Location: 265 East 10th Street
He had a million names and known aliases but back when Charley Lucky Luciano was living in a tenement on East 10th Street, he was nothing more than Salvatore Lucania, an impoverished nine-year-old street urchin from the sulfur mining town, Lercara Friddi.
Fresh off the boat in April of 1906, the Luciana family led by the family’s ironhanded patriarch, Antonio, settled in a tenement at 265 East 10th in the slums of the Lower East Side.
P.S. 10: “Worst Time In My Whole Life”
Salvatore didn’t speak a word of English when he enrolled in P.S. 10, and he took an instant dislike to authority figures. He later told Martin Gosh and Richard Hammer, authors of The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano:
…wasn’t easy to go to an American school and not know a goddamn word of English…in my whole life, that was the worst time I ever experienced, the first couple of years at P.S. 10.
With a massive inferiority complex driving him forward, Luciano formed a multi-national pack of knickers-wearing hooligans and began pick-pocketing, plundering apple carts, and most importantly—cutting school. On these same streets, Luciano met Meyer Lansky while trying to shake Lansky down for his lunch money.
Salvatore Lucania: The Bad One
Beside himself with grief over his rotten son-of-a-bitch kid, whom neighbors called “The Bad One,” Antionio beat Salvatore for skipping school. Then he beat him for not having a job. When Antonio discovered that his son did in fact have a job; and it was crime, he beat him some more. The beatings continued and so did the stealing and the skipping of school—until truant officers caught up with Salvatore.
On June 25, 1911, The Board of Education sentenced the boy to the Truant School for a term of four months. Lucky Luciano later quipped:
…what a kid learns in that place is how to steal better…
Hats and Narcotics, A Delivery Service
On his release, Luciano swore to his pop that he would go straight. He got a job as a delivery boy at the Goodman Hat Company where he was struck by bight idea: while I’m out delivering hats, why not also deliver dope?
Days later, Luciano spotted the limousine of the local drug pusher parked in front 265 East 10th Street. The young mastermind began polishing the limo with a rag. When the pusher emerged from the building, he tossed Luciano a quarter. Hurling the quarter back, Luciano offered instead to deliver drugs, taking his first step into what would one day be a narcotics empire.
Salvatore Becomes Charley Lucano
The drug/hat delivery route didn’t last long. In 1916, the nineteen year old Luciano was caught with a vial of heroin stashed in a hat box. Eight months later, Lucky emerged from reform school with a brand new nickname, Charley, which of course his father detested.
The final straw came when Antonio found a stolen solid gold belt buckle in his son’s bedroom. Antonio was so enraged that he wrapped the buckle around his fist, punched Luciano and threw his son out of the apartment for good.
However, for the next sixteen years, even when he was living in the posh Waldorf Astoria and Barbizon Plaza hotels, whenever Charley Lucky Luciano was arrested, he gave 265 East 10th Street as his address, sending the coppers straight to his dear old dad’s doorstep.