Tuesday, 12 March 2013

New York Kingpins

You mention New York and crime and you think of the Mafia.  The Mob has five families in New York City; The Gambino, Lucheese, Bonnano, Colombo and Genovese Families.  These have been in place since the early 1930`s, and for decades, dominated the crime scene in a huge way.  However, they were not the only crime bigshots in the Big Apple.  There has been a flourishing crime scene in Harlem since the 30`s.  The numbers game was big in Harlem and was in the control of a man named Ernie Jones.  The Mob muscled in on this, and Jones knew he did not have the muscle to take on the Italians, so he cut a deal with them.

    The next King of Harlem was called Bumpy Johnson, and he later on took on a protege`, a man called Frank Lucas.  After the death of Johnson, Lucas was able to step into his shoes and expanded a heroin network throughout Harlem and the rest of the city.  Lucas soon amassed great wealth, and in true underworld spirit, used the Police to eliminate any enemies; he grassed them up!  Never had any hesitation in that, and has always admitted it.  But he was not the only Harlem King.  Another man rivalled him in the heroin business and that was Nicky Barnes, a man labelled "Mr Untouchable"  Barnes headed an organisation called "The Commission" a consortium of drug distributors.  Lucas has always refused to accept Barnes as a rival, dismissing him as nothing but a drug pusher.  Then what the hell was Lucas?  For a pusher, Barnes amassed a great fortune himself, both he and Lucas getting super-rich on the deaths of addicts and the destruction of communities.  Lucas continued using Police until he was sent down.  Barnes was convicted, and whilst inside, his friends turned on him, so he became a government witness and had many of his former friends sent down.

    Another notorious mob, was a gang of hired killers from Hells Kitchen.  This gang was the Westies, and they built up a ferocious reputation for murder, so much that the then head of the Gambino Family, Paul Castellano, used them for contract killings.  Their reputation soared in the 70`s and 80`s with men like Jimmy Coonan and Micky Featherstone.  Some years later, Featherstone turned on his confederates, taking them down.

    The Five Families still carry great weight in New York, the Westies have been demised, and the street gangs have grown beyond recognition, and do not yield to anybody.  Nothing will ever change in the Big Apple.