The six bigger-than-burly men waiting outside the Papavero funeral parlor in Queens, where John Gotti’s services were held on Saturday, have a way of making people disappear. No — not that way. As a steady line of Lincoln Town Cars pulled up, the dapper giants opened enormous golf umbrellas to shield the camera shy from view during that short trip to the front door. And it wasn’t even raining. Still, some of the fashionable preferred to make the walk alone. Dark suits were the order of the day, not only for men but for women like Victoria Gotti, Jr., though one mourner turned up in a tiered gypsy skirt and another opted for gray pinstripes.

Maspeth residents, who refer to the don as a hero and a businessman, had never seen anything like it. “Would you look at this,” gasped one man as Gotti’s bronze casket passed and the news helicopters swirled overhead. “They wouldn’t even do this for the President.””

This story first appeared in the June 17, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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