Few New Yorkers are aware that the tenements and storefronts of the East Village, famous for Beat poetry, avant-garde art, and alternative rock music, were a stronghold of mafia racketeering, treachery, and intrigue for almost seventy years. From the 1920s to 1990, mob icons lived in or frequented the East Village, known as part of the Lower East Side until the mid-1960s.
In The East Village Mafia, author Thomas F. Comiskey shares the history of this little-known Manhattan mafia enclave that wielded influence on the direction and destiny of organized crime in New York City, telling how:
- Mafia royalty Lucky Luciano, Joe "the Boss" Masseria, and Joseph Bonanno lived in or frequented the East Village;
- East Village-bred Mafiosi plotted the assassinations of five Cosa Nostra bosses;
- Lucky Luciano ordained the East Village to be one of the mafia’s major heroin distribution centers after World War II;
- A mobster from Avenue A conspired to sell the Vatican millions worth of bogus stocks and bonds, some forged in the East Village;
- A sit down in Mafia don Joseph Bonanno's favorite Social Club on East Twelfth Street determined control over a New Jersey hotel; and
- A federal agent from Avenue A and Fifteenth Street became the nemesis of mafia narcotics dealers.