For years before his conviction, it was a common sight on New York television to see John Gotti and some of his cohorts "going for a walk" for several blocks from his headquarters at the Ravenite club on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. The technique, dubbed "walk/talk" by the boys, had them talking in true gangster style with lips barely moving.
All this was to avoid being overheard and also to frustrate lip-reading experts from picking up their conversations. The Gotti forces understood their headquarters itself was assuredly bugged, so they opted for walk/talks to solve their dilemma. It was wasted effort. The FBI had not simply bugged the club but had stationed cameras on surrounding streets with bugs and zoom lenses. And that was only the beginning of the woes for the Gotti forces.
One time after the Gotti parade had gone on its usual walk/talk route, going perhaps two blocks, turning left for another two or more blocks, then right a bit further, they felt they were now safely away from the Ravenite area bugging. But they were not.
Sammy "the Bull" Gravano happened to peer into a partially opened van parked on a street. The Bull noticed the man inside was looking at a television screen. And there was the Gotti parade—live! Gravano rushed to inform Gotti and the information even rattled the dapper don. "How could that be?" he said.
A couple of Gotti's musclemen hustled over to harass the snoop, demanding to know who he was.
The man turned off the screen and said tersely, "You know who I am."
Sammy joined in the needling, asking if they would be shown on TV. The law enforcement man needled back, "All I can tell you is we have very sophisticated equipment," and he drove off.
Back at the Ravenite, Gotti announced a counterplot. From then on they would get into a car and drive some 20 blocks away and get out (they assumed their vehicle was bugged as well). Then, said Gotti, "We'll just get out and start walking and go to different spots every day."
It was not known if the tactic frustrated the FBI, but Gotti dropped the routine after only a few times. It was too much trouble, apparently. Undoubtedly it also reflected the level of concentration of the mobsters compared to that of the FBI.
There was another factor: It was a blow to Gotti's vanity when suddenly he was not shown on TV that much, something the crime boss was very unhappy about. As Gravano explained, he "was falling in love with himself."