Wednesday night’s brazen rubout of Gambino crime family boss Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali on Staten Island evoked images of the bad old days when the streets of New York ran red with mafioso blood.
The hit on Cali right in front of his Todt Hill mansion— with his wife and kids inside — was unorthodox even by mob standards, with one Post source describing it as “disrespectful” because it took place near his family home. But it is only the latest in a long history of audacious rubouts.
Before Cali, Paul Castellano was the most recent mob boss to be assassinated — in an infamous 1985 hit that solidified John Gotti’s grip on the Gambino crime family. Castellano, then the clan’s boss, and his underboss Thomas Bilotti were gunned down moments after pulling up to Sparks Steak House on East 46th St. in Manhattan.
In 1979, Bonanno crime family boss Carmine Galante was executed in a hail of bullets as he chowed down on an Italian lunch in the backyard of Joe and Mary’s Restaurant in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The aftermath made for one of the most iconic photographs from the gangland era — showing Galante lying in a pool of his own blood, his left eye blown out and his still-smoking cigar in his mouth.
Albert Anastasia, the head of Murder Inc. and one of the most ruthless killers in Mafia history, met his fate in 1957 while awaiting a haircut in the barbershop of the Park Sheraton Hotel in Midtown. In a moment of confusion, Anastasia charged at the mirror — mistaking the reflection for the actual gunman — and grabbed at a gun in his waistband that wasn’t there.
His murder was ordered by rival mobster Vito Genovese, causing a mob uproar. Anastasia’s Murder Inc. — the mob’s enforcement arm — was behind hundreds of hits, with Anastasia believed to have personally carried out 30.
No one was charged in Anastasia’s murder but it was long believed that Joseph “Crazy Joe” Gallo was among those responsible. Gallo got what was coming to him when a gunman stormed Umberto’s Clam House in Lower Manhattan as he enjoyed a dish of scungilli in 1972. Gallo, who was accompanied in the back of the restaurant with his bodyguard, new wife, stepdaughter and others, staggered onto the sidewalk and died.
The namesake leader of the Colombo crime family, Joseph Colombo, was shot three times, including once in the head, as he marched among thousands at an Italian American civil rights rally in Columbus Circle. The 1971 attack didn’t kill Colombo, the vocal founder of the Italian-American Civil Rights League, but did enough damage to leave him paralyzed. He died from complications stemming from the assassination attempt seven years later.
Joseph Colombo after being shot in the head and critically wounded in an exchange of gunfire.
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