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Author Topic: Organized crime in Astoria?  (Read 8064 times)

Offline TBRays

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Organized crime in Astoria?
« on: April 22, 2009, 01:55:38 AM »
I overheard some old time Astorians talking the other day and they were talking about the old days and that certain areas are and shops have been involved in stuff like that for ages.So I got curious if anybody knows if mob activities were big in the old days like in other boroughs? If so I would imagine they were mostly Italians and Greeks right? Then I thought about the present and with all the clubs,lounges and strip joints in the area im sure there are shake downs and shops offering protection $ I wonder what shady things happen after hours! Anybody have stories to share?

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Organized crime in Astoria?
« on: April 22, 2009, 01:55:38 AM »

Offline JoeyC

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2009, 02:15:27 AM »
People do talk that, but there was really no real Mafia presense, just  alot of tough, and half-tough types.    Joe N. Gallo, not to be confused with Crazy Joe Gallo, lived on Crescent street off Boradway, and hung out on corner of Cresent and Broadway, and by OTB.    He had no activities going on here though. He used Astoria as place to get away from things.   Gallo was Carlo Gambino's counsilerge, or however it's said.

Vincent Pappa, who was involved with the theft of the French Connection heroin, hung around Astoria, but he was not a Mafia guy.     

There are a lot of people from Astoria who think certain old timers were gangsters, but they are usually wrong. 

A Greek who was big was guy named Spiro, last name started with a V.   He had club on Ditmars for many years, I think he is in prison still, unless he was paroled.


My father and uncles always talk of the time a bunch of neighborhood guys, all Italians, opened after hours club on Astoria Blvd., in old Ethan Allen building.     Around 1980.    They had big money maker, several flooors, and one floor was gambling.    Some real gangsters came in, and owners dropped  name of a guy named Bobby Capozio, who is now dead, but grew up in Ravenswood.    They got left alone--till Bobby Capozio found out these Astoria idiots used his name. He went in, smaked all four owners around in front of everyone.  Place closed a week or two later.    Those four idiots, two of whom are still alive, occasionally get bought up by oldtimers as 'Actual Mafia members." 

Capozio is mentioned in the book by FBI agent Joe Pistone, in book that was made into movie with Johhny Depp and Al Pacino.   Capozio was not charactor in movie though. 
Although he was from Astoria, he stayed primarily in Brooklyn, and did not trust guys from this neighborhood as partners in anything.

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2009, 12:10:25 PM »
Very informative.  Nicely done.

Offline Scribbles

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2009, 01:44:45 PM »
Without a doubt there was Mob affiliation and ties with Astoria. That's a fact. They ran everything from clubs to even street vendors (<----True Story from someone I knew.)

But after the 80's, it pretty much vanished for the most part. 

Wasn't there a burial ground they had around here? Rumor has it...


Offline hellgateviking

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2009, 05:13:42 PM »
  If I remember correctly, Joe Gallo owned the candy store on Crescent and Broadway.  I used to se him on Broadway all the time.  He always waved and said hello.  He seemed like a really nice guy, and it was only later in the early 90's I think, that I found out everything he was supposed to be involved in.

Offline neo11

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2009, 05:46:46 PM »
I found this a while back and dug it up again:  http://johnsville.blogspot.com/2004/11/rudaj-organization-aka-albanian-mafia.html

"The Rudaj Organization is the name given the Albanian Mafia in the New York City metro area in a 44-page indictment unsealed last week in New York. Twenty-six people were indicted in connection with racketeering, attempted murder, robbery, extortion, gambling and loan-sharking."

"During a bail hearing for one of the two dozen people arrested in the case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Treanor said that the Albanian mob had taken over the operations of the Lucchese family in Astoria (Queens)."

More information on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Rudaj

"Rudaj Organization
Founded    1993
In    Westchester, New York
Years active    1993-2004
Territory    Astoria, Queens, New York City
Ethnicity    Mostly Albanian and Albanian-American, some Greek and Italian
Membership    22 defendants charged in RICO indictment
Criminal activities    Extortion, illegal gambling, robbery
Rivals    Lucchese crime family, Gambino crime family"

Offline NYCMacUser

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2009, 07:47:18 PM »
Ask your parents/grandparents about Jimmy Napp(i). Joey G had nothing to do with the day-to-day running of Astoria/LIC. He was a made man who ran the book, but nothing else. Jimmy G was the MAN.

