10. Theatre 80 St. Marks
Lorcan Otway, the owner of the Theatre 80 and the William Barnacle Tavern on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village, opened his museum dedicated to all things mafia nearly ten years ago. But it is Otway’s inadvertent history with the mob that makes it thoroughly interesting.
When his father, a struggling actor, bought the location from Walter Scheib, he knew it was a former speakeasy and one of the East Village’s mob hangouts: the basement even doubled as an escape tunnel. But when the senior Otway searched the location, he found a safe with $2 million: after informing Scheib, the alleged gangster took the money and disappeared. The rusty safe, along with another, is now on display in the museum. You can even visit the tunnels that enabled Scheib’s escape (though he would be murdered shortly thereafter).