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Posts Tagged ‘Meyer Lansky’

Lucky Luciano Apartment Waldorf Astoria

Status: Standing

Location: 301 Park Avenue, Suite 39C

 

Sidestepping bullets, one-way rides and innumerable gang wars, he grew to be the master of prohibition era New York. He was vain, narcissistic, and volatile, a textbook sociopath, but he was also fabulously wealthy, an attribute about which most people could not boast during the Great Depression.

 

By the mid-1930s, Salvatore Lucky Luciano wanted to kickback and enjoy the fruits of his ill-gotten swindles. He had outgrown his “modest” suite in the Barbizon Plaza overlooking the Lake in Central Park and he wanted something a little nicer.

 

800px-Lucky_Luciano_mugshot_1931

 

The Toniest Address in New York

 

Driven by a massive inferiority complex, Lucky needed something bigger, something better, something swankier. He wanted no less than the toniest address in the whole City of New York. He wanted to live in the Waldorf Astoria Towers.

 

He later reminisced to Richard Hammer and Martin Gosch, authors of The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano:

 “I figured if everybody was gonna call me the boss, I was entitled to live in an apartment that was above Frank’s… the Towers was the best class address in New York.”

According the to Waldorf’s website:

“The Waldorf Towers represents the pinnacle of New York grandeur, with a long-established legacy of providing guests with exceptional privacy and personalized service.”

 

Privacy and personalized service were exactly what Luciano received at the Waldorf. He rented apartment 39C as Mr. Charles Ross and paid his $800 a month rent in hundred dollar bills.

 

Lucky Luciano Apartment, Frank Costello, Longy Zwillman, Meyer Lansky

Lucky Luciano lived in apartment 39c under the alias Charles Ross.

 

The gang lord could count on secrecy in his rooms where he entertained the moguls of the mob such as Longy Zwillman, Tony Bender, Vito Genovese, Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello. His criminal conspirators could then sneak out of Lucky’s pad and disappear into the city through the hotel’s packed arcade. A parking garage allowed the gangster to park his car and ride a private elevator to his room.

 

Lucky Luciano Waldorf Hotel

 

For kicks, Lucky would give the famed madam Polly Adler a ring and she would dispatch her best call girls. When Lucky felt more domestic, he spent evenings with his showgirl girlfriend, Gay Orlova.

 

Waldorf Int

 

It was a gangland dream come true, but things nearly went south when one of Lucky’s goons showed up at the front desk asking for Charlie Lucky. An outraged clerk stormed up to Luciano’s suite demanding answers.

 

Lucky recalled in The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano:

“…I knew the towers wasn’t gonna throw me out. After all, I was payin’ my rent regular, which was more than they could say about some of the bluebloods that was freeloadin’ there. So I figured it was payoff time.”

 

Greasing the Waldorf’s Wheels

Lucky placed the Astoria’s desk clerk on the payroll, greasing him with $200 a month.The bribes eventually paid off in March of 1936 when detectives from Thomas E. Dewey’s office stormed the lobby looking for the gangster. The clerk tipped off Luciano, and he hopped into his private elevator and roared off in his car.

 

Dewey eventually caught up with Lucky Luciano in Hot Springs Arkansas. He was sentence to 30 to 50 years for operating a massive prostitution ring. Lucky was sent to the frigid Dannemora Prison on the Canadian border where hoped for a day when he could return to linens, massages and private elevators.

 

Luciano would eventually return to the lap of luxury courtesy of the United States Navy.

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Location: 1500 Broadway

Status: Demolished

 

They called themselves the Broadway mob. Members of the gang rubbed shoulders with high society, supplying the most exclusive speakeasies in New York with top-shelf, uncut booze. From their offices at the now demolished Hotel Claridge, located at 1500 Broadway, Meyer Lansky, Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Segal and Frank Costello would go from street gang to the masters of dry New York, making themselves multi-millionaires in the process.

