The story of New York in the 1950s—of Rat Pack cool and the fading of the Mob’s glamour, brilliantly told through the prism of Madison Square Garden

New York in the Fifties was the most interesting and most vibrant place in the world. The city's headlines were filled with two mesmerizing subjects: one bloody and brutal but the king of sports, the other simply bloody and brutal. The Fifties were boxing’s last real heyday. Never again would the sport be so glamorous or so popular. And that’s where New York’s other gift to the world—the Mob—came in.

Gangsters have been around for boxing’s entire history, but in the Fifties they had a special connection. Most of the decade’s major fights took place at boxing’s spiritual home, Madison Square Garden, and most of the deals that made or ruined the lives of the era’s outstanding fighters were done on a famous strip of pavement across the road from the Garden: Jacobs Beach. And the man ruling that strip of pavement was a charming Italian murderer called Frankie Carbo.

ABOUT Kevin Mitchell


    Kevin Mitchell is the Observer’s chief sports writer. He lives in London. 

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