Make Eye Contact with 3 of the Most Influential Crime Lords in New York History

The American Mafia is considered by the U.S. Government, the FBI and investigative reporter Selwyn Raab, as “the most powerful, wealthiest, influential, successful, sophisticated, intelligent, crafty, infamous, cunning, vicious, deadliest, dangerous, feared and highly organized criminal organization in the World, and in history.”

The following are a few of the individuals that spent their days in New York, and for better or worse, greatly helped shape the trajectory, resources and happenings of New York City and organized crime as it exists today. Stay in school.

1. Charles “Lucky” Luciano


DOB: November 24, 1897

Nickname: Lucky

Occupation: Manhattan waterfront union activities, waste management and trucking

Known for: Father of modern organized crime in the United States

Charges: Compulsory prostitution

Died: Heart attack in Naples, Italy | 1962

Interesting Fact: During 1925, Luciano grossed in excess of $12 million with 25 percent said to go to bribing the police and political body

2. “Papa Johnny” Torrio


DOB: January 20, 1882

Nickname(s): Papa Johnny, The Fox, The Immune

Occupation: Billiards hall owner

Known for: Member of the infamous Five Points Gang

Charges: Prohibition violation, income tax evasion

Died: Heart attack in Brooklyn, New York | 1957

Interesting Fact: Encouraged his younger followers to dress conservatively, stop swearing and set up fronts as legitimate entrepreneurs

3. Frank Costello


DOB: January 26, 1891

Nickname: The Prime Minister

Occupation: Bootlegger, Businessman, Crime Boss, Mobster, Racketeer

Known for: Boss of the Luciano crime family

Charges: Assault and robbery, contempt of senate, tax evasion

Died: Heart attack in Manhattan, New York | 1973

Interesting Fact: At the end of Prohibition, he invested in gambling enterprises, earning millions from slot machines and casinos.

Article as featured in Whalebone’s NYC Issue, out now.