Sinatra, Gotti and Me: The Rise and Fall of Jilly’s Nightclub by Tony Delvecchio and Rich Herschlag

Reviewed by Allen Hott

What a great story! For those who have always followed the lives of some of our somewhat shady performers Sinatra, Gotti, and Me is a well-told story of how it goes for those folks.

The media for years has followed the lives of the rich and famous. They have also give a view of the mob/gangster element that lives in our society. This book tells that story from an insider’s view. The involvement of the mob with some of the well-known entertainers and their haunts has always been an interesting phenomenon for most of us to read about and contemplate. Reading Tony Delvecchio’s own words of his associations just makes the concept that much more real.

Tony tells of a horrendous act that he was forced to suffer because of stealing a small amount of money as a young boy. He believed that that act changed the way he ended up living his life. And he never regretted the direction that he went in.

He could have become a “wiseguy” and many people actually believed that he in fact was. However he was not one but because of his bringing up by various members of the mind and his later friendships he basically enjoyed most of the benefits and even some of the downsides of organized crime.

Because of his abilities as a manager type of person and because of wanting to get away from the possibility of a life of crime, Delvecchio with some backing from one of his old buddies opened a bar in Delaware New Jersey. Although the leaders of the town didn’t appreciate him, the locals who lived there really enjoyed the place and turned it into a great spot.

And then he got a huge break. A former kid whom Delvecchio had known years ago had made it big as a lawyer and prosecutor. That friend asked Delvecchio to join him in restarting Jilly’s restaurant in New York. Jilly’s had been a major hangout for entertainers and the social circle of New York in the 1960’s. Jilly Rizzo had allowed it to close. Delvecchio and his friend reopened and hired Jilly himself back as a greeter sort.

With Delvecchio’s somewhat criminal past and Jilly’s connections the whole thing seemed to be a natural. Now they would have the celebrities and the top “wiseguys” all as customers and as draws for the average person who loved to see and try to imagine how these folks lived.

There are many stories about the rich and famous from Sinatra, Gotti, and Joe Pesci to some lesser-known folks. All of these add up to a really great read. The story is a character study of Tony Delvecchio and how he lived his life. But that is woven into the story of Jilly’s and the many characters that populated the hangout. Well-told and easy to read (a little excess profanity but to be expected among these folks).

Disclosure in Accordance with FTC Guidelines 16 CFR Part 255

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