Finding Richard Kuklinski
by Matthew D. Wittmer
Last updated June 2016
The early spring of 2012 marked a little over a year since my first reading of Philip Carlo’s book “The Ice Man” – a book about the life and times of mafia hit man Richard Kuklinski. I also reviewed the three HBO documentary interviews with Kuklinski and began to think about visiting some of the locales mentioned within Carlo’s text.
In August of 2012 I flew to New Jersey to visit Kuklinski’s former house in Dumont. Seeing what that neighborhood looked like today, finding where his house sits, experiencing what the air and sounds are like there informed my insight in a primary way that complements text and the documentaries can only inform about. Kuklinski had lived in Dumont for years while he worked as a contract killer for the mafia – something he never involved or ever informed his family about.
Since Kuklinski had worked for Mafia capo Roy DeMeo, I also visited the building that had been DeMeo’s infamous Gemini Lounge in Brooklyn where many murders had occurred. It was a place Richard was familiar with. I explored both sides of the Tappan Zee Bridge north of NYC, where Kuklinski met DeMeo and others in blue collar diners that provided anonymity to casually discuss murder contracts. The Tappan Zee was slated for replacement construction that then began in 2013, and is slated for completion in 2017.
Of particular interest on my 2012 trip was finding the spot where Richard used to go to feed ducks near his house, something he loved to do in the neighboring community of Demarest. So I located the spot and found ducks – still right there. The trip experience informed the design of a tattoo themed around all of this compiled research about Kuklinski. Tattoo artist Marc Durrant at MD Tattoo Studio did a mesmerizing job of skillfully bringing the resulting tattoo to life with a palette of over 20 colors.
America Undercover. The Ice Man Interviews: The Iceman Tapes, The Iceman, The Iceman and the Psychiatrist. Home Box Office. 2003. DVD.
Bruno, Anthony. The Ice Man: the true story of a cold-blooded killer. New York: Delacorte Press. 1993. Print.
Carlos, Philip. The Ice Man: Confessions of a mafia contract killer. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 2006. Print.
DeMeo, Albert. For the Sins of my Father: A mafia killer, his son, and the legacy of a mob life. New York: Broadway Books. 2002. Print.
Mustain, Gene and Jerry Capeci. Murder Machine: a true story of murder, madness, and the mafia. New York: Dutton Book. 1992. Print.
Sustainingtraces (Wittmer, Matthew). “Finding the byways of Richard Kuklinski.” Youtube.com. Youtube. Dec 12, 2012. Web. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRvXxVbDIIs> Link last accessed Jan 2016.