Recently I was talking with a friend who lived in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn NYC circa 1960-1964. He was a member of St Francis Xavier Catholic Church located about three blocks away from Gallo's social club/headquarters at Carroll St at 4th Avenue/President St Tenement House.
The new Umberto's Clam House, a Little Italy restaurant, a block away from the Old Police Headquarters building, rests on the laurels of one of New York's most famous nearby mafia murders. Joseph 'Crazy Joey' Gallo was killed in the old 'original' Umberto's Clam House in 1972, in retaliation for the 1971 shooting of Joseph A. Colombo Sr. at a Columbus Day Italian American Civil Rights League rally one year previous, at Columbus Circle.
Joey Gallo had celebrated his 43rd birthday at the Copacabana nightclub with a group of arty friends that included the actor Jerry Orbach, comedian David Steinberg, and columnist Earl Wilson. The party finished and Gallo, his bodyguard, and four women went to Little Italy in downtown Manhattan, looking for a place to eat.
The only restaurant open was Umberto's Clam House on Mulberry Street, owned by the mobbed up Matthew 'Matty the Horse' Ianniello. Robert Daley, Deputy Police Commissioner, said the party ate 'Italian delicacies.' Gallo and his bodyguard, Pete Diapoulis, sat with their backs to the door. (BAD IDEA)
New York -- A rope with a sign stating 'Crime Scene, Search Area, Stop' is stretched across the intersection of Hester and Mulberry Streets in the Little Italy section of lower Manhattan, blocking off Umberto's Clam House, where reputed mobster Joseph 'Crazy Joe' Gallo was slain early April 7, while celebrating his 43rd birthday with family members and friends. Officials said his slaying might be the first salvo in a new gangland war. Gallo was the third man killed in gangster style in as many days. (1972)
The assassin (from the Colombo mob family) put four bullets into Crazy Joey Gallo at about 5 a.m. Gallo staggered out the front door onto Mulberry Street, where he collapsed and died.
Twenty shots were fired in all. The assassin escaped. Pete Diapoulas was wounded. He refused to talk to the police. The shooting left 'Little Italy' (the surrounding neighborhood) in an agitated state. A witness said they saw pistols in tenement windows. Deputy Commissioner Robert Dailey said, 'He made a mistake, Crazy Joe did. He should have gone home to bed last night.'
The old Umberto's is now gone. (The old Umberto's Clam house was at 129 Mulberry St.) This, the new one, is at 386 Broome St. It has the macabre glamour of the old restaurant — sans bullet holes. It is owned by the same family that owned the old Umberto's, although Matty the Horse' Ianniello (one of the owners) went to jail for tax evasion. Tourists love the place. It is pure old New York, just one block from the Old Police Headquarters on Centre Street.