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.

My friend's church was at Carroll and 6th Avenue. Gallo was from Red Hook, Brooklyn. He told about the mob in Brooklyn and their hangouts and thus inspired me to put this post together about Crazy Joe.

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.

The Copacabana

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.

Joey Gallo gravesite in Brooklyn

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.

The casket containing legendary gangster Joey Gallo exits Guido’s Funeral Home in his old neighborhood of Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Gallo was gunned down at Umberto’s Clam House in Little Italy on April 7, 1972

As the Roman-Catholic church would later protest concerning the burial of slain Gambino crime family mob boss Paul Castellano later in 1985, Joe was refused a proper burial by his local parish priest. His widowed wife Sina arranged for a substitute priest to fly in from Cleveland to perform the ceremony.

Joseph was a very colorful character and talkative in nature. In the 1950's he was nicknamed "Joey The Blonde" because of his full head of blonde hair. In 1947 after viewing the Richard Widmark film Kiss of Death Joseph began to mimic Widmark's film character, "Tommy Udo" with his drowsy, heavy-lidded appearance and in later years could recite long passages of the movie's dialogue.


Donnie Bishop said...

thank you kim...christopher is right...YOU ARE THE COOLEST !!!!

Unknown said...

Kim, great story.
Is Bob Dylan's song Joey on Desire album related to this? It's a great son by the way.
Eric from Paris to Kim from Detroit

Dee Gilbert said...

Kim, I swear I not long ago watched a special documentary on this and I found it so intriguing.I thought that Joey Gallo had such beautiful eyes. Great mob post!

*Free* Crazy Joe Exhibit in Little Italy said...



Gangland’s notorious past is present at a new gallery retrospective on the life and times of enigmatic gang leader Joey Gallo, mere steps away from the spot where “Crazy Joe" fell.

Among the items on display through early 2011 are vivid photographs from Gallo's personal album as well as notebooks and letters confiscated from Gallo during a 10-year prison sentence.

Four decades after the fact, Gallo’s slaying remains unsolved – but theories are plentiful. Some say revenge for a pastry shop burglary. Others point to older scores, belatedly settled with bullets. But even as Gallo lay bleeding on asphalt, his legend lived and breathed in the streets of New York City.

MOB SCENE offers revolving exhibits of gangland history in contrast with Hollywood versions of the underworld. Hosted by Casino /Analyze This/Kill The Irishman actor Vinny Vella Sr., a Little Italy native.

WHERE: 396 Broome Street – between Mulberry & Centre Market.

With an unobstructed view of old Police Headquarters, MOB Scene sits beside the former NYPD evidence vault where heroin seized during the 'French Connection' case mysteriously vanished in the early 1970s.

In 1912, the gallery was a pool hall called "Little Rock", a hangout of top underworld figures and where the NYPD's "Killer Cop" Charles Becker brutally maimed two neighborhood youths -- three years before he was executed in the Sing Sing electric chair.

WHEN: Nov. 22, 2010 - Spring 2011



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