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Posts Tagged ‘Lucky Luciano’

Joe the Boss Masseria, Giuseppe Masseria, Joe Masseria Umberto Valenti, Lucky Luciano, Charley Luciano, John’s of 12th Street, Salvatore D’Aquila, Toto D’Aquila, 302 East 12th Street , Vito Genovese

Joe Masseria’s Revenge

Location: 302 East 12th Street 

Status: Standing

 

Smarting over the recent attempt on his life, which had left two bullet holes through his hat and another two holes through his coat, Joe Masseria plotted bloody revenge in epic Italian Renaissance fashion.

 

Toto D’Aquila’s Chief Assassin

 

The target of his wrath was Umberto Valenti, a seriously wily character who had blasted those bullet holes through Masseria’s hat and coat. According to the New York Times in 1915, Valenti was:

…alleged to have arranged more shootings than any other man in the city…

 

oe the Boss Masseria, Giuseppe Masseria, Joe Masseria Umberto Valenti, Lucky Luciano, Charley Luciano, John’s of 12th Street, Salvatore D’Aquila, Toto D’Aquila, 302 East 12th Street , Vito Genovese

In the guise of peace treaty, Joe Masseria lured Umberto Valenti to John’s of 12th Street for his last meal.

 

A former Black Hand extortionist, it was rumored that Valenti had killed over 20 men, a number of whom had been Masseria’s closest advisors. The thirty four year old Valenti was the chief assassin of Salvatore “Toto” D’Aquila, the New York Mafia’s supreme ruler, a Mafioso who was locked in vicious mob war with Masseria and his chief strategist Giuseppe “the Clutch Hand” Morello.

 

However, Masseria’s seemingly supernatural bullet dodging powers had given the hard noised, but superstitious, Valenti second thoughts. Second thoughts that had him suing for peace and walking into an ambush in one of New York’s most storied Italian restaurants, John’s of 12th Street, on August 11, 1922, a restaurant that has been used as a set on Boardwalk Empire and the Sopranos.

 

Joe the Boss Masseria, Giuseppe Masseria, Joe Masseria Umberto Valenti, Lucky Luciano, Charley Luciano, John’s of 12th Street, Salvatore D’Aquila, Toto D’Aquila, 302 East 12th Street , Vito Genovese

1.Umberto Valenti emerges from John’s of 12th Street. Lucky Luciano and another assassin open fire. 2. Valenti draws a revolver and is hit in the chest with a bullet. He staggers to a waiting taxicab and dies. 3. The gunmen shoot two innocent bystanders before disappearing into a tenement.

 

Well Dressed Gunmen: Vito Genovese and Lucky Luciano

 

Whether or not Valenti sampled the chicken parmigiana before being croaked has been lost to the winds of history. However, some time around noon, Valenti and six laughing companions emerged from their luncheon. Walking eastward, smiles turned into frowns. Suddenly, Valenti spooked and bolted towards Second Avenue as two slick, well-dressed gunmen whipped out revolvers and fired. Gangland legend holds that one of the shooters was none other than Charley “Lucky” Luciano, Masseria’s newest protégé (the other shooter was probably Vito Genovese).

 

The candle in John's of 12th Street was lit to celebrate the end of prohibition.

The candle in John’s of 12th Street was lit to celebrate the end of prohibition.

Pandemonium on 12th Street

 

As the shots flew, pandemonium broke loose on 12th Street. Whirling around, the feared assassin drew a revolver just as a bullet flew through his chest.

 

A teenage witness told the New York Times:

It was the coolest thing I ever saw. People were shrieking and running in all directions, and this fellow calmly fired shot after shot. He did not move until he had emptied his weapon. With blood spurting from his clothing, Valenti tried to raise up his pistol but his wounds prevented him from doing so. He made for a waiting taxicab, collapsing on the Northwest corner of 12th Street. (Click to read the original NY Times story)

 

Luciano’s Escape

 

Despite Valenti’s death, the friendly Luciano and his pals weren’t done yet. A crowd formed to block the gunmen’s escape so the mobsters opened fire, hitting a street sweeper and a little girl visiting from New Haven Connecticut. The shots dispersed the crowd, and the hitmen disappeared into a nearby tenement.

 

Should I Bring Pajamas? 

 

Masseria was arrested for the murder.  During his arrest, he supposedly grinned and asked the police:

… whether he would need a nightshirt remarking, that the last time he slept in the station house they forgot to give him a pillow or pajamas.

 

For a job well done, Joe Masseria elevated Luciano to a leadership position at his headquarters in the Hotel Pennsylvania. All murder charges were eventually dropped, and Masseria, on his way to becoming Joe the Boss, set his sights on Valenti’s overlord, Toto De Aquila, New York’s boss of bosses.

 

However, John’s of 12th had another infamous last meal lined up twenty years later. The victim would be Carlo Tresca.

 

Joe the Boss Masseria, Giuseppe Masseria, Joe Masseria Umberto Valenti, Lucky Luciano, Charley Luciano, John’s of 12th Street

Whether or not Umberto Valenti sampled the chicken parmigiana before being croaked has been lost to the winds of history.

