The Mafia’s New York: Hideouts, Hangouts and Rubouts

Home of Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, 265 E. 10th St., between First Avenue and Avenue A
“The East Village was the who’s who of the mob scene from the 1930s to the ’90s,” says Ferrara. “Everyone thinks it was Mulberry Street, but really, it was Prince Street and the East Village.” Luciano, originally known as “Sal from 14th Street,” immigrated from Sicily when he was 10 years old and lived in this East Village walk-up. He grew up to be the first official boss of the Genovese family, and was instrumental in creating the Five Families “commission” that divided up NYC territories. His childhood home still stands, and the ground level storefront is the Middle Eastern eatery Moustache Pitza. (NYP)

 

Carmello’s, formerly at 1638 York Ave., between 86th and 87th streets
“In the ’70s, this dive bar was a watering hole for Upper East Side gangsters, who were infiltrated by undercover FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone, a k a Donnie Brasco,” says Ferrara. “Pistone posed as a jewelry thief and made nice with members of the Bonanno family by slipping into backgammon games with regulars at Carmello’s.” Now the storefront houses a Bagel Bob’s. Johnny Depp played Donnie Brasco in the 1997 film. (NYP)

 

De Robertis, 176 First Ave., between 10th and 11th streets
This traditional Italian pastry shop, which opened in 1904, was a favorite haunt of Genovese and Gambino crews. Joseph “Piney” Armone, a Gambino capo, ran his operations out of the cafe in the ’50s. Three decades later, feds bugged the joint to track John “Handsome Jack” Giordano, one of John Gotti’s underbosses. The wire connected Handsome Jack to “everything from bookmaking, loan-sharking and gambling to illicit activities at the San Gennaro Festival,” says Ferrara. (NYP)

 

John’s Restaurant, 302 E. 12th St., between First and Second avenues
“This place is a neighborhood legend,”says Ferrara of the Italian eatery, which opened in 1908. It’s also where, in 1922, Morello family trigger man Umberto Rocco Valenti was killed three days after botching a hit on Genovese boss Giuseppe Masseria. Valenti was called to a “peace meeting” at John’s, but when he arrived at the restaurant,“ he was greeted by half a dozen gunmen.” (NYP)

 

Liz Christy Community Garden, Houston Street, between the Bowery and Second Avenue
One of the first community gardens in Manhattan was also a local favorite of mob boss Vincent “Chin” Gigante, who made headlines for his attempt to ward off prosecution by feigning mental illness. “He would walk around the neighborhood in his slippers and pajamas, mumbling to himself,” explains Ferrara. He also grew tomatoes on this plot of land and was often seen toting shopping bags full of the red fruit, passing them out to neighbors on his way home. (NYP)

 

“Black Hand Block,” Prince Street, between the Bowery and Elizabeth Street
“This corner was a hotbed of mob activity for nearly a century — it rivaled Mulberry Street,” says Ferrara. The Morello crime family, one of the very first Italian-American crime syndicates, was headquartered at Spaghetti Kitchen at 8 Prince St. (now the Clothing Warehouse, a vintage apparel store). This corner, often thought of as Little Sicily, was home to social clubs at 18 Prince St. and 21 Prince St., now the INA designer-clothing stores. (NYP)

 

Bari Restaurant Supply, 240 Bowery, between Prince and Houston streets
In 1983, the FBI bugged the car of Sal Avellino, a member of the Lucchese family, and tracked it to this unassuming Lower East Side location. Avellino was on his way to a meeting of the bosses of the Five Families. “This is a place people would never expect to be a mob meeting place,” says Ferrara. “People assume they met in secret crime dens, but really they were meeting in restaurant supply stores and the basement of wine stores.” Gambino boss Paul Castellano, Genovese chief Anthony Salerno and Lucchese head Anthony “Ducks” Corallo all fled the scene after an FBI agent was spotted peering through one of the windows. (NYP)

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