The 8 Most Infamous Crime Families in New York [List]
New York has had its fair share of infamous crime families over the year. Not to be outdone by Chicago, there are some certified gangsters that operated their criminal enterprises in New York. There actually seems to be somewhat of a resurgence of some of the crime families in Buffalo and Western New York. Recently, a WNY strip club owner, with alleged mob ties, was arraigned on federal charges. Back in June of 2020, a Buffalo teacher with alleged mafia connections was arrested on drug charges and linked to a corrupt former Drug Enforcement Agent.
According to The Infographics Show on Youtube, two crime syndicates, the Masseria and Maranzano families, had an all-out war in New York City from February 1930 to April 1931.
Called the Castellammarese War, on the surface this conflict seemed like a fight between the Masseria and Maranzano families, the two most powerful New York criminal organizations of the time. However, in reality, this Mafia war was almost a generational conflict, waged between old traditionalists and younger, more forward-thinking members of Italian organized crime.
The family ruled Brooklyn from the 1920s to 1931. Salvatore Maranzano, was the boss. Once he was murdered, the family was taken over by Joe Bonanno and became known as the Bonanno Family, according to Historica.
The Magaddino/Todaro Family
The Magaddino crime family was known by several names, including the New York State crime family, The Arm, Buffalo Crime Family and the Todaro crime family, was based in Buffalo, according to the Ruckus Radio Podcast on Youtube,
The family has operated throughout Western New York, Erie, Pennsylvania, and Hamilton, Ontario. The Buffalo family have had strong connections with the Hamilton-based Luppino and Papalia families.
Pior to prohibition, the family made its money bootlegging. According to AmericanMafia.com,
After Prohibition, the Buffalo family continued its money making through gambling, loansharking and labor racketeering.
Gambino Crime Family
The Gambino family's first boss was Salvatore D'Aquila, according to AmericanMafia.com, although I don't believe it was known as the Gambino family until 1957, when Carlo Gambino became the boss. D'Aquila was the boss of the family, also known as the 'boss of bosses.' According to Wikipedia, he got his start with another crime family - the Morello crime family. He was captain until he began his own syndicate, what became known as the Gambinos. According to the Mafia Nation video below,
The Gambino crime family is one of the "Five Families" that dominates organized crime activities in New York City, United States, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia (or Cosa Nostra).
While D'Aquila was the first boss, there were many other infamous bosses of the family, including Frank Scalise, Vincent Mangano, Albert Anastasia, Carlo Gambino, Paul Castellano, and John Gotti.
After D'Aquila was murdered, "Joe the Boss" Masseria became the boss of bosses, according to AmericanMafia.com. He is credited as the Genovese family's first boss. The Genovese was the biggest of the five New York City crime families, according to jabot wham on Youtube. One of the most famous mobsters, Charlie "Lucky" Luciano, ran the syndicate after Masseria died,
He was succeeded by one of the most famous mobsters in history. He got the nickname Lucky because he was assaulted by a rival gang and was left for dead, but he survived and gained even more power.
Named after Gaetano "Thomas" Luchese, who ran the family from1953 to 1967, it actually had two bosses prior to him. Gaetano Reina was in charge until 1930 and Gaetano Gagliano headed the family from 1930 to 1953. According to AmericanMafia.com, the family made its money in garments,
Luchese's main racket was the garment industry. He worked closely with Carlo Gambino and his family in this area.
The Colombo Family was originally called the Profaci Family. Joe Profaci was the family's boss. Joe Colombo took the family over in 1963 according to AmericanMafia.com. While the family was a part of the infamous five families of New York City, it was the youngest, according to Wikipedia. The family suffered from three internal wars over the years.
In the 2000s, the family was further crippled by multiple convictions in federal racketeering cases and numerous members becoming government witnesses. Many levels of law enforcement believe that the Colombo crime family is the weakest of the Five Families of New York City. ~ Wikipedia
The Bonanno Family had two leaders before it took the name of its namesake Joe Bonanno. Cola Schiro was the first boss until 1930. Salvatore Maranzano took over but was murdered in 1931, according to AmericanMafia.com. Bonanno broke the mafia code of silence by writing a book about his life and experience. A Man of Honor: The Autobiography of Joseph Bonanno was published in 1983.
The Masseria crime family was only in power for a short time, compared to some of the other families. It was run by Joe Masseria from 1922 to 1931. The family mainly operated in Manhattan, according to Historica. The family fought with the Maranzano Family during the "Castellammarese War," which did not go well for the Masserias. Joe Masseria's hit was ordered by Lucky Luciano.