“Let’s have a nice meal and work out this problem, the loan shark looked at Jerry D’amore — (oldest cousin and godfather to Author Jon D’Amore), who provides unforgettable moments central to the book and sarcastically said: “You got a problem?” “I ain’t got no problem,” Jon says.
“I just love the book, it was a great book; very full of intrigue and excitement,” says North Bergen resident Barbara Kennedy.”
“I always tell him it’s gonna be bigger than ‘The Godfather,’” says Gerri Aquino of Union City.
According to Jon, Union City’s always been the melting pot of America and he hopes it never stops.
“When I come back to New Jersey they say welcome home. No matter where I stay, no matter where I go in New Jersey,” the author says. “But there’s only one place that is really home — is really coming back and that’s Union City.”
Some people make noise and tell Jon he shouldn’t say the things he talks about in the book or that those things never really happened.
“People want to deny what is really part of the Italian culture, not just in Hudson County, not just in New Jersey but it happened all over America,” Jon says.
“Those who don’t have a clue as to the kind of culture I was just talking about. It’s to fill them in on a few things they need to know in order to understand what it’s like to grow up Italian in Hudson County, NJ during the great eras of the 1950s, 60s and 70s,” Jon says.
Living on the edge of the mob had its best and worst parts.
“The best: I can’t tell ya, I’d have to kill ya,” Jon says. “And the worst: They couldn’t tell me or they’d have to kill me.”
And those experiences definitely shaped Jon.
“It was the best of times and it was the worst of times,” he says.
The author has plenty of fans who really wanted to see him for many different reasons.
“It’s great having him back in town,” Kennedy says. “I’m a teacher in Cliffside Park and he’s coming to my school.”
“It’s good to have Jon, Jon D’Amore back because he’s a Union City boy and he wrote this great book,” says Commissioner Lucio Fernandez.
Union City resident Vincent Bonito wanted to see Jon because of the author’s “interest in the Italian community of the past” and also because Bonito is an aspiring writer himself.
“He was friends with my family, he’s been for years,” Aquino says. “So we haven’t seen him in a while, so it’s good to see him again.”
“25th and 42nd Streets may have been my neighborhoods but Union City was my universe. Everything I wanted and needed was here.