Netflix’s ‘Fear City: New York vs The Mafia‘ is an incredible docuseries that explores the world of organized crime in the 70s and 80s, and how the FBI worked for years to bring them down. We’ll be honest, while we got a lot of insight about what was going on in the mob from federal attorneys, special agents, and mob figures themselves, the one person who intrigued us the most was Curtis Sliwa, the founder of Guardian Angels. It may have been because of the location of his interview, or his commanding narrative, or his anti-crime actions, but we just wanted to know more about him. If you, like us, are here for the same thing, you’ve come to the right place.
Who Is Curtis Sliwa?
Curtis Sliwa was born into a Catholic family of Polish and Italian descent, in Canarsie, Brooklyn on March 26, 1954 (age 66). Having lived his entire life in New York, he was no stranger to knowing and experiencing the terror of the Mafia and their violent ways. Therefore, he left his job as a night manager of a McDonald’s restaurant in the Bronx, and in May 1977, established “Magnificent 13,” consisting of a group of volunteers to combat the crime in the New York City Subway. At that point traveling underground was “an exercise in urban survival” so, he had felt the need to do something.
What started as a group of him and a dozen other dedicated volunteers riding the subways to serve and protect the everyday, normal citizens of the city grew to be a massive organization, which, in 1979, was renamed as the “Guardian Angels.” Their uniform – a military-type red beret and white insignia T-shirt – and actions garnered a reaction that was both positive and negative, but the volunteers didn’t stop their work. And, in 1992, Curtis received the prestigious Courage of Conscience Award from the Peace Abbey in Boston.
The anti-crime activist had gone on to become a radio show host as well, where he was constantly talking about how the city was being run not by the law enforcement or the government, but by the Mafia. In 1992, he was kidnapped and shot by two gunmen. This murder attempt, which he, fortunately, survived without any long-lasting injuries was apparently ordered by John A. Gotti, from the Gambino crime family, because he was furious about Curtis’s remarks on his father. However, even after 3 trials, the jury couldn’t convict Gotti.
Where Is Curtis Sliwa Now?
Curtis Sliwa still works as the founder and CEO of Guardian Angels, whose motto, “we dare to care,” proved that normal individuals with a strong enough willpower can bring about change and even save lives. These days, the organization operates in thirteen countries and over one hundred cities, having approximately 5,000 members. The “Junior Angels” program, their Youth Outreach programs, and their Washington Heights Community Center provides help to the younger generation, whether it be homework or food-related, all the while getting them actively involved in their community.
Currently, Curtis Sliwa hosts a radio show on 77 WABC and has a podcast on the same by the name of “Curtis and Juliet.” He also recently announced that he would be running for The Mayor of New York City in the 2021 elections as a Republican, hoping to be the 110th mayor of the city. Curtis has been married a total of four times, and now, with his rescue cats and fourth wife, Nancy Regula, attorney and Director of Animal Protection in the Guardian Angels organization, he resides on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.
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