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

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This is the third installment of a The New York Mafia original story about the early migration of organized racketeers and Cosa Nostra figures to South Florida.

Organized crime in South Florida began in earnest right after World War II.

There had been a relatively small continent of New York racket guys who had visited South Florida in earlier years, with some of them having settled down into the Miami area.

Born in Cuba in 1929, Jose Miguel Battle, Sr. (center) was one of the top bosses of Cuban organized crime in the United States. He controlled a huge “Family” of Cuban and Hispanic racketeers that controlled a multimillion dollar-per-year gambling network specializing in the Cuban numbers games called Bolita, and featured other gambling such as sports bookmaking, loansharking, extortion and narcotics. (Photo: Harper Collins)

But it wasn’t until after the second World War that the underworld started to really expand their visits, vacations and started to buy homes in SoFlo.

Almost immediately, they started to operate their criminal activities and plant their flag into the sand as well.

They came in droves.

Rocco “Rocky” Fischetti (right) regularly frequented and was suspected to have held ownership interest in the Puccini Restaurant, 991 N.E. 79th Street, Miami. He and his brother Joe were the blood cousins to the infamous Al Capone. The Fischetti brothers were also top associates and bosses of the Chicago Family since Prohibition. In later years, they became widely known for their close friendship with iconic singer Frank Sinatra. Criminal activities included gambling, bootlegging and infiltration of labor unions. He and his brother Joe both later migrated to South Florida, where they became daily figures on the local mob scene. A highly respected Mafioso. (Photo: Pininterest)

In The New York Mafia‘s two previous installments, they named hundreds of Cosa Nostra figures and underworld racketeers of various importance.

The New York Mafia also highlighted over 100 mobsters that they wrote thumbnail sketches about.

However, the names kept on coming, and it seemed the more that was dug into South Florida’s history, the more Mafiosos that were found.

Born in Harlem in 1927, Moishe “Morris” Levy (left) gravitated early on to the entertainment business. He started with involvement and ownership of several nightclubs and Jazz clubs that were popular at the time, and later morphed in representing musical groups and creating his own record label. He went on to become one of the most iconic figures in the music world and signed numerous top-ranked music groups to his record label. His company was the famous Roulette Records based in Midtown Manhattan. He also owned the Birdland Jazz Club over the years, and The Roulette Room, also of Manhattan. (Photo: Tommy James)

There were so many interesting and important mobsters who made Miami Beach and the other towns sprinkled throughout Dade and Broward Counties their stomping grounds that it compelled “The ‘Gunshine’ State: Legendary Mafiosos who are forever linked to Miami and South Florida Pt. III”.

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South Beach

Halloween 2021: The seven best ghost and cemetery tours in South Florida

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If you ain’t afraid of no ghost, October is filled with opportunities to mingle with the spirits of South Florida’s past.

As the days toward Halloween dwindle, brave souls can avail themselves of ghost and cemetery tours at some of Miami and Fort Lauderdale’s oldest haunts.

Deering Estate (Photo: Ryan Holloway/Miami-Dade County)

Some tours even welcome ghost-hunting equipment for those who happen to have a pendulum, dowsing rod, and EMF meter lying around the house.

Below is a randomly ordered list of South Florida’s best ghost and cemetery tours.

Yesteryear Village (Photo: South Florida Fairgrounds)

Happy spirit stalking!

HistoryMiami’s Ghosts of Miami City Cemetery tour with Dr. Paul George (Photo: Ali Goebel)

Read more from the Miami New Times.

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South Beach

South Beach businesses put up big money against Miami Beach’s effort to change last call

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Miami Beach voters will decide this November whether to stop the sale of alcohol at 2 a.m., moving last call at bars and clubs up from 5 a.m.

South Beach nightclubs will put up hundreds of thousands of dollars to stop a ballot referendum.

They face off against the political teams and supporters of the current and former mayor, who hope voters limit partying hours. 

The measure on the ballot in November is non-binding but would be a clear sign of public opinion to the city commission.

The nightlife on South Beach generates millions of dollars and employs a few thousand people.

It also brings crowds, rowdiness, and crime, disturbing neighborhoods on the barrier island.

Read more from NBC Miami.

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South Beach

‘Save jobs’: South Beach hospitality workers protest 2 a.m. booze ban outside Miami Beach City Hall

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Photo: Pedro Portal/Miami Herald

As city commissioners took steps Wednesday to create more regulations for clubs and bars, more than 100 South Beach hospitality workers marched to City Hall to speak out against a citywide referendum that seeks to gauge support for a push to roll back alcohol sales to 2 a.m. from 5 a.m.

Adriana Perez and Adrienne Trinidad, who both work at Mango’s Tropical Cafe, join a group of hospitality workers protesting outside Miami Beach City Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, against the proposed 2 a.m. rollback of alcohol service across the city as part of a Nov. 2 referendum. PEDRO PORTAL PPORTAL@MIAMIHERALD.COM

The protesters, who work at late-night clubs like Mango’s Tropical Cafe and the Clevelander, waved signs, wore matching T-shirts and shouted their opposition to any attempt at shutting down booze sales early.

A group of hospitality workers protested outside Miami Beach City Hall against the proposed 2 a.m. rollback of alcohol service across the city as part of a Nov. 2 referendum. PEDRO PORTAL PPORTAL@MIAMIHERALD.COM

Mango’s owner David Wallack led the crowd — estimated to be at least 170 workers and business leaders — in chants of “Stop the Lies” and “Vote No, Save Jobs.”

David Wallack, owner of Mango’s Tropical Cafe, joined a group of hospitality workers including his employees gathering outside Miami Beach City Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021, to protest the proposed 2 a.m. rollback of alcohol service across the city as part of a Nov. 2 referendum. PEDRO PORTAL PPORTAL@MIAMIHERALD.COM

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