Story ideas, email me at mike.kirby1@gmail.com

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Looking for Danny Constance

Beardsleys restaurant today

I called Danny Constance in 1999, but he didn’t want to talk to me. “Do you want to talk about the 80s, Danny?” I asked, and there was a long pause. He was thinking about it. “No,” he finally said in this gravelly voice, “I don’t think I do.” He was polite, but firm. I never met the man..

There were all kinds of tantalizing references in federal records to the man that ran Beardsleys, the French restaurant on Main Street that become the symbol of Northampton in the eighties. A FBI tape recording that disappeared. Subpoenas that never got served. And a great deal of Heritage commercial paper on his restaurant and other joint ventures. It was intriguing that the area’s leading bank was financing someone who was a kingpin in the Valley’s numbers racket, someone who had links to organized crime, someone who was eventually arrested for money laundering and sentenced to federal prison.Click here to read full story

6 comments:

  1. Broken link to the rest of the story

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  2. Mike this is a fascinating read. But you go one detail wrong - Danny didn't move Beardsley's from Button St to Main. It was the second owner, Nick ? who I worked for as a waiter. He (and his father) turned it into a beautiful oak-panneled place - I even helped sand the oak! Danny bought it after it was beatified.

    Wish you'd do a similar study of the previous Beardsley's owners - that too is wild times and fascinating characters - Chuck Belea, the first owner and Tibetan monk who with 4 friends including the second owner, used the proceeds from the restaurant to support a communal household that included real Tibetan monks. He's rumored to be a Taoist monk in Taiwan. I saw him walk thru a speeding car during one of our Casteneda-inspired acid trips. James Rehm was a waiter now living in Japan. The bartender was Dennis DeLap. I was a dishwasher, then waiter. Saw alot of coke and wild times flow thru that place.

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  3. Danny Constance was a good guy.

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  4. I was a waiter for Danny and now manage a restaurant in North Carolina. He taught me a great deal, and I use him as training tool for all our younger staff. He was tough to work for, but I lasted 4 years and owe a lot of my knowledge to him.

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  5. Yes, you really should dig deeper. Danny (and his thug connections) were the ultimate end of the Studio 54 era that the 80's represented in Northampton.

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  6. I met Danny in the mid 80's when I lived on Nantucket. Spent some time on the beautiful Emerald City. He spent alot of time on Nantucket and bought a very expensive painting from Marshal Duboc called 'September' he was very generous and gave me the signed and numbered print of the same painting as a gift. I was young and beautiful then and Danny liked young beautiful women.

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