i happened to know Valachi from around Harlem. i dont understand the meaning of happened to in this sentence. if any one could help me understand this phrase, i would be very glad.
thanks in advance
Ask yourself why the author didn't phrase, "[I] happened to know Valachi from around Harlem" differently.
Speak the words out loudly and notice the rhythm of the phrase - you will get a feeling of what the word "happened" imparts to the whole phrase.
In this case it is "by lucky or happy coincidence".