 

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Location: 265 East 10th Street 

Status: Standing

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.

 

Lucky Luciano, Charley Lucky, Salvatore Luciana, 265 East 10th Street

Born Salvatore Luciana, Charley Lucky Luciano grew up in this tenement at 265 East 10th Street. His parents would live here until 1933.

 

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.

Lucky Luciano, Charley Lucky, Salvatore Luciana, 265 East 10th Street

Lucky Luciano lived here at 265 East 10th Street

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.

Luciano’s multi-national gang of knickers-wearing hooligans who terrorized East 10th Street must have looked something like this.

Luciano’s multi-national gang of knickers-wearing hooligans who terrorized East 10th Street must have looked something like this.

 

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.

Lucky Luciano, Charley Lucky, Salvatore Luciana, 265 East 10th Street

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Salvatore Maranzano, Helmsley Building, New York Central Building The Helmsley Building is the site of the Salvatore Maranzano Murder.

230 Park Ave.

Status: Landmarked

By the fall of 1931, Salvatore Maranzano had clawed his way to the pinnacle of the New York underworld, one bullet riddled corpse named Giuseppe at a time. During the 1930-31 Castellammarese Mafia War, the Julius Caesar obsessed mob chieftain and his allies roved the Five Boroughs in bulletproof Cadillacs, equipped with swivel mounted belt-fed machine guns, popping Giuseppes like squirrels.

First to eat lead was Giuseppe “The Clutch Hand” Morello, the claw fingered capo de tutti capo of the New York Mafia, and his aide, Giuseppe Pirariano. Next to be fitted for pine overcoats by Maranzano’s torpedos were Giuseppe “Fat Joe” Pinzolo and Giuseppe “Joe the Baker” Catania, leaving behind one last living Giuseppe. Maranzano’s arch rival: the corpulent, bullet dodging, Giuseppe “Joe the Boss” Massaeria.

GiuseppeMasseria Giuseppe “Joe The Boss” Masseria was the last Giuseppe to feel Maranzano’s bite.

Walking with Vanderbilts

Working with the vigor of a machine age tycoon, Maranzano put the blast to last of his rivals, convinced Lucky Luciano to betray his overlord, Joe the Boss, and unified the American Mafia, like Rockefeller had monopolized oil. And like Rockefeller, Gotham’s newest kingpin needed a headquarters befitting his swollen ego, a command center that projected opulence and power and sophistication, a place where Maranzano could rub shoulders with Vanderbilts, stock brokers, and advertising execs.

That place was the New York Central Railroad Building at 230 Park Avenue.  A sky-scraping, neo-renaissance, 32 story spire, rising out of the center of Park Avenue, the New York Central Building (now the Helmsely Building), as it was then called, towered over Grand Central Station, giving William K. Vanderbilt II’s office a majestic panorama of the city. It would be a picturesque spot for a gangland assassination.

HelmsleyBuilding2Web After unifying the the American Mafia, Salvatore Maranzano moved his offices to the New York Central Railroad Building, a place where he could rub shoulders with stock brokers and Vanderbilts.

A Vast Criminal Empire

From the 9th floor office of his Eagle Building Corporation, Maranzano oversaw a vast criminal empire of speakeasies, hard cider farms, and a fishing fleet that fronted for a $20 million a year immigrant smuggling network. However, a scant three months into his reign, the empire began to crumble. IRS agents were battering down the doors, the INS wanted him deported, and Lucky Luciano wanted him dead, a problem Maranzano hoped to remedy at 2:00pm, September 30, 1931.

Helmsley_Building Now known as the Helmsley Building, The New York Central Building would be a picturesque location for the murder of Salvatore Maranzano.

Double Booking A Meeting with Death

It seems Maranzano had double booked a meeting with Luciano to coincide with a courtesy-call by noted machine gun artist, freelance assassin, and all around psychopath, Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll. But as usual, Lucky was lucky.  A four man team of Murder Inc. shooters from Meyer Lansky’s and Dutch Shultz’s mobs arrived on Luciano’s behalf, beating Coll to the punch.

Salvatore Maranzano, Lucky Luciano, Mad Dog Coll, Joe the Boss Masseria, Maranzano’s office was in the New York Central Building, 230 Park Avenue.

Whipping out detective’s badges, the revolver brandishing assassins howled, “We’re the police,”  before lining-up everyone in the office against a wall. Snapping open switchblades, they stormed Maranzano’s private chamber, hoping to silently eliminate the mob boss, but their target proved tougher than a billy goat.

Murder_Inc Yelling, “We’re the police” Four Murder Inc. gunmen posing as plain clothes detectives stormed Maranzano’s office.

Maranzano Tough as an Old Billy Goat

A flurry of rights and lefts knocked the fedoras from the gunmen’s heads, and they let Maranzano have it, stabbing him six times and pumping five bullets into his body as Mad Dog Coll made his way up to Maranzano’s office. The gangsters scrambled down the steps, bumping into Coll as they ditched their revolvers and bloody knives, before disappearing into the crowds of Midtown. Lucky Luciano was now the new king of the New York underworld.

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