The Chin's Social Club Now an Upscale Tea Shop

The old Manhattanstorefront that was once a Genovese 
family social club and is now an upscale tea shop.
New York City's Mafia social clubs are quickly disappearing along with all the men who used to hang out in them, sipping espresso, playing cards, talking about the pasta and whatever else they'd be willing to discuss in a likely-bugged venue.

Among the latest to disappear into oblivion is the Triangle Social Club, once located in Greenwich Village in lower Manhattan, according to the AP. The unmarked storefront was run by legendary Genovese family boss Vincent 'Chin' Gigante.

It now is an upscale shop that sells organic tea.

The social club closed after Gigante died in prison in 2005. The space is now occupied by the Sullivan Street Tea & Spice Co.

According to Wikipedia, the Triangle was not the Chin's only hangout, though it was arguably his most famous: "Gigante's crew was based out of the Triangle Social Club, located at 208 Sullivan Street, but [the Chin] also met with fellow crew members at the Dante Social Club at 81 McDougal Street, and the Panel Social Club at 208 Thompson Street. Besides those locations, Gigante met with gangsters and business associates at his mother's apartment."

Upstairs neighbor Michele Angerosi tells the New York Post that she misses the social club, which to her--and us--represented "old New York."

The owner of a restaurant next door said having the tea shop as a neighbor is better for business. Screw him, says Cosa Nostra News. If we had our way, all those social clubs, especially the Ravenite, would have been declared historic landmarks and turned into museums. Some not-very-savvy entrepreneurs were sitting on their brains when those leases ran out.

To see a video of the Ravenite, now a shoe store, check this out. According to the filmmaker who posted it, nothing much has changed in terms of the layout of the place.

"I took this video in Feruary 2010," he posted under the video. "The club is now a high-class shoe shop. The shop owner told me its interior is basically unchanged, the flooring is original, the only major change being the large open windows."

The Ravenite was founded as the Alto Knights Social Club, long enough ago for Lucky Luciano to have sat there sipping espresso, according to the Daily News.

Then, in 1957, Gambino family boss Carlo Gambino renamed it after his favorite poem, Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven." (We had heard that Luciano was the one who actually opened the club, naming it after the famous poem; but who are we to argue with the Daily News?)

Gotti made the Ravenite his command post after the death of Gambino underboss Aniello (Neil) Dellacroce, who had long since taken over the Ravenite and for years had been known as the Little Italy strong man whom people in the neighborhood would warn whenever "strange looking" cars prowled through their part of town.

To law enforcement's utter surprise--and relief--Gotti would have his underlings line up at the Ravenite to regularly meet with him, giving the Feds something to shoot at with their high-powered cameras and camcorders. That footage fills enough mob documentaries to sink a cruise liner.

It was at an apartment up above the Ravenite, where the Feds recorded Gotti speaking the words that would turn Sammy Bull into a CW and send the Teflon Don himself to prison for life.

Interested in NYC locations where things Mafia-related have happened? Check out MobsterMaps.com.

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