BTW, we had VERY little crime back then.
Women are like teabags.
We don't know our true strength
until we are in hot water! â€”Eleanor Roosevelt

Offline JoeyC

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2009, 10:33:00 PM »
  If I remember correctly, Joe Gallo owned the candy store on Crescent and Broadway.  I used to se him on Broadway all the time.  He always waved and said hello.  He seemed like a really nice guy, and it was only later in the early 90's I think, that I found out everything he was supposed to be involved in.


Two brothers owned it. Gallo hung out there, and in that vicinity, to get away from Mob stuff. He was still active gangster, but not around this neighborhood.   When the brothers sold store and retired he stayed in front of OTB at times, but was getting pretty sick and old by then.       

In a book by two FBI (forever bothering Italians) members, a few pics of Galo are in it, including one of him in front of Sperazza's (candy store)     From picture, itseems they had survailence set up in that building that is on top of Synergy gym.


Gallo had a son who was  a bit wild, but would have gone straight, but he was set up as a teenager on a drug charge, and was in prison for about 30 years.   He (the son) hung out in Manhattan, around 29th street and 2nd avenue.    Some guys who were up on charges got off by saying he was involved.     Gallo waited all that time for son to get out, and was probably pressured by government to cooperate to get son out, but he obviously refused. Irony is, he got sent to prison right before son's release. 

Gallo was not from Astoria, by the way. He was from manhattan, 11th street off avenue A origionally.  Moved here I'm guessing about 1950's.

You are right, he was nice, acted not at all  like a gangster.  He was sometimes pissed off at local yokels who conducted themselves like they were gangsters, and they were banned from area he hung out in.   He was let out of prison just before his death so he could die at home. He lived in first building off broadway on cresent street, going towards 31 avenue.

Offline JoeyC

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2009, 10:46:17 PM »
In the 1980's there were two seperate arrests in Astoria. In one, police were called to building on 29th street off broadway, behind Sac's Pizza. (Sac's was not there at time) 

The super of building had been robbed, police interupted, found $4 million in cash, and cocaine.   Dominicans were involved on both ends.  On same block, other side of Broadway,  a year later, a car was siezed with two men from Columbia in it.    They had several  hundred thousand on them, and in their apartment, 29th betwen 33rd and 34th avenue, was found $2 million and cocaine.  Yes, the economy was VERY good in the 80's!  :-)

Offline Mckenna797

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2009, 12:15:07 AM »
there was more of a Mob presence in Long Island city in the area around Saint Rita's church in the 50's and 60's If you went by 36th avenue west of 21st street there were at least a dozen Italian social clubs the one's that come to mind are the Mano boys, the black eagle they were all west of 14th street most on 11th , 10, and 9th streets

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2009, 12:15:07 AM »

Offline Chris

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2009, 09:49:37 AM »

Two brothers owned it. Gallo hung out there, and in that vicinity, to get away from Mob stuff. He was still active gangster, but not around this neighborhood.   When the brothers sold store and retired he stayed in front of OTB at times, but was getting pretty sick and old by then.       

In a book by two FBI (forever bothering Italians) members, a few pics of Galo are in it, including one of him in front of Sperazza's (candy store)     From picture, itseems they had survailence set up in that building that is on top of Synergy gym.

I remember reading that book by the two FBI guys.   Their claim to fame was that they bugged Mafia Don Paul Castellano's Staten Island home.   Castellano, of course, was the guy John Gotti's henchman gunned down in front of Sparks' steakhouse.  I remember reading about Gallo, the "consigliore" of Castellone's family, the Gambino family I believe.  I remember the vignette about that candy store on the southeast corner of Crescent Street, which was still open when I moved to Astoria in '87.   I remember it well, though I never went in there.   I remember in that book the FBI guys said there were always people hanging out in the candy store not paying for anything.   I later read that those FBI guys made all that stuff up about Castellano, but never bothered to follow up about it.

