Giving Friends of Ours Blog Due Credit

Vito Genovese may have single-handedly done more
damage to the Mafia than any other mobster.
Taking a cue from my good friend over at Friends of Ours, who did this on the appropriate date, I am posting, for posterity's sake, the New York Daily News's original 1957 article on Appalachin. 

The Friends of Ours blogger, Philip Crawford Jr., has an excellent book available now: The Mafia and the Gays. It is an historical analysis of the Mafia's control of gay bars in major U.S. cities, including New York and Chicago.

The unjust illegality of such establishments essentially green-lighted the Mafia to come in and cater to that demand.

However, the mob's reach into gay establishments didn't end back in the olden days. Or, as more eloquently explained on the book's Amazon page:

A common misunderstanding among the general public is that the wise guys were eliminated from the gay bars following the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City. However, organized crime kept a hidden hand -- often through violent means resulting in a few murders -- in many watering holes for the gay community at least into the mid-1980s if not later. Indeed, the Mafia hijacked gay liberation for political cover and used so-called Auntie Gays -- the Uncle Toms of the gay community -- as frontmen for their bars to evade suspicion. The Mafia and the Gays provides a comprehensive look at the mob's involvement with gay bars including the iconic Continental Baths which had Colombo protection and the infamous Haymarket which was under Genovese control. The Mafia and the Gays relies upon an extensive collection of historical sources including FBI files many of which have not been publicly available until recently acquired by the author through the Freedom of Information Act.

I will be honest right here and say I'd like to hear Philip offering insight on some of these Mafia-related documentaries, rather than the usual talking heads who say the same crap or pontificate far beyond their pay-grade. (And producers who read this blog -- yes, I am often contacted by them, begging for information, then forgetting the part about my "remuneration" after they get it --  they all should read Philip Crawford's Friend of Ours blog.)

Philip Crawford Jr. makes the rest of us bloggers
look like we're asleep.

He's on an enviable streak these days writing insightful stories regarding newly released FBI records.

A sample of some of his recent stories:

Brooklyn Federal Prosecutor Co-owned Brunswick Laundry Service With Mobster Joe Bonanno:
A must-read for the Mafia
Among the legitimate businesses owned by Mafia boss Joseph Bonanno was Brunswick Laundry Service at 39-45 Central Avenue in Brooklyn, NY which was incorporated in 1932, and recently released FBI documents reveal that the mobster acquired his interest supposedly by strong-arming its founding shareholders including Vincenzo Passalacqua who was the father of Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Anthony Passalacqua for the Eastern District of New York. Incredibly, AUSA Passalacqua at one time was a shareholder and officer of Brunswick Laundry Service, and fully aware of Bonanno's involvement in the company. Indeed, Peter Passalacqua admitted to FBI agents that while in private practice before becoming a federal prosecutor he prepared at his father's request in 1939 or 1940 the "legal papers in connection with the transfer of 1/5 of the shares of stock in the above corporation to JOSEPH BONANNO," and "it was on this occasion that he first met BONANNO."... 

 FBI Releases Surveillance Logs On Anthony Strollo: I Spy Tony Bender: Part I:
"Anthony "Tony Bender" Strollo was a nightlife operator and heroin trafficker in Greenwich Village under frequent surveillance by multiple law enforcement agencies throughout the 1950s and into 1962 until his "disappearance," and the FBI recently released its surveillance log of the Genovese capo which includes the below-listed 1958 entries from January through April. Among the more notable highlights are his frequent meetings with fellow doper Vincent Mauro who operated out of Dave's Blue Room at the Beverly Hotel on 565 Lexington Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets. (Midtown Manhattan on both the west and east sides was a longtime meat market, and Mauro pimped out his girls from Dave's Blue Room. It's another myth that the Mafia was not involved in sex trafficking, and the Genovese family in the 1950s was behind hotel lounges stocked with its working girls, and as late as the 1980s the FBI had caught Matty Ianniello on hidden bugs in his office at 135 West 50th Street admitting to his extensive role in the degenerate racket.) Mobsters are like vampires, and Strollo was most active after midnight into the wee hours before sunrise. Strollo controlled several establishments in Greenwich Village in the 1950s, and the FBI's surveillance log identifies him at some:
On 1/8/58, STROLLO observed in his car in Greenwich Village area. .....
On 1/7/58, STROLLO was observed in his 1957 Imperial hardtop proceeding from his residence in New Jersey to New York, where met by three male unsubs. Surveillance revealed STROLLO and unsubs visited Greenwich Village hangouts at San Remo Cafe and Cafe Expresso.

