Best spot to watch nervous mobsters and their lawyers eat club sandwiches - 2006
Park Plaza Diner
If mob watchers were ornithologists, they'd flock daily to Brooklyn's Park Plaza Diner on Cadman Plaza West. This sprawling piece of Queens Boulevard transported to Brooklyn Heights is the morning meeting place for indictees and their attorneys. Breakfast is followed by a ritual stroll across the park to the federal courthouse, where their fate awaits them. The Park Plaza is where the wonderfully tabbed "Mafia cops" Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa—convicted (and then unconvicted by the judge) in eight mob hits—dined daily during their three-week-long trial. They were following in the culinary footsteps of the late John Gotti—then in his Teflon, prosecution-defeating phase—who started the trend shortly after the diner opened in the mid 1980s. Gotti, surrounded by his retinue, enjoyed the corner booth. On weekday mornings, men wearing substantial amounts of gold jewelry and well-tailored suits can be seen squeezed into the jumbo booths overlooking the street, keeping a watchful eye on all who walk through the door. They are back again at lunch, their appetites frequently somewhat reduced by the morning's testimony.