Hotel Claridge, Lucky Luciano, Salvatore Luciana, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, 1500 Broadway, Bugsy Segal, Salvatore Maranzano, Joe Masseria, Joe The Boss Masseria, Giuseppe Masseria, Prohibition, Rum Running, Arnold Rothstein, The Brain of Broadway, Broadway, Stork Club, Silver Slipper, 21 Club, Scotch, Broadway Mob, Last Testament of Lucky Luciano, Rector’s, 1500 Broadway, 44th Street, prohibition, Speakeasies,

 

Located in the heart of Times Square, on the east corner of 44th and Broadway, the Claridge Hotel was built in 1910 and according to the 1917 Real United States and Canada Pocket Guide,

 

“ Claridge’s Hotel, formerly Rector’s…was the great theatrical and bohemian after-theater restaurant…”

 

By 1922, Orwell Maximillian Zipkes purchased the hotel, adding a two-story arcade with shops and offices that Lansky, Luciano, Segal and Costello would use to build their empire.

 

Like a league of extraordinary criminals, the gang’s success came from the Broadway Mob’s remarkably diverse hoodlum resumes. Costello was the talker, forging the alliances with Tammany Hall that allowed the mob to steal at will and carry concealed weapons, legally.

 

The psychopathic Bugsy Segal provided the muscle, killing and beating anyone who stood in their way. The bookworm, Lansky, existed as a behind the scenes strategist and human adding machine, making the gangsters wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. Its leader, the oldest member of the gang, was Lucky Luciano, a gangland heavy who oozed reptilian charm.

 

Hotel Claridge, Lucky Luciano, Salvatore Luciana, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, 1500 Broadway, Bugsy Segal, Salvatore Maranzano, Joe Masseria, Joe The Boss Masseria, Giuseppe Masseria, Prohibition, Rum Running, Arnold Rothstein, The Brain of Broadway, Broadway, Stork Club, Silver Slipper, 21 Club, Scotch, Broadway Mob, Last Testament of Lucky Luciano, Rector’s, 1500 Broadway, 44th Street, prohibition, Speakeasies,

In the 1920s, the Hotel Clairidge served as Lucky Luciano’s headquarters.

Lansky’s Law

Guided by Luciano’s charisma and Lansky’s financial acumen, the gang became rumrunners. They heisted furs and stuck-up banks to fund liquor shipments of the purist scotch in town, purchased from the Brain of Broadway, Arnold Rothstein.

 

The small time gangsters’ moxie captured A.R.’s attention, and an internship in crime ensued.

 

Meeting With The Mentor

Rothstein mentored the gang from his booth at Lindy’s, teaching them how to dress, how to speak and how to conduct themselves in high society. According to the Last Testament of Lucky Luciano, Luciano recalled:

 

He [Rothestein] taught me how to dress…how to use knives and forks…about holdin’ a door open for a girl, or helpin’ her sit down…”

 

In exchange for the mentoring, Lansky, Luciano and Costello served as Rothstein’s muscle, protecting his alcohol and narcotics shipments.

 

Purist Booze in Town

They travelled abroad as Rothstein’s purchasing agents, buying direct from distilleries in Scotland, keeping the Stork Club, The Silver Slipper, The 21 Club and the rest of Broadway’s high-end speakeasies swimming in hooch.

 

Pet Gangsters

By the height of prohibition, Pet gangsters were all the rage, and Luciano, Costello, Lansky and Siegel were the coolest mob in town. Suave, wealthy and deadly, they dated Ziegfeld Girls and slept with heiresses, earning them a privileged spot as the darlings of New York high society.

 

Luciano recalled:

 “Within a year, we was buyin’ influence all over Manhattan, from lower Broadway all the way up to Harlem.”

 

Mafia Talent Scouts

But the Broadway Mob had other, less reputable, admirers. A secret criminal society mostly unheard of in America, known as the Mafia, had their eyes on Luciano, the only Sicilian member of the gang.

 

Both the Masseria Crime Family and the Maranzano Crime Family knew that whomever controlled Luciano, controlled the Broadway Mob and their fat bankrolls and political connections. Masseria would eventually win Luciano’s loyalty. He was then upgraded to a floor of suites in the Hotel Pennsylvania, but for the rest of his life in American; however, Luciano maintained an unofficial office at the Hotel Claridge. The hotel was demolished in 1972.

 

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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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