into the oven for a few minutes, it tasted like it did when it was fresh).
The working conditions at the bakery were favorable, and the Bagato family was friendly enough. Although Mr. Bagato, a short stocky man in his 40’s (aren’t all Italians?) spoke little English, he made Andrea feel like one of his brood.
Bagato’s Bakery was in Benshonhurst, several miles away from 689. During the weekdays, Andrea took the subway to get to and from work. But on the weekends, when her father was off from work, Frank Silvestri would take the trek to Thirteenth Avenue to pick up his daughter.
One Saturday, before the 5 PM closing, Mr. Bagato asked Andrea to help him out in a storeroom in the back of the store. Because of Mr. Bagato’s broken English, Andrea wasn’t sure what help he had needed. Andrea had never been in the back room before, so Mr. Bagato led the way. When they finally arrived in the back room, Mr. Bagato turned toward Andrea, and he held in his hand an erection the size of a large cannoli.
Andréa had never seen a man’s penis in a rigid state before, and it frightened her as if Mr. Bagato had held a .38 pistol in his hand. Mr. Bagato grabbed one of Andrea’s wrists and tried to make her touch his thing, but Andrea would have no hand in that. She bolted free from Mr. Bagato’s clutches, and made a beeline for the front door, where she ran right into her father, who was ringing the bell wondering what was taking his daughter so long.
Seeing Andrea’s flushed face, Frank Silvestri asked his daughter if everything was alright. Andrea said everything was fine, but her demeanor said different. Angela was a quiet as a church mouse on the way home, and her father was none the wiser.
When she arrived at 689 , her mother took one look at her and realized something was wrong. Andrea ran upstairs to her bedroom, and minutes later, her mother entered the room.
Andrea immediately spilled the beans about Mr. Bagato, showing the bruises on her wrist as proof. More than a little pissed, Dolly Silvestri ran down the steps and broke the news to her entire brood; including Andrea’s brother in-law Richie, who was roughly the size of Bruno Sanmartino.
The angry folks stuffed themselves into two cars, and made a mad dash to Bagato’s Italian Bakery. Once inside the bakery, the Silvestri family went on a rampage; knocking the baked goods on the shelves to the floors, turning over cases of food, and breaking whatever they could get their hands on.
While her minions were busy trashing the joint, Dolly went face to face with Mrs. and Mrs. Bagato; calling him names in two languages; most notably “child molestor.” Mrs. Bagato seemed confused and annoyed, but Mr. Bagato looked mostly scared. Finally, the rowdy Silvestri crew exited the premises and returned to their headquarters at 689.
Then for some reason, Dolly Silvestri forgot the laws of the streets which she had previously strictly adhered to, and did the unthinkable: she took Andrea to the police station. There, Andrea, at the urging of her mother, told her story to a detective, showing the bruises on her wrists as proof of Mr. Bagato’s advances.
To the consternation of Mrs. Bagato (who should have been angry at her husband but only seemed angry at the law), Mr. Bagato was roused by the cops and marched to the police precinct to answer to the charges. Fire in her eyes, Mrs. Bagato accompanied her husband.
Once inside the precinct, Mrs. Bagato took charge. After first trying to physically attack the Silvestris (she was held back by the fuzz), Mrs. Bagato cried blackmail. She said her husband was faithful to her and wouldn’t think of touching a 14-year-old girl. Mrs. Bagato told the detective the reason for the complaint was that the Silvestris were putting the bite on the Bagatos, who were obviously well-off financially.
While Andrea took in Mrs. Bagato’s diatribe, she figured she rather be anyplace in the world rather than sitting in court listening to Mrs. Bagato impugn her family. This is when Andrea became old beyond her years. Once safely back at 689, Andrea convinced her mother having Mr. Bagato arrested would cause them problems they didn’t need. Dolly, probably figuring it would destroy her street rep if the news got out she ran to the cops instead of the local wiseguys, grudgingly agreed to drop the charges against Mr. Bagato.