With the development of any book, there is a story behind the story.
This is a story about Brooklyn.
Or rather, it’s a book about the dark side of where we’re from.
Writing “Brooklyn’s Most Wanted – Ranking the Top 100 Most Notorious Criminals, Crooks and Creeps from the County of the Kings” was a long journey that started many years before I picked up a pen or punched a key.
I remember as a boy I felt bad for the rest of children of the world, who weren’t fortunate to grow up in Brooklyn, the County of Kings.
I could not imagine such a childhood, to never play the 18th Avenue Boys in stickball with the 76 th Street Bombers, cool off in the johnny pump on those notorious hot summer days, catch the B line out to Coney Island to ride the Cyclone at night on the shores of Brighton, or just gather up the honeys and the heads to hit the a rooftop tar beach high above the broken streets.
While this work is a compendium of the least desirable and most despicable, together they form a backdrop for a unique aspect of Brooklyn.
When you grow up in Brooklyn as I did (born in Greenpoint, raised in Bensonhurst), you pick up a sense of pride that Brooklyn is better, bolder, brasher.
Needless to say, the same goes for the criminals, crooks, creeps and corrupt politicians.
I grew up on these streets, and as children we knew who the wise guys were and what it meant to walk down that path. I was fortunate enough to have two parents, both New York City school teachers who worked in some of the roughest neighborhoods of Brooklyn, who refused to allow me to linger late on those street corners.
Make no mistake, the overwhelming majority of the subjects in this work are reprehensible, having damaged and destroyed countless lives. Yet they have been an indelible part of the Brooklyn experience, for better, for worse.
My primary objective of this work was not to glorify these disgraceful characters, but rather reflect on the damage they wrought and rank them in terms of notoriety.
To compile such a list, I selected 34 individual indicators that each carry a different weighting when calculating the overall scores. Indicators range from type of criminal activity (i.e. murder, extortion, crimes against children) and type of criminal (i.e. white-collar criminal, pedophile priest, mob boss).
While not revealing the actual weighting formula, the indicators are as follows:
This formula also takes into account elements of notoriety (i.e. media coverage, movie treatment, documentaries, household name recognition).
Lastly, I looked at the individual in relation to Brooklyn (i.e. born in Brooklyn, percentage of crimes committed in Brooklyn).
The indicators were based on objective facts and data, as well as subjective opinion of the author and a select committee of researchers and real true crime fans.
As with all such systems, the ranking methodology here has its limits and these imperfections are certain to inspire criticism and heated debate. There is no perfect system, though I welcome your comments to improve our ranking methodology.
Let the debate begin!
You are encouraged to submit your opinions to the author at [email protected]
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