Favourite Fives: Mike Codella

The NYPD has had more than it’s fair share of heroes, legendary cops who made a genuine difference to their neighbourhood and not just by supporting their local donut shop. Mike Codella is one of these heroes. A cop who couldn’t turn a blind eye to the blatant drug dealing ruining thousands of lives in his native New York. Who decided to take the bad guys down by doing whatever was necessary and breaking the (often ridiculous) rules of policing to get a result. Between 1986 and 1991 Mike patrolled the streets of the notorious Alphabet City causing both fear and respect amongst the biggest and baddest of Avenue D’s gangsters, so much so that he earned the name Rambo and had some serious money placed on his head. His hair-raising account of just how he survived these meaner than mean streets whilst also cleaning them up can be read in his thoroughly engrossing book Alphaville 1988: Welcome to Heroin City but before you read that, read Mike’s favourite five.

Item of Clothing

Sweat jacket

That’s an easy one, and since I own and operate a fight school here in NYC, I get to design my own and get feedback from other fighters,  I’d have to say hooded sweat jacket, with a zipper of course. Stylish and sporty. Any season, throw it on with a shirt under it or not.  It’s cool and easy, like I wish my life was.


The Godfather

A classic in more ways then one, The Godfather by Mario Puzo is without a doubt my favorite book. Growing up in New York and being of Italian decent, it hit cords and struck nerves I didn’t even know I possessed. Adopted into one of the greatest movies of all time, the book does things even the movie couldn’t.  Of course it’s more then just a crime novel. It’s the story of a family, struggles, honor, loyalty, jealousy, you name it the book has it all. Even murders! When I was writing Alphaville 1988: Welcome to Heroin City, I often reflected back to parts of The Godfather for inspiration. I’ve often said I’d love to write like Puzo, and do movies like Coppola.


John Cougar Mellencamp

I’m a little strange when it comes to music. My taste varies so much that I could listen to almost anything. I can listen to 3 Doors Down, Greenday, or The Rolling Stones one minute, then I could listen to Donna Summer and Michael Jackson the next. Older Michael Jackson that is. If I was going to pick one artist though, I think I’d have to say John Cougar Mellencamp. I’m not sure if he has the Cougar in right now, but that’s the way I like to think of him. Anyway, his music, especially the old stuff just brings me back in time every time I hear it. The guy knows how to sing, and his lyrics at least I think, are more then memorable. To me he’s a modern day poet. More I think than Springsteen and Dylan. That’s just my two cents coming from a guy that still says Walkman instead of ipod!


Leonardo Da Vinci

Man, I’m a Leonardo Da Vinci fan to the end. When most people think of art, they usually don’t think DaVinci, but the guy was a pure genius. One of the greatest minds the world has ever known. From his drawings and paintings like The Last Supper, to his Study of Hands, Head of A Man, Proportions Of The Human Figure I can go on and on. And that’s just stuff on canvas. His sculptures, and thoughts and ideas are out of this world. His concepts about astronomy, flight, mathematics, and so many other ventures that he wrote or illustrated upon are amazing. Yup, Da Vinci’s my artist for sure.

Something Else

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & My family

I have to say I have two something “elses”. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which I could speak about or write about for hours, and more importantly, my family. They ARE something else.  My beautiful wife Rita, and my two sons Marco and Santino, and my princess Bianca are the reasons I keep fighting the good fight.  I know its cliche, but is all about family.  As I get older, I see things through my kids’ eyes, and it truly puts things into perspective and keeps me young.  If it wasn’t for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and my family, it’s hard for me to know where I’d be today. Certainly not here writing for you guys.


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