As for Apalachin
Numerous stories can be found in this site about the historical event held upstate about a couple of months after Vito Genovese sent the Chin the crease Frank Costello's skull (the intent, of course, was to murder the man so Vito could assume power) and after Carlo Gambino ordered drug-dealing mobsters from the Lower East Side to gun down Albert Anastasia. I am now reading an excellent book on the topic: Mafia Summit

Milestone: When Apalachin Put the Mob on the FBI's Rader
Dec 14, 2013 ... The aftermath of the Apalachin Meeting would shed new light on a ... But for many years before Apalachin, the FBI refused to even admit that ...

Apalachin Summit Spotlighted American Mafia
Apr 25, 2014 ... The Apalachin trial resulted in guilty verdicts from the jury, but an appellate court overturned them on appeal.

The Mob Boss Who Sued Life Magazine and Lost
May 20, 2014 ... The obscure mob boss attended the Apalachin conference in 1957, although it is unclear if he'd officially been named boss of his borgata yet.

Two men seizing power by ousting others; two key moments in Mafia history that led to the Appalachin meeting, which over time may well prove to have been the beginning of the end for the American Mafia.

New York Daily News article on the mafia raid on November 15, 1957.

Originally published by the Daily News on November 15, 1957. This story was written by Howard Wantuch and Sidney Kline.

Sixty-two top leaders of the dreaded Mafia, ruling crime syndicate of the U.S., were grabbed by federal agents, state police and country cops last night during a top-echelon conclave called to deal with mounting official pressures on their lucrative stranglehold on the nation's purse.

The crackdown came at the end of a dead-end road in a tiny rural community in Tioga County 190 miles from New York, of whose existence most of the world has never known. The name: Apalachin. Population, 277. Nearest community of size, Binghamton, near the Pennsylvania border.

Into the net, scurrying like small-time gamblers fleeing a lower East Side dice game, fell hoods from New York, New Jersey, Ohio, California, Puerto Rico, Cuba and points in between.

Local law prevented the authorities from holding the catch. No weapons were found - naturally. And Tioga County has no vagrancy statute which would permit obviously well-heeled bums from being held while police investigated them, a contingency which New York City law has taken care of.

They Beat the Rap

By early today most of the mob had been freed. The others, apparently, also were destined to be let go.

But this much was clear, and the local authorities made no move to conceal their pleasure at the prospect: When Mafia Inc. holds its next board meeting, the chances are 1,000 to one, and no takers, that the session will not be in Apalachin.

At the top of the bag - in underworld prestige - was New Jersey's Vito Genovese, of Atlantic Highlands, close associate of the recently slain Albert Anastasia and generally regarded as top hand in the Mafia. Anastasia was assassinated in a midtown barber shop on Oct. 25.

Also rounded up were Joe Profaci, Brooklyn olive oil dealer, Joe (Joe Bananas) Bonnanno, also of Brooklyn, and John (Big John) Ormento, convicted dope peddler.

The crackdown on the underworld's supposedly smart rulers came about through a piece of stupidity which would have consigned a lesser hood to the untender mercies of the execution squad.

On Wednesday, the group began converging on the remote and palatial estate of Joseph Barbara, once a prominent mobster in the Pittsburgh area who more recently has fronted his activities by running a soda bottling business in and about Binghamton.

As befits a man of standing who prefers privacy, Barbara got himself a fine house, away from neighbors, in Apalachin, and who came and went presumably was nobody's business. The estate was big, but not big enough for the gathering envisioned for this week.

To meet the emergency, Barbara put out calls to the motels in the vicinity of Binghamton for rooms for his guests. He wanted the best and never mind the price.

Now police, including Tioga County's local cops and the state police, make a business of checking what goes on in local establishments, including motels. The request for a large number of rooms coming from Barbara, and especially Barbara, aroused official interest.

Call Reinforcements

The bemusement of authorities was not lessened when large, shiny and expensive cars, most of them 1957 Cadillacs, began pouring into the area on Wednesday - and kept coming yesterday - from all parts of the country. The oldest car in the group was a '56 Caddy.

Local authorities knew what to do. They called in reinforcements.

