The Hole, New York City

Coordinates: 40°40′18″N 73°51′34″W / 40.6718°N 73.8595°W / 40.6718; -73.8595
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The Hole is a small neighborhood in New York City on the border between Brooklyn and Queens.[1] It is a low-lying area, with a ground level that is 30 feet (9.1 m) lower than the surrounding area.[2][3] The area is run-down, and suffers from frequent flooding.[4] It has been described as a "lost neighborhood",[3] and as resembling a border town from the Wild West.[2] It is generally bordered by Eldert Lane, 78th (Sapphire) Street, South Conduit Avenue, and Linden Boulevard. Nearby neighborhoods include East New York, Lindenwood, and Ozone Park.

The Hole is home to the New York City Federation of Black Cowboys.[5][6]

In the 1960s, the level of some streets within The Hole was raised and the streets paved, facilitating passage between South Conduit Avenue and Linden Boulevard. This required homes adjacent to the raised streets to build retaining walls with the first level of their houses now below grade. In 2004, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) made plans to connect the neighborhood to the city's sewer system to combat the flooding by raising the land.[2]

In 2010, filmmakers Courtney Fathom Sell and Billy Feldman made a short documentary about the neighborhood. The film includes interviews with some of the residents as well as members of the Federation of Black Cowboys. The film premiered at Rooftop Films in 2011 and has since been archived at the Brooklyn Historical Society & Anthology Film Archives.[7][3][8] Another film, focused on the residents living in the Hole, was made in 2016.[9]

The Hole is the site of an old Mafia graveyard, located in a vacant lot off of 78th (Sapphire) Street between Blake and Dumont Avenues.[10] In 1981, children playing in the lot found the body of Bonanno crime family capo Alphonse "Al" Indelicato, who, along with fellow Bonanno capos Philip "Philly Lucky" Giaccone and Dominick "Big Trin" Trinchera, had been killed several weeks before in a Brooklyn night club store room by rival Bonanno capo Joseph Massino and his associates.[11] In 2004, the bodies of Giaccone and Trinchera were dug up in the lot by FBI agents and New York City police detectives.[10][12] The bodies were disposed of in the lot as a favor by the crew of John Gotti, who had grown up with Massino.[11] Although not all of their bodies have been found, as many as six Mafia murder victims are believed by authorities to have been buried in the lot in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[10] These include John Favara, a Queens furniture store manager killed because he accidentally ran over the 12-year-old son of John Gotti, and Lucchese crime family members Joseph Spione and Thomas DeSimone, on whom Joe Pesci's character Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas was based.[13]


  1. ^ Dorr, Nate (July 22, 2009). "In the Hole | Photos | Impose magazine". Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Fisher, Janon (October 17, 2004). "Echoes of the Wild West Mark an Urban Frontier". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Asch, Mark (27 October 2010). "Brooklyn's Lost Neighborhood: The Hole". The L Magazine. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  4. ^ "Two Water Tables". BLDGBLOG. April 3, 2011. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  5. ^ Kilgannon, Corey (October 10, 2006). "Black Cowboys Ride the Range in Queens, and Keep a Sharp Lookout for Traffic". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  6. ^ Waddell, Robert (August 6, 1995). "THE FRESH AIR FUND; Black Cowboys Share Their Art With Urban Children". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  7. ^ Hurlburt, Gray (December 13, 2010). "The Hole: New York's Sunken Border Town". Death and Taxes. Archived from the original on December 4, 2015.
  8. ^ "Home". Archived from the original on November 13, 2015. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  9. ^ Evans, Lauren (October 5, 2015). "Welcome To The Hole, John Gotti's Rustic Body-Dumping Ground". Gothamist.
  10. ^ a b c Rashbaum, William K. (October 12, 2004). "F.B.I. Finds Human Bones at a Mob Dig". The New York Times. p. B1. Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  11. ^ a b Rashbaum, William K. (October 8, 2004). "In Court, Evidence Suggests Gotti Associates Buried Victims in Lot". The New York Times. p. B1. Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  12. ^ "Metro Briefing – New York: Manhattan: Human Remains Linked To Mob". The New York Times. December 21, 2004. p. B6. Retrieved 2019-12-13.
  13. ^ Castellani, Anne (December 21, 2004). "Remains of Mafia captains identified". CNN. Retrieved 2019-12-13.

External links[edit]

40°40′18″N 73°51′34″W / 40.6718°N 73.8595°W / 40.6718; -73.8595