The Motion Lounge: Sonny Black's club
Mob Hangout in Brooklyn, New York
The Motion Lounge was located at 420 Graham Avenue in Brooklyn, New York.
The club served as a hangout for the Bonanno mafia family.
It was owned by Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano, a caporegime who controlled Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood during the 1970s and early 1980s.
Napolitano lived in an apartment above the club.
He was nicknamed "Sonny Black" because he used jet-black dye to color his graying hair.
Napolitano became a widely known name after an undercover FBI agent named Joseph D. Pistone famously infiltrated his crew.
Pistone, who went by the alias Donnie Brasco, was so successful that he was close to being inducted into the Bonanno family as a made man.
Brasco was a regular fixture at the Motion Lounge. There, he would hang around with Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero, Louis "Louie HaHa" Attanasio, Nicholas Santora, and other members of Sonny Black's crew.
The FBI ended Pistone's undercover operation in July 1981 after he was ordered to murder a rival mobster named Anthony "Bruno" Indelicato. By that point, investigators had gathered enough evidence to decimate the Bonanno family.
When the operation ended, federal agents walked into the Motion Lounge and showed Napolitano various photographs of the real Donnie Brasco.
The revelation clearly shook the capo.
His close friend and associate of 3–5 years was an undercover agent who knew intimate details about the organization's criminal enterprises.
To Napolitano, the photographs may as well have been a death warrant, as he knew that the bosses of the family weren't going to allow him to survive such a damaging oversight.
At the time, he was already in a precarious position, as he had recently stated his willingness to go to war against the acting boss of the family, Salvatore "Sally Fruits" Farrugia.
This apparent power play had put him in danger, while Brasco's infiltration isolated him from potential allies and thereby sealed his fate.
On August 17th, 1981, "Sonny Black" was summoned to a meeting at an associate's house. Knowing that he was about to be murdered, he handed his jewelry over to his favorite bartender at the Motion Lounge and then left.
Nearly one year later, his decomposed remains were found in a hospital bag in a creek on Staten Island. His killers had shot him to death and removed his hands—a symbolic act that highlighted his "embrace" of Brasco.
The Motion Lounge address
The address and the GPS coordinates for this location are as follows:
420 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, NY 11211, USA
To view directions on how to get there, you can use the Google Maps shortcut below:
The latitude and longitude coordinates for the club are:
It sits on the northeastern corner of Graham Avenue and Withers Street.
Details about the general area
It is situated in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Photos of the club and other related images.
The Motion Lounge
Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano lived in an apartment above the Motion Lounge.
He had pigeon coops on the roof of the building.
An FBI surveillance team photographed Napolitano tending to his pigeons shortly after he learned that Donny Brasco was an undercover agent. At the time, the capo was likely trying to come to grips with the enormity of the situation.
Following his disappearance, the FBI noticed workmen dissembling the pigeon coops.
Although Brasco's infiltration severely damaged Napolitano's standing in the family, it was not the sole justification for his murder.
In 2011, former Bonanno boss Joseph Massino testified in court that Sonny Black had threatened Salvatore "Sally Fruits" Farrugia, who was the acting boss of the family.
This "power play", coupled with the Brasco fiasco, led to his murder.
420 Graham Avenue
Image source: Google Maps
The club sat on the corner of Graham Avenue and Withers Street.
This is a colorized photograph of the Motion Lounge.
Actor Michael Madsen portrayed Sonny Black in the 1997 film Donnie Brasco.
It is worth noting that the movie is only loosely based on real-life events.
For example, Al Pacino's character, Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero, is a composite character, as he represents both "Lefty" and Sonny Black.
Furthermore, Pistone (Brasco) was actually closer to Sonny Black than Lefty.
The film hints that Lefty was killed for introducing Pistone to the family. However, in real life, it was Sonny Black who shouldered the blame.
The poignant scene where Lefty leaves his belongings behind at his apartment is based on the true story of Sonny Black handing his jewelry to a bartender at the Motion Lounge.
Lefty survived the Brasco incident, as the FBI arrested him shortly after the undercover operation ended.
The Motion Lounge in Donnie Brasco (1997)
A fictional version of the Motion Lounge appears in Donnie Brasco (1997).
This location belongs to the following categories:Notorious FiguresMafia LocationsNew York Mafia Locations
Other locations that are relatively close to this address:
Roughly one mile away.
Crime Location in Brooklyn, New York
Roughly 2 miles away.
Death Location in East Village, New York
Roughly 2 miles away.
Crime Location in Manhattan, New York
Roughly 3 miles away.
Death Location in Brooklyn, New York