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Updated: Oct 13, 2022

1931 The Year of the New American Underworld

By Christian Cipollini

A short lived, yet bloody war (dubbed the Castellammarese War) between two rival Mafia

bosses in New York from 1930-1931 culminated in the eventual overthrow of both men by

younger and more progressive underlings in direct opposition of what they viewed as ‘old

school’ mafia mentality.

“Don Vincenzo, tell your compare Maranzano that we have killed Masseria - not to serve

him, but for our own personal reasons. Tell him that if he should touch even the hair of

even a personal enemy of ours, we will wage war to the end.” - Lucky Luciano’s message

for Maranzano via liaison Vincenzo Troia, as recounted by Nicola Gentile.

1963 | Joe Valachi with Mafia Chart

At approximately 3:30 pm on April 15, 1931, Joe the Boss felt the piercing trauma of multiple

calibre slugs entering his large frame from an unknown number of shooters. Twenty plus

rounds were wildly fired about the establishment; five hit the mark, penetrating the head,

shoulders and back. Masseria clutched the tablecloth as his bloody, bullet-battered body fell

lifeless to the floor. The killers swiftly exited to awaiting getaway cars. Police arrived on scene,

collected a couple weapons, two sawn off shotguns among them, and articles of clothing

believed to have belonged to the assassins. Newspaper reporters, armed with cameras, soon

descended upon the gory scene inside the eatery – one of whom cleverly placed an Ace of

Spades card in the dead man’s hand before snapping a photo. The death of Masseria instantly

made Salvatore Maranzano the undisputed (or so he thought) king.

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