Offline Chris

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2009, 10:07:25 AM »
Some interesting stuff from the New York Times:  (I'd like to know where Soccer is or was)

Jan. 3, 2006

Photo: Alex Rudaj, outside Jimbo's Bar in Astoria, Queens, on April 15, 2003. Authorities say he runs the Corporation, an Albanian group that they believe is trying to become New York City's sixth mob family. (Photo by Federal Bureau of Investigation)


Beginning in the 1990's, the Corporation, led by a man named Alex Rudaj, established ties with established organized crime figures including members of the Gambino crime family, the authorities say. Then, through negotiations or in armed showdowns, the Albanians struck out on their own, daring to battle the Luchese and Gambino families for territory in Queens, the Bronx and Westchester County, prosecutors say.

During one of these confrontations, in August 2001 at an Astoria gambling parlor called Soccer Fever, Mr. Rudaj and at least 14 of his men served notice of their intentions to an associate of the Gambino family who ran the club, prosecutors contend in court documents.

Brandishing guns, one of Mr. Rudaj's men overturned gambling tables, another grabbed money, and a third pistol-whipped a patron, the authorities said.

''Gentlemen, the game is over,'' one of Mr. Rudaj's men told patrons playing barbout, a dice game. These details and more have emerged during the trial of Mr. Rudaj and five other men in Federal District Court in Manhattan. A jury is now deliberating charges against them, including racketeering, attempted murder, extortion, loan-sharking and gambling.

The defense lawyers have called the government's claims exaggerated, and although they concede that the six men conducted gambling operations, the lawyers deny that their clients belonged to a criminal organization that used violence and extortion to maintain its network of profitable gambling interests, as prosecutors have said. A verdict is possible this week.


Dec. 20, 2005

Ms. Rodgers, the prosecutor, said the Albanian crime ring had controlled a network of 50 video gambling machines. The machines themselves, a type of arcade game, are not illegal, but it is illegal to pay money to winners. The ring collected protection payments and illegal gambling proceeds weekly from various restaurants and social clubs in the Bronx and Astoria.

One machine, Ms. Rodgers said, could generate more than $7,000 a week. But even by a conservative estimate, she said, 100 machines generating $750 a week would produce $4 million a year.

After a showdown between Italians and Albanians at a club called Soccer Fever in Astoria, Mr. Ivezaj was recorded, in a tape played for the jury during the trial, saying that if the Italians had pulled their guns, "Everybody dies. Guaranteed. Nobody walks out of there alive. Either them or us." The trial will continue today with closing arguments by the defense.

I couldn't resist adding this tidbit, even though it has nothing to do with Astoria:

Members of the Albanian organization felt so sure of themselves that they claimed John Gotti's old table at Rao's, the exclusive East Harlem restaurant patronized by writers and reputed Italian crime family members, Ms. Rodgers said.



Offline Yaxpac

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2009, 10:10:53 AM »
I remember reading that book by the two FBI guys.   Their claim to fame was that they bugged Mafia Don Paul Castellano's Staten Island home.   Castellano, of course, was the guy John Gotti's henchman gunned down in front of Sparks' steakhouse.  I remember reading about Gallo, the "consigliore" of Castellone's family, the Gambino family I believe.  I remember the vignette about that candy store on the southeast corner of Crescent Street, which was still open when I moved to Astoria in '87.   I remember it well, though I never went in there.   I remember in that book the FBI guys said there were always people hanging out in the candy store not paying for anything.   I later read that those FBI guys made all that stuff up about Castellano, but never bothered to follow up about it.

the book was called Boss of Bosses and yes, it was a total sham and mostly made up.  The two FBI agents who were trying to make a buck were Andy Kurins and Joe O'Brien.  From what I have read, they never bugged the white House (Castellano home) by feeding the dobermans drugged steaks as noted in the book.  It sounds like the majority of the book is fiction...aside from Castellano having the penile implant and sleeping with his Columbian made.  That part is true. 

