The ‘Mafia Summit’ stakeout
Robert Croswell at home in Vestal, with newspaper articles about his dad, Edgar Croswell, a state police sergeant who broke up the largest meeting of mobsters on November 14, 1957, in Apalachin, New York. (Times Herald-Record/MICHELE HASK)
Apalachin — Fifty years ago today, this hamlet on Exit 66 off Route 17 was like Woodstock for mobsters. But the party came to an abrupt end because of a native son of Woodstock, a state police sergeant named Edgar Croswell.
Matter of fact, you could say that when Croswell rousted Mafia bosses with names like Joseph Bonnano and Joseph Profaci; Carlo Gambino and Russell Bufalino, the Mafia began sliding into oblivion. Up until then, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had soft-pedaled the presence of the mob, but the stones that Croswell kicked over at Apalachin led to investigations galore, the passage of new state and federal racketeering laws and the fabled code of silence being broken in pieces by Mafia songbirds like “Sammy the Bull” Gravano. Continue Reading »
Don / Boss
Interchangeable terminology for the leader of a family. All major decisions are made by the boss and money made by the family ultimately flows to him. Continue Reading »
Impact of event remains vivid for former prosecutor, reporter
Five decades ago this week, a police raid sent Mafia bosses, their underbosses and capos running through the woods of Apalachin — and into American history and popular culture.
Carlo “Don Carlo” Gambino – N.Y. Gambino Family Boss (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Some of the most famous names in the Mafia — Carlo Gambino, Michael Genovese, Russell Bufalino (later crime boss of northeastern Pennsylvania), Joseph Profaci (the model for Don Corleone of “The Godfather” fame) — were in town Nov. 14, 1957, ostensibly for a steak roast at the Tioga County estate of ailing local mobster and Endicott soda distributor Joseph Barbara. Continue Reading »
The government has opened an old treasure trove of information on some 800 gangland goons who wielded power during the Mafia’s Golden Age – a virtual Social Register of the worst sociopaths to have packed a silenced pistol, wielded an ice pick or driven a getaway car in a sharkskin suit. Continue Reading »
Ian Thomson reviews The Force of Destiny: a History of Italy since 1796 by Christopher Duggan
Christopher Duggan, a distinguished Italophile and professor of Italian history, describes the Mafia as a grotesque parody of Mediterranean family life. Cosa Nostra clans are known as cosche, after the Sicilian dialect term for artichoke leaves: the clans fit snugly inside each other, overlapping tightly. Continue Reading »
David Flusfeder reviews The Havana Mob: Gangsters, Gamblers, Showgirls and Revolutionaries in 1950s Cuba by T J English
Charles “Lucky” Luciano
One of the great pleasures in reading any chronicle of the Mafia is the rough street poetry of the names. In the pages of T J English’s enjoyable – yet morally uncertain – account of the rise and fall of the Mob’s Caribbean empire of gambling, pleasure, sin, murder and profit, we come across such figures as Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Vincent “Jimmy Blue Eyes” Alo, William “Lefty Clark” Bischoff, and Nicholas “the Fat Butcher” di Costanzo. Continue Reading »