County cops conferred with state police. State police called in Treasury Department agents (counterfeiting) and agents of the federal alcohol tax unit (illicit booze).
Hemmed Them In

The very obscurity of Barbara's home, with its dead-end road and its promise of privacy, gave authorities an ideal cul-de-sac. They set up roadblocks, preventing flight by car. They marshaled a ring of policemen in the wooded grounds around the estate so that flight by foot would be difficult, if possible at all.

At noon, authorities dropped the boom. Police started closing in. A lookout for the mob saw them. Like vermin scuttling out of burning woodwork, the underworld chiefs headed for open air.

It was no good. Those who fled by car were stopped by roadblocks.

Good Hunting

A dozen or so who ludicrously tried to make it to freedom through woods which the local police knew and the invaders didn't, were picked up sooner or later.

In the best hunting season in Tioga's criminal history, the beaters made a bag of 62, winding up at 11 P.M.

Some of the quarry tried to beat the problem by throwing away identification cards and auto registrations before they were grabbed, but that was no problem. Their faces were too well known - even up in the sticks.

These were the names state police took down at the Vestal barracks:

Michelle A. Miranda, 167 Greenway North, Forest Hills, Queens; Rosario Mancuso, Utica, N.Y.; Gabriel Mannarino, New Kensington, Pa.; Patsy Monachino, Auburn, N.Y.; Sam Monachino, Auburn, N.Y. and John C. Montana, Buffalo, N.Y.

Also Vincent Rao, 192 Dunwoodie St., Yonkers; Armand Rava, 1180 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn; Joseph Riccobono, 781 Pelton Ave., Staten Island; Anthony Riela, 7 Benvenue Ave., West Orange, N.J.; Joseph Rosato, 2431 31st St., Jackson Heights, Queens; Frank Cucchiara, Boston; Domenic D'Agostino, Niagara Falls, and Natale J. Evola, 972 Bay Ridge Pkway, Brooklyn.

More and More

Also Roy Carlisi, Buffalo; Paul C. Castellano, 1737 E. 23d St., Brooklyn; Charles S. Chiri, 2 Bridle Way, Palisades, N.J.; James Coletti, Pueblo, Colo.; Joseph Falcone, Utica, N.Y.; Salvatore Falcone, Utica, N.Y.; Carlo Gambino, 2230 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, and James V. LaDuca, Lewiston, N.Y.

Also Sam Lagattuta, Buffalo; Louis A: Larasso, 115 Donaldson Place, Linden, N.J., Carmine Lombardozzi, 114 Stratford Road, Brooklyn; Antonino Magaddino, Niagara Falls; Frank T. Maguri, 629 Broad St., Elizabeth, N.J.; Michael Genovese, Gibsonia, Pa. Vito Genovese, 68 W. Highland Ave., Atlantic Highlands, N.J. and Anthony F. Guarnieri, Johnson City, N.Y.

And Still More

Also John Anthony DeMarco, Shaker Heights, Ohio; Simone Scozzari, San Gabriel, Calif.; Joseph Francis Civello, Dallas, Tex.; James Anthony Osticco, Pittston, Pa.; Frank Desimone, Doroney, Calif.; Joseph Bonanno, 1726 DeKalb Ave., and John Bonventra, 115 Cleveland St., Brooklyn; Ignatius Cannone, Endicott, N.Y.; Salvatore Tornabe, 1464, Second Ave., New York; and Patsy Turrigiano, Endicott, N.Y.

Also Frank Joseph Valenti, Rochester, N.Y.; Stanley Valenti, Rochester, N.Y.; John Ormento, 118 Audrey Drive, Lido Beach, N.Y.; Joseph Ida, 108 Lincoln Ave., Highland Park, N.J.; Joseph Profaci, 8863 15th Ave., Brooklyn; Joseph Magliocco, Bay View Ave., Islip, N.Y.; Louis Santos, Havana, Cuba and Angelo Sciandra, Pittston, Pa.

Also Patsy Sciortino, Auburn, N.Y., Frank Zito, Springfield, Ill., Gerardo Cateno, 21 Overhill Road, South Orange, N.J., and Domenic Oliveto, 1157 Magnolia Ave., Camden, N.J.

Sgt. Edgar Crosswell of the state police Bureau of Criminal Identification said: "They are the hierarchy of the eastern seaboard criminal world, with others from across the country and the Caribbean thrown in."

Ok, here's an interesting question (I thought, anyway!):

What did the early report get wrong?