A Scheme on a Bluff: The View from Todt Hill Houses

 

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Marcy Houses has Jay-Z; Queensbridge has Nas and Mobb Deep; the most famous former resident of Todt Hill is Drita D’Avanzo, a daughter of Albanian immigrants who grew up in the Houses. This February MC Drita hosted “Louder than Love: Freestyle Valentine’s Ball” in Nassau County, but she is best known as a star of the VH1 reality show “Mob Wives.” Her husband Lee D’Avanzo was arrested under “Operation Turkey Shoot” while breaking into the Richmond County Savings Bank in 2009. He is widely considered the leader of a farm team for the Bonanno and Colombo crime family. Drita defied her parents to marry Lee, but she was with her mother visiting Todt Hill this March. She dropped in on old friends and had her picture taken with a young girl who recognized her. “What are you doing here?” the girl asked. “I was born in this building and lived here for fifteen years.”

The Houses have also been home to Earn EZ, who dodges frog splashes in Staten Island’s upstart DIY pro-wrestling organization Warriors of Wrestling; YouTube rapper Vicki Vicious (“Time’s ticking so I put my life between my bars and sentences”); and Timothy Gardner, currently building what he hopes will be the largest ball of rubber bands in history. Gardner began the ball, which now weighs 420 pounds and is on display at the Snug Harbor Museum, while living in Todt Hill Houses as an 11 year-old.

 

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