New York’s organised crime is exactly that.
After the boom years of prohibition, frequent disagreements over territory, muscling out of the Irish Mob from the docks and economic pressure on the Harlem gangs, the Italian Mafia came out on top.
The Five families sat down at the first meeting of the commission and carved New York into sections.
Dividing resources, imaginary lines on the street map delineating the territory each family was strong enough to hold.
Resources were pooled to better exert pressure on other criminal interests, as well as influence those in power in legitimate sectors.
The few remaining Irish crews now act under the umbrella of a family, as do the remaining Harlem crews.
Truly organised crime had come to New York.
But an organisation, no matter how good, can’t remove old traditions, family feuds, greed and thoughts of revenge. So while a civilised veneer remains in place these issues still simmer beneath the surface.
The American Mafia operates on a strict hierarchical structure. While similar to its Sicilian origins, the American Mafia’s modern organizational structure was created by Salvatore Maranzano in 1931. All inducted members of the Mafia are called “made” men. This signifies that they are untouchable in the criminal underworld and any harm brought to them will be met with retaliation. With the exception of associates, all mobsters are “made” official members of a crime family. The three highest positions make up the administration. Below the administration, there are factions each headed by a caporegime(captain), who lead a crew of soldiers and associates. They report to the administration and can be seen as equivalent to managers in a business. When a boss makes a decision, he rarely issues orders directly to workers who would carry it out, but instead passed instructions down through the chain of command. This way, the higher levels of the organization are insulated from law enforcement attention if the lower level members who actually commit the crime should be captured or investigated. This provides what the intelligence community calls plausible deniability.
· Boss – The boss is the head of the family, usually reigning as a dictator, sometimes called the Don or “Godfather”. The boss receives a cut of every operation taken on by every member of his family. Depending on the family, the boss may be chosen by a vote from the caporegimes of the family. In the event of a tie, the underboss must vote. all the members of a family voted on the boss, In practice, many of these elections are seen as having an inevitable result.
· Underboss – The underboss, usually appointed by the boss, is the second in command of the family. The underboss often runs the day-to-day responsibilities of the family or oversees its most lucrative rackets. He usually gets a percentage of the family’s income from the boss’s cut. The underboss is usually first in line to become acting boss if the boss is imprisoned, and is also frequently seen as a logical successor.
· Consigliere – The consigliere is an advisor to the family and sometimes seen as the boss’s “right-hand man”. He is used as a mediator of disputes, and a representative or aide in meetings with other families. In practice the consigliere is normally the third ranking member of the administration of a family and was traditionally a senior member familiar with how the organization is run. A boss will often appoint a trusted close associate as his consigliere.
· Caporegime (or capo) – A caporegime (also captain or skipper) is in charge of a crew, a group of soldiers who report directly to him. Each crew usually contains 10–20 soldiers and many more associates. A capo is appointed by the boss and reports to him or the underboss. A captain gives a percentage of his (and his underlings’) earnings to the boss and is also responsible for any tasks assigned, including murder. In labor racketeering, it is usually a capo who controls the infiltration of union locals. If a capo becomes powerful enough, he can sometimes wield more power than some of his superiors.
· Soldier (Soldato in Italian) – A soldier is a member of the family, and traditionally can only be of full Italian background. Once a member is made he is untouchable, meaning permission from a soldier’s boss must be given before he is murdered. When the books are open, meaning that a family is accepting new members, a made man may recommend an up-and-coming associate to be a new soldier. Soldiers are the main workers of the family, usually committing crimes like assault, murder, extortion, intimidation, etc. In return, they are given profitable rackets to run by their superiors and have full access to their family’s connections and power.
· Associate – An associate is not a member of the Mafia, but works for a crime family nonetheless. Associates can include a wide range of people who work for the family. An associate can have a wide range of duties from virtually carrying out the same duties as a soldier to being a simple errand boy. This is where prospective mobsters (“connected guys”) start out to prove their worth. Once a crime family is accepting new members, the best associates are evaluated and picked to become soldiers. An associate can also be a criminal who serves as a go-between or sometimes deals in drugs to keep police attention off the actual members, or they can be people the family does business with (restaurant owners, etc.) In other cases, an associate might be a corrupt labor union delegate or businessman. Non-Italians will never go any further than this, although many non-Italians like Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, wield extreme power within their respective crime families and carry the respect of actual members.
