Last updated: May 31. 2014 3:45PM - 689 Views

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Although I’m a die-hard football fan, the NBA piqued my interest this year more than ever. It’s the two NY teams I follow.

On Monday May 12, my wife and I ventured out to Barclays Center in Brooklyn to watch the Heat and the Nets. We enjoyed a great game and a thrilling finish. Also enjoyed the great LeBron James throwing a tantrum every time he was touched. No players’ autographs this time, although we did sit a few sections away from Denzel Washington and Floyd Mayweather.

Before returning home, we headed over to Mulberry Street for a late night snack at La Mela restaurant. There we ran into a face that we’ve seen in the neighborhood quite a few times in the past. This time, we found out just who he was … Frank “Butch the Hat” Aquilina.

We had a great conversation with The Hat, who played roles in movies like Goodfellas, Married to the Mob, and Analyze This. He said, there are no more real wise guys the likes of Joe Gallo and John Gotti. He then told us some fascinating stories about a lot of the restaurants on the street, including takes of numerous back door exits, just in case someone had to leave in a hurry and beat the traffic.

I’ve always enjoyed sharing photos and stories of some of the celebrities we’ve met down through the years, sports and otherwise. As I said, this individual we saw before, but we didn’t know exactly who he was until we saw his pictures in the wall at the restaurant along with other show biz personalities and talked to him. It was a great night.

- John Disanferdinand

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