Offline neo11

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2009, 02:03:55 PM »
Some interesting stuff from the New York Times:  (I'd like to know where Soccer is or was)

Jan. 3, 2006

Photo: Alex Rudaj, outside Jimbo's Bar in Astoria, Queens, on April 15, 2003. Authorities say he runs the Corporation, an Albanian group that they believe is trying to become New York City's sixth mob family. (Photo by Federal Bureau of Investigation)


Beginning in the 1990's, the Corporation, led by a man named Alex Rudaj, established ties with established organized crime figures including members of the Gambino crime family, the authorities say. Then, through negotiations or in armed showdowns, the Albanians struck out on their own, daring to battle the Luchese and Gambino families for territory in Queens, the Bronx and Westchester County, prosecutors say.

During one of these confrontations, in August 2001 at an Astoria gambling parlor called Soccer Fever, Mr. Rudaj and at least 14 of his men served notice of their intentions to an associate of the Gambino family who ran the club, prosecutors contend in court documents.

Brandishing guns, one of Mr. Rudaj's men overturned gambling tables, another grabbed money, and a third pistol-whipped a patron, the authorities said.

''Gentlemen, the game is over,'' one of Mr. Rudaj's men told patrons playing barbout, a dice game. These details and more have emerged during the trial of Mr. Rudaj and five other men in Federal District Court in Manhattan. A jury is now deliberating charges against them, including racketeering, attempted murder, extortion, loan-sharking and gambling.

The defense lawyers have called the government's claims exaggerated, and although they concede that the six men conducted gambling operations, the lawyers deny that their clients belonged to a criminal organization that used violence and extortion to maintain its network of profitable gambling interests, as prosecutors have said. A verdict is possible this week.


Dec. 20, 2005

Ms. Rodgers, the prosecutor, said the Albanian crime ring had controlled a network of 50 video gambling machines. The machines themselves, a type of arcade game, are not illegal, but it is illegal to pay money to winners. The ring collected protection payments and illegal gambling proceeds weekly from various restaurants and social clubs in the Bronx and Astoria.

One machine, Ms. Rodgers said, could generate more than $7,000 a week. But even by a conservative estimate, she said, 100 machines generating $750 a week would produce $4 million a year.

After a showdown between Italians and Albanians at a club called Soccer Fever in Astoria, Mr. Ivezaj was recorded, in a tape played for the jury during the trial, saying that if the Italians had pulled their guns, "Everybody dies. Guaranteed. Nobody walks out of there alive. Either them or us." The trial will continue today with closing arguments by the defense.

I couldn't resist adding this tidbit, even though it has nothing to do with Astoria:

Members of the Albanian organization felt so sure of themselves that they claimed John Gotti's old table at Rao's, the exclusive East Harlem restaurant patronized by writers and reputed Italian crime family members, Ms. Rodgers said.




Finally a reply about this!  Soccer Fever used to be on 32nd Street, just south of 30th Avenue (across from where Pinocchio is today) but in the late 90s moved to the apartment building on 29th Street which houses Momento...the entrance was on the 29th Street side, however, to the right of the main entrance to the apartment building.  I think it's been gone for a while though.

As for the story of taking over John Gotti's table, apparently Alex Rudaj brought about 20 or 30 of his "soldiers" with him, fully armed, ensuring that he got the table!

Offline JoeyC

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Re: Organized crime in Astoria?
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2009, 01:17:20 AM »
I remember reading that book by the two FBI guys.   Their claim to fame was that they bugged Mafia Don Paul Castellano's Staten Island home.   Castellano, of course, was the guy John Gotti's henchman gunned down in front of Sparks' steakhouse.  I remember reading about Gallo, the "consigliore" of Castellone's family, the Gambino family I believe.  I remember the vignette about that candy store on the southeast corner of Crescent Street, which was still open when I moved to Astoria in '87.   I remember it well, though I never went in there.   I remember in that book the FBI guys said there were always people hanging out in the candy store not paying for anything.   I later read that those FBI guys made all that stuff up about Castellano, but never bothered to follow up about it.

The agents were forced to retire over book, but did not care, since they made more money from book than they would from their job. They lied a lot. The lie they were forced to admit to is opening of book, of how 'They" snuck in and planted bug. They didn't. Other lies were guys not aying at store--it was not a club, it was a legit business, and people payed.   Second big lie is that they would often walk into store, and Gallo would let them sit and talk to them. Untrue.  But Mafia guys never sue, so they got away with that. 


 

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