Charles "Lucky" Luciano
In 1931, the Castellammarese War started between Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, the new leader of Cola Schiro's Castellammarese gang.
In April 1931, Masseria was murdered in a restaurant by several of his gang members who had defected to Maranzano. Maranzano declared himself the boss of all bosses and reorganized all the New York gangs into five crime families. Maranzano appointed Frank Scalise as head of the old D'Aquila/Mineo gang, now designated as one of New York's new five families.
In September 1931, Maranzano was himself assassinated in his office by a squad of contract killers. The main beneficiary (and organizer of both hits) was Charlie "Lucky" Luciano. Luciano kept Maranzano's five families and added a Commission to mediate disputes and prevent more gang warfare. Also in 1931, Luciano replaced Scalise with Vincent Mangano as head of the D'Aquila/Mineo gang, now the Mangano crime family. Mangano also received a seat on the new Commission.
The modern era of the Cosa Nostra had begun.
Vincent Mangano now became the first boss of what 26 years later would be called the Gambino family. Vincent's brother Philip Mangano also became a family leader.
Vincent Mangano still believed in the Old World mob traditions of "honor", "tradition", "respect" and "dignity."
However, he was somewhat more forward-looking than either Masseria and Maranzano. To compensate for loss of massive revenues with the end of Prohibition in 1933, Vincent Mangano moved his family into extortion, union racketeering, and illegal gambling operations including horse betting, running numbers and lotteries. Vincent Mangano also established the City Democratic Club, ostensibly to promote American values.
In reality, the Club was as a cover for Murder, Inc., the notorious band of mainly Jewish hitmen who performed contract murders for the Cosa Nostra nationwide. The operating head of the Murder Inc. was Mangano family underboss Albert Anastasia, known as the "Lord High Executioner".
Vincent Mangano also had close ties with Emil Camarda, a vice-president of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA). Through the Association, Mangano and the family completely controlled the Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfronts.
From 1932 onward, the president of ILA Local 1814 was Anthony "Tough Tony" Anastasio, Albert Anastasia's younger brother (Anthony kept the original spelling of their last name). Anastasio was one of the family's biggest earners, steering millions of dollars in kickbacks and payoffs into to the Mangano coffers. Anastasio made no secret of his ties to the mob; he only had to say "my brother Albert" to get his point across. Around this time, Carlo Gambino was promoted within the Mangano family, along with another future boss, Gambino's cousin Paul Castellano. Anastasia and the Mangano brothers were usually in conflict, even though they worked together for 20 years. On numerous occasions, Anastasia and Vincent Mangano came close to physical conflict.
Vincent Mangano felt uncomfortable with Anastasia's close ties to Luciano and other top mobsters outside his family. Mangano was also jealous of Anastasio's strong power base in Murder Inc. and the waterfront unions.
In April 1951, Philip Mangano was discovered murdered, while his brother disappeared without a trace...
Called to face the Commission, Anastasia refused to accept guilt for the Mangano murders.
However, Anastasia did claim that Vincent Mangano had been planning to kill him.
Anastasia was already running the family in Vincent Mangano's "absence", and the Commission members were intimidated by Anastasia. With the support of Frank Costello, boss of the Luciano crime family, the Commission confirmed Anastasia's ascension as boss of what was now the Anastasia crime family. Carlo Gambino, a wily character with designs on the leadership himself, maneuvered himself into position as underboss. The former boss of Murder Inc., Anastasia was a vicious murderer who inspired fear throughout the New York families. With Costello as an ally, Anastasia came to control the Commission. Costello's bitter rival was Vito Genovese, a former underboss for Luciano.
Since 1946, Genovese had been scheming to remove Costello from power, but was not powerful enough to face Anastasia. Anastasia's own brutal actions soon created a favorable climate in New York for his removal.
In 1952, Anastasia ordered the murder of a Brooklyn man Arnold Schuster who had aided in the capture of bank robber Willie Sutton. Anastasia did not like the fact that Schuster had helped the police.
The New York families were outraged by this gratuitous killing that raised a large amount of public furor.
Anastasia also alienated one of Luciano's powerful associates, Meyer Lansky by opening casinos in Cuba to compete with Lansky's. Genovese and Lansky soon recruited Carlo Gambino to the conspiracy by offering him the chance to replace Anastasia.
In May 1957, Costello escaped a Genovese-organized murder attempt with a minor injury and decided to resign as boss.However, Genovese and Gambino soon learned that Costello was conspiring with Anastasia to regain power, they decided to kill Anastasia.
On October 25, 1957, several masked gunmen murdered Anastasia while he was sitting in the barber shop at the Park Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan. As Anastasia sat in the barber's chair, the three assailants rushed in,
shoved the barber out of the way, and started shooting.
The wounded Anastasia allegedly lunged at his killers,
but only hit their reflections in the wall mirror.
Anastasia died at the scene.
With Anastasia's death, Carlo Gambino became boss of what was now called the Gambino crime family. Biondo became underboss, supposedly as a reward for the Anastasia killing. However, upset by Biondo's misbehavior, Gambino replaced him with Aniello Dellacroce in 1965. By all accounts, Genovese was angling to become Boss of all Bosses, and believed that Gambino would support him.
Gambino, however, had his own mind. He secretly joined forces with Luciano and Costello to get Genovese out of the way as well. Gambino helped trick Genovese into a lucrative drug deal, then paid a small-time Puerto Rican dealer to testify against him.
In April 1959, Genovese was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, where he died in 1969.Gambino quickly built the family into the most powerful crime family in the United States.
He was helped by Meyer Lansky's offshore gaming houses in Cuba and the Bahamas, a lucrative business for the Cosa Nostra