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The Mob Ran a Heroin Operation Out of Original Ray's

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A new book called Mob Boss about mafioso-turned-snitch Alfonso "Little Al" D'Arco goes into the sordid history of the original Ray's Pizza on Prince Street. As the story goes, the pizza shop was opened in 1959 by Ralph "Raffie" Cuomo, a hoodlum with a penchant for pizza-making. The restaurant quickly became a hangout for the "Prince Street Crew," and a home base for a large narcotics operation run by the Luchese crime family. The mobsters allegedly handled the cash and heroin in the basement of Ray's, right beneath the pizza ovens.

Because the food operation was successful enough on its own, Cuomo branched out to a second location, which he quickly sold. Then someone bought that name, and the copycats started popping up. But according to D'Arco's story, drug-dealing was Cuomo's main source of revenue. The Manhattan D.A.'s office placed bugs in the pizzeria on three separate occasions, but they still couldn't catch Cuomo and his cronies in the act. Cuomo went to jail several times throughout his life, but he always came back to the kitchen at Ray's once he got out. His family sold the building after he died in 2008 and now the space is Prince Street Pizza.
· Secret Mob History of Ray's Pizza [NYP]
· All Coverage of Ray's Pizza [~ENY~]
[photo credit]

Ray's Pizza

27 Prince St., New York, NY