Murder Incorporated – Part 3

After the deaths of the Mangano brothers, Costello pushes Anastasia as the new boss of that family. The Commission confirmed Anastasia’s ascension to be boss of the renamed Anastasia family.

To take control of the Luciano family, Genovese needed to kill Frank Costello. However, Genovese could not kill Costello without also eliminating Anastasia. To do that, Genovese needed allies.

Frank Costello
Frank Costello

Vito Genovese used Anastasia’s brutal behavior against him. The behavior that had been useful to the New York mob was used by Genovose to portray Anastasia as an unstable killer who would bring extra bring law enforcement pressure on the Cosa Nostra. Genovese claimed that Anastasia had been selling memberships to his crime family for $50,000, a clear violation. The famous mob turncoat, Joseph Valachi, testified that Anastasia had been losing large amounts of money betting on horse races, making him even more unpredictable and brutal.

This set the scene for Anastasia’s underboss, Carlo Gambino, to take sides and establish himself as a boss. Genovese offered Gambino the leadership of Anastasia’s family in return for his help.  Genovese also received approval from Meyer Lansky. Genovese could not kill Anastasia without Lansky’s  support.

Lansky had developed a gambling business in Cuba and when Anastasia tried to get a piece of this action, Lansky refused. When Anastasia started his own casino racket in Cuba, Lansky threw his support to Genovese.

Genovese then makes a move on Costello. On May 2, 1957, gunman Vincent Gigante shot and wounded Costello outside his apartment building. Although the wound was superficial, it persuaded Costello to relinquish power to Genovese and retire. Genovese now controlled what is now called the Genovese crime family. Joseph Bonanno would later credit himself with arranging a sitdown where he kept Anastasia from immediately taking Genovese to war in response.

Five months later, on the morning of October 25, 1957, Anastasia entered the barber shop of the Park Sheraton Hotel at 870 7th Avenue (now the Park Central Hotel, on 56th Street and 7th Avenue) in Midtown Manhattan. Anastasia’s driver parked the car in an underground garage and then took a walk outside, leaving Anastasia unprotected. As Anastasia relaxed in the barber chair, two men—scarves covering their faces—rushed in, shoved the barber out of the way, and fired at Anastasia. After the first volley of bullets, Anastasia allegedly lunged at his killers. However, the stunned Anastasia had actually attacked the gunmen’s reflections in the wall mirror of the barber shop. The gunmen continued firing and Albert Anastasia finally fell to the floor, dead.

Initially, the NYPD concluded that the Anastasia hit had been arranged by Genovese and Gambino, and

Joe Gallo
Joe Gallo

it was carried out by a crew led by “Crazy Joe” Gallo of the Profaci family. At one point, Gallo boasted to an associate of his part in the hit:

“You can just call the five of us the barbershop quintet.”

This ends the long and brutal life of the man known as the Lord High Executioner of the New York Mob.

Thanks to Wikipedia for help.

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