Monday, April 22, 2013


4/15/1931 - At around 3:00 in the afternoon, the year-long Castellammarese War for control of the New York City Mafia comes to an abrupt and violent end with the sudden death of forty-five-year-old mob boss Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria in the Coney Island restaurant of Gerardo Scarpato, Nuova Villa Tammaro (named for the owner's mother-in-law, Anna Tammaro).


A back-and-forth blood bath lasting over a year in which dozens on both sides are killed and allegiances shift between Masseria and his opponent, forty-five-year-old Salvatore Maranzano (the war is named for Maranzano's town of birth in Sicily), the conflict ends when the chief lieutenant of Joe the Boss decides his team is losing ... a totally unacceptable conclusion for Charles "Lucky" Luciano!


Losing money and prestige as a result of the ongoing war, and fearful he might be the next to lose his life, Luciano secretly contacts Maranzano and sets up a meeting to inquire what will be necessary to end the hostilities between the two bands of Italians.  Taking protective muscle along with him in the form of the vicious Jewish killer, Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, Luciano and Marazano meet on the neutral ground of the Bronx Zoo ... and quickly come to the conclusion that there is only one way to establish a lasting peace ... the intractable Masseria has to go.

                              Lucky Luciano Mugshot

And so Luciano schedules a strategy session with Masseria at the mobster's favorite restaurant, Nuova Villa Tammaro ... a place where the Mafia leader feels safe and can spend a lazy relaxing afternoon discussing policy.  Strategy however takes a secondary place to glutton as Masseria gorges himself for nearly three hours a a last meal of Italian appetizers, entrees, red wine, and multiple desserts (Luciano meanwhile picks at his meal).  Then stuffed to the gills, the gangster dismisses his four bodyguards and decides to lighten his first lieutenant's wallet with a few costly hands of pinochle.

                                          Deadman Lunch Site

Keeping a discrete watch on the time, at 3:00 Luciano excuses himself from the table and goes to the bathroom, and surprise-surprise, no sooner is he gone than some of his friends show up to pay their respects to Joe the Boss.  A Hall of Fame who's-who of gangster thuggery, the killing squad of up-and-comers that descends on Masseria consists of Bugsy Siegel, Vito Genovese, Albert Anastasia, and Joey Adonis ... all already multiple time killers (outside, driving the team's getaway car is Ciro "The Artichoke King" Terranova, an underboss in the Morello crime family).  Firing revolvers wildly as they run into the restaurant, the hitmen murder a wall of the restaurant with fourteen bullets ... and sadly for Masseria, actually accurately place six .32 and .38 slugs into the mobster's body too ... a lethal dose of lead to the head, back, and shoulder that puts the mobster on the ground, mortis, bleeding all over while still holding the Ace of Spades he was waiting to play upon Luciano's return.

                      Siegel                                                         Genovese

Over in seconds successfully, the only hiccup in the kill is the driving abilities of Terranova.  Car loaded with murderers in a hurry to vacate the scene, Terranova risks becoming a victim himself when he stalls the team's getaway car twice, causing a very upset Siegel to not risk a third unexpected stop by shoving The Artichoke King aside and handling the rest of the escape himself.


Back at the restaurant Luciano gives a Academy Award worthy performance, acting shocked and upset at the death of his boss, and claiming he saw nothing and knows nothing about the crime when he is questioned by the police ... clueless about a murder he has orchestrated to perfection.  With no evidence otherwise the death goes in the New York City Police Department's unsolved file and the true killers will not be identified until Joe Valachi turns squealer in the 1960s and testify's to who pulled the triggers on Masseria, by which time most of the culprits are long gone.  

                                                           Joe the Boss

The war is over, but seeking power and huge, greedy fortunes, the killing goes on and on and on.  Rewarded with control of a crime family of his own, Luciano soon turns traitor again when he grows disgusted that his former ally has proclaimed himself the "Boss of Bosses" and discovers Maranzano has hired Irish goon Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll to remove him now that the gangster has become a too powerful rival.  And once again Lucky is lucky, beating Marazano to the punch when Bo Weinberg, Red Levine, Anastasia, Siegel, and Adonis (a group put together by his friend Meyer Lansky), posing as government agents and police officers, manage to murder Marazano in his 9th floor downtown office.  Masseria out, Maranzano out ... the murders make Luciano to most powerful gangster in the United States.

                                                       Murder News

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