Guest Mob Blog From Partick Smith – NYC Mob Tour

1957. Doo-Wop gently pleading from car radios on hot summer nights. Fall-Out Shelters marked clearly for all to see.Violent troubles brewing in exotic colonial lands. All this and the beginning of the fall of the American Mafia. 1957. Americana is a commodity. Anything that fucks with it gets put down like a dog. Coca-Cola, Marlboro and Hilton carried the vision worldwide. Southeast Asia, Latin America and the Middle East were playgrounds for men with money and guns. All this and the working man was doing pretty good in 1957, assuming he is a white man. Unions are holding down the fort. Unions were keeping the rich from becoming pig rich. A little balance. A bit of shared power.

“But why should I hate unions, daddy,” little Billy asks as he passes the peas. “Because son, they are controlled by amoral thugs and communists. Now, stop asking so many questions and tell me about your day at school.” Bad men and wicked Reds down by the waterfront in the still of the night. A mid-20th century Manet.

But in Mafiaworld the nights are miles from still and impressionistic. For the boys they are fast and harsh. After a decade long detente, Frank Costello and Vito Genovese take it to the streets in an epic war for control of the Luciano crime family, the largest and most profitable borgata on the planet. Luciano had given his personal blessing to Costello, nee Castiglia, back in 1947 at the Havana Conference. Genovese was furious. He sold lots of heroin and built up a massive war chest. He surrounded himself with tough guys and strays. He put the snakey Anthony Strollo–Tony Bender–in charge of the maintaining the cold war with Costello. Jazz got modern during this Mafia cold war. The Russians acquired the bomb. Bobby Thompson hit “The shot heard ’round the world.” But within the Luciano Family, there were no shots at all.

Then comes 1956. Elvis. Rock and Roll. And two out of every three made men were in prison on heroin charges. New junk laws made that fact tres bad ju-ju ’cause they carried twenty year bids. A guy looking at a double saw just might give up. Might roll. Might sing a song.

Genovese and the crews loyal to him expanded into the east Bronx, New Jersey and Brooklyn. He told the messengers of moderation, among them Carlo Gambino and Tommy Lucchesse to piss off. This was Luciano Family Bizaneesa…but it wasn’t just. Genovese was grabbing with two hands in everyone’s pond. Meyer Lansky carried a message from Luciano himself, “Vito, chill. Frank’s the boss. You’ll get your turn.” I paraphrase. “Va fa Napoli,” Vito replied. Paraphrasing once more, but that was the point. I’m taking mine.

He killed anyone he wanted, whenever and where ever he pleased. He held the Mafia Commission in disdain.

Costello and the gathered forces of the Anastasia Family, of which Carlo Gambino was a member and a rising star, Meyer Lansky and his guys, and with Luciano’s blessing, pushed back.

The cold war was heating up fast on the streets of New York. Then, in early May of 1957, Genovese made his big play. He tried to have Big Frank shot dead.

This event can even be called an assassination attempt, that’s how powerful and untouchable Costello was in everyone’s mind. It was the first link in a year long chain that was, in retrospect, a garrote that tore open the Mafia’s neck and let the blood spill everyfuckingwhere.


One Response to “Guest Mob Blog From Partick Smith – NYC Mob Tour”


    I am the author of the mafia book Confessions of a Deadman. Please view my amazon e-kindle link on my facebook page.May I post my book link on this page thank you Michael Pescione

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