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The ‘Gunshine’ State: Legendary Mafiosos who are forever linked to Miami and South Florida

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Florida’s warm inviting weather, palm trees, white sandy beaches and crystal blue ocean waters were an immediate hit with members of the Mafia, and would become the drawing card and magnet for mob guys from across the nation, especially those from the cold northern cities of New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Boston, Chicago and Detroit. In fact, you would be hard pressed to think of any given town or city where wise guys and major hoodlums operated that weren’t drawn down to the Sunshine State.

One of the wise guys featured on the list, Ettore “Little Eddie” Coco received a life sentence by a Florida State Court judge for shooting to death a parking lot attendant who Coco felt had disrespected him by not moving fast enough and ogling Coco’s female companion one evening while they were at a Miami nightspot. (Photo: The New York Mafia)

This fact became one of the prime catalysts for the Italian underworld to declare Florida an “Open City” that was available to any mob family or racketeer who chose to operate there. Initially, most racket guys would visit the area for a quick weekend or extended getaway from the hustle and bustle of their daily mob grind. But gradually, the allure of its warm balmy breezes and sandy shores encouraged them to settle down there on either a seasonal or permanent basis. Some “lammed” it there when the heat was on back home. Others came by choice. But either way, wise guys fell in love with South Florida, and this love affair has continued unabated for the last 90 years.

Joseph “Joe Scootch” Indelicato was a notorious Gambino soldier who established himself in Miami soon after being paroled from a 40-year armed robbery sentence, becoming a well-known hoodlum and top loan shark figure. Some of Joe Scootch’s biggest income in South Florida would come from “pushing in” on several businesses, including nightclubs and restaurants. (Photo: The New York Mafia)

Among the first to be drawn to Florida were Jewish mobsters from New York City. And of course, the most famous of these Jewish racketeers was Meyer “Bugs Meyer” Lansky. Aside from simply enjoying what the area had to offer in the way of leisure and relaxation, Lansky quickly recognized the racket potential of this virgin territory. “The Little Man” as he was widely known, would become a first among equals in its early development and expansion. Having first started out in New York as a major bootlegger during Prohibition, illicit alcohol is where Meyer would make his first fortune, but his true love and his most important attribute to Cosa Nostra would come later with his affinity and uncanny abilities as a top gambling power.

A top soldier in the Genovese Family, Paul “Frankie” Carbo was an infamous Mafioso in charge of “prize-fight” rackets for the mob. In his younger years, he was also known as a capable hitman. Carbo was a highly independent Mafia soldier who traveled to Philadelphia, Las Vegas, and all throughout Florida and California as his superiors instructed. It was suspected that many of these trips had to do with Carbo filling murder contracts in various cities ordered by the bosses. (Photo: The New York Mafia)

Read about the most legendary Mafiosos linked to South Florida at The New York Mafia.

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South Beach

Halloween 2021: Miami’s best spooky cocktails to get you in the spirit

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Photo: Melinda's

Spooky season is officially upon us. And what Miami lacks in autumn leaves and cool weather, we sure do make up for with over-the-top creepy cocktails.

Vampire fans can get into character at Grails with a “Blood Transfusion” cocktail bag. (Photo: Grails)

This year, South Florida’s bartenders have conjured up some killer libations strong enough to revive even the deadest of Halloween spirits. From ghoulish black tipples to vampire-approved potions, trick or treat yourself to one (or all) of the Halloween-inspired drinks on this list.

If Dracula had a signature cocktail this would be it. (Photo: Red Bar)

Doral Yard

8455 NW 53rd St, Miami
305-744-5038
thedoralyard.com

Get your cider fix at The Doral Yard this October. (Photo: Doral Yard and @Treatyoselfeverywhere)

The Doral Yard’s not-so-scary spiked cider, the Apple Jack O’ Lantern, combines Jack Daniel’s apple whiskey, Fireball, and apple cider served with a cinnamon stick and dried apples ($10). Each sip will transport you to a Fall wonderland brimming with pumpkin patches and hayrides. Snag the refreshing sip throughout the month of October.

Read more from the Miami New Times.

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South Beach

Your ultimate travel guide to Miami Beach — hotels, activities, restaurants, and more

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Photo: Getty Images

Miami Beach: Just those two words evoke steaming sun, sexy beaches, exuberant nightlife, celebrity chefs, mixologists offering their talents, stunning hotels, culture and arts, and shopping opportunities — all encased within historic art-decoMiami Modern, and Mediterranean Revival architecture.

It’s amazing to think that only a couple of decades ago, Miami Beach — specifically the historic neighborhood South Beach — was known as “Heaven’s Waiting Room.”

Today, the city has earned itself a different nickname: the “American Riviera.”

The name hints at a playful paradise where it’s impossible to experience the city all at once — especially as the pace and demand create new venues and opportunities for entertainment.

The best way to explore Miami Beach is to follow the lead of the roughly 3.5 million annual visitors — by returning again and again.

Getting to and around Miami Beach

Founded in 1928, Miami International Airport (MIA) is the leader in flights to and from Latin America and the Caribbean.

In fact, the transit hub hosts more than 100 airlines and is the nation’s third-busiest airport for international airports.

About 60% of those who visit Miami arrive via MIA, which is about 13 miles from the heart of South Beach.

Read more from Insider.

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South Beach

Miami Book Fair is back with a street fair and in-person events

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Photo: Miami.com/Miami Herald

Miami Book Fair is back — and this edition will include in-person events.

Last year, the beloved annual event that draws thousands to Miami Dade College’s downtown Wolfson campus took place virtually, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were no live author readings, no delightfully greasy arepas to eat.

No streets packed with happy readers clutching tote bags stuffed with real, made-from-dead-trees books.

Street vendors will return to Miami Book Fair in 2021. MARSHA HALPER MHALPER@MIAMIHERALD.COM

No Clifford the Big Red Dog hugging starstruck little kids with painted faces.

This year the fair, which runs Nov. 14-21, is a hybrid, a blend of in-person and online events that brings the fair closer to what it was before our story took an unfortunate turn in 2020.

Read more from Miami.com/Miami Herald.

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