A Slice of Mafia With Your Sparkling Water?

The city's king distributor of bottled beverages likes the wiseguys

What Jackie did outside of work wasn't his concern. "His own life has nothing to do with me. My relation with him is strictly business. That's the situation, y'know?"

He then graciously extended an invitation to join him at his club. "See me tonight at the Lone Star Boat Club; it's on West 54th Street." About an hour later, he called back. "Listen, I can't talk to you no more." Had D'Amico told him to cancel the invitation? "No, no. Just forget it, OK?"

But this is a hard man to forget. Hershkowitz showed up in a Times story in 2005 after the death of actor Jerry Orbach, a friend who also belonged to the Lone Star club. There Hershkowitz was known as "Big H," a gruff-talking pinochle player, the Times reported. As Hal Irving, he also showed up as the subject of testimony in 2006, when a former Gambino captain named Michael DiLeonardo took the witness stand against John A. Gotti, the don's son and successor. DiLeonardo described how Irving had supplied Jackie D'Amico with a job that "he could show the government," and a Jaguar.

The informant said he had once sat down in Irving's offices with D'Amico and another mobster to settle "a beef" about one of the profitable sales routes for Irving's beverage business. He also said that Irving had put up $50,000 to invest in Da' Noi, the swanky Upper East Side restaurant that Gotti Sr. had built on York Avenue, and where Irving was a regular.

What did Hal Irving get in exchange for all this help to the Gambino family, prosecutors asked the witness? "Protection," came the answer. "And Hal liked wiseguys. He had bragging rights."

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