Mafia rules and customs
In order to be invited into the American Mafia and become a member one must perform a series of tasks, such as committing murder for the family and not for one’s own personal benefit. When the boss decides to let a member into the family one will be part of a ceremony, involving the drawing of blood, swearing an oath over a gun or holy picture, and obeying the rules of the organization. In New York City, the Mafia created customs and traditions which the members have to follow. If one breaks any of the rules they can be killed by another member of the family and usually the murder is committed by the people closest to that person.
- “Omertà” – is the oath or “code of silence”, never talk to the authorities.
- “Ethnicity” – only men of Italian descent are allowed to become full members (made men). Associates, partners, allies etc. have no ethnic limits.
- “Family secrets” – members are not allowed to talk about family business to non-members.
- “Blood for blood” – if a family member is killed (by another member) no one can commit murder (in revenge) until the boss gives permission.
- “No fighting among members” – from fist fights to knife fights.
- “Tribute” – every month; members must pay the boss; also giving the boss a cut on any side deals.
- “Adultery” – members are not allowed to commit adultery with another family member’s wife.
- “No facial hair” – members were not allowed to grow mustaches; part of the Mustache Pete way.
The Five Families
Head In dispute.
The families areas of profit include illegal gambling, loansharking, and narcotics corruption, extortion. The family previously had a name for getting things done the and not caring how dirty it got.
The Maranzano crime family operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island. The family also maintains influence in Manhattan, The Bronx, Westchester County, New Jersey, California, Florida and have ties to the Montreal Mafia in Quebec.
Bath Avenue Crew operated in Bensonhurst Brooklyn in New York.
Head Frank “the Prime Minister” Costello. Frank is recognized head of the commission, for now.
The families areas of profit include control of illegal activities in labour racketeering, loan sharking, extortion and illegal gambling.
The Luciano crime family operates mainly in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn and New Jersey. The family also maintains influence in Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester County, Rockland County, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Florida.
116th Street Crew operates in Upper Manhattan and The Bronx
Greenwich Village Crew operates in Greenwich Village in Lower Manhattan
Genovese crime family New Jersey faction operates throughout the state of New Jersey
Head Joseph Profaci
The families areas of profit include arms trafficking, protection rackets, counterfeiting, loan sharking, contract killings, arson, hijacking. If you want a weapon someone intimidated or something burn down Joe is the person to see.
The Profaci crime family operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. The family also maintains influence in Staten Island, Manhattan, The Bronx, New Jersey and Florida.
Head Vincent Mangano
The families areas of profit include extortion, union racketeering, and illegal gambling operations including horse betting, running numbers and lotteries.
Mangano’s underboss Albert “Mad Hatter” Anastasia is rumored to be running Murder Incorporated from under the families umbrella.
The Mangano crime family operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island and Long Island. The family also maintains influence in The Bronx, New Jersey, Westchester County, Connecticut, Florida and Los Angeles.
One of their larger crews is rumored to operate in Queens and Long Island
Head Tommy Gagliano
The families areas of profit include racketeering, loan sharking, extortion and illegal gambling, money laundering, murder, narcotics, extortion, fraud, fencing.
The families reputation for quietly and peacefully getting things done has earned it a lot of respect from both side of the tracks.
The Gagliano crime family operates mainly in The Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. The family also maintains influence in Queens, Long Island, Staten Island, Westchester County and Florida.
A smaller crew operates in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island
The Jersey Crew operates throughout New Jersey
The Tanglewood Boys was a recruitment gang that operated in Westchester County, The Bronx and Manhattan.
There have been rumours of late that no one can corroborate that another family is looking to make a move into New York. Many feelers have been put out as people look to discover more, informers are bought and rebought while providing little information. Everyone in the know, police and criminals alike, wait to see if this will break the six years of relative peace on New Yorks streets.