Papa Smurf and the weird world of mobster names

From The New York Post:

One of them is believed by the authorities to be a mob associate who extorted owners of garbage-hauling companies in New York City suburbs. The other is believed to be at least 542 years old, very short and wise, with blue skin and a white beard.

One was arrested on Wednesday. The other stays close to his village, far from humans and laws and garbage-collection companies.

But they have the same name: Papa Smurf.

Fascination with mob nicknames goes back long before Vincent (Chin) Gigante, before Salvatore (Sammy the Bull) Gravano and Thomas (Tommy Karate) Pitera. For generations, G-men have been studiously scribbling down nicknames overheard on wiretap recordings for tough guys with tough nicknames like — literally — Thomas (Tough Tommy) Contaldo, Ettore (Killer) Coco and Anthony (Tony Miserable) Vellucci.

The nicknames were often the only names the federal agents had, as nobody seemed to know their names given at birth.

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