Sidewalksby Tom Deignan
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Not only did the temperatures soar into the 90s during the summer of 1776, it was, of course, also the year Washington, Franklin, Jefferson and even one (but only one) Irish Catholic revolutionary faced some serious heat from the British.
Earlier this month, I drove my wife and four kids to the City of Brotherly Love to walk those very same (and still hot!) streets where independence was declared over two centuries ago.
I never met Mickey Spillane, the so-called "gentleman" gangster who ran the infamous Westies for decades. But I did have the privilege and pleasure of knowing his son, Bobby Spillane, who died this past weekend following what by most accounts was a terrible accident on the Hell's Kitchen Manhattan streets he knew so well.
According to police, Bobby had been leaning out the sixth floor window of an apartment building, perhaps calling after his brother Michael, when the screen gave way. Family members have noted that Bobby had been wearing a sling. This may have prevented him from properly balancing himself.
Spillane fell out of the window and was later pronounced dead. He was just 45 years old.
Looking at this unjust turn of events, there is a temptation to simply note that another member of one of the most infamous Irish clans in New York history is gone. There is a temptation to note that another slice of Irish Hell's kitchen has been lost.
Before Bernie Madoff, there was Thomas F. Quinn.
Who was also known as Robert Dzigi, Pele Lechien, Tasos Douros, among other aliases quite exotic for an Irish kid from Brooklyn.