Al Capone’s boyhood roots in Brooklyn

Alphonse Gabriel Capone made his name as a gangster in Chicago. But where did young Al get his start? Brooklyn, of course. 

His parents arrived there from Naples in the 1890s, first settling on Navy Street and then moving with their eight kids to an apartment at 38 Garfield Place (below).

It was one of two addresses on the block the Capones reportedly called home.

The Garfield Place building is on the perimeter of Park Slope—which back in Al’s day was just another rough and tumble South Brooklyn neighborhood.

Like other neighborhood kids, “the fat boy from Brooklyn,” as his New York Times obituary states, attended Public School 133 on Butler Street—either dropping out or getting expelled for hitting a teacher.

Later he was married at St. Mary Star of the Sea church on Court Street in Carroll Gardens.

By then, his Brooklyn days were nearing their end. Capone left for Chicago in the 1910s and died of heart failure in 1947.

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15 Responses to “Al Capone’s boyhood roots in Brooklyn”

  1. tom murphy Says:

    He went to Chicago to save his life. I thought he got sliced up in Red Hook.

    ‘Died of heart failure’, you say. Well, everyone dies when their heart stops. You got to share better info than that. He’s dead now, you know. Can’t hurt you.

  2. History though Architecture and Al Capone’s Brooklyn Home « The North River Says:

    […] Elsewhere in the blogiverse, Ephemeral New York has short and sweet post on Al Capone’s Brooklyn neighborhood.  Capone is famous for his criminal empire on Lake Michigan and abbreviated incarceration at Alcatraz, but we shouldn’t overlook his youthful rough and tumble years in Brooklyn. Read the entire post here. […]

  3. Lou Says:

    Several years ago I read that Capone lived at 21 Garfield Place. It was even alluded to when the building was sold two or three years ago. However when I search it online I get an even mix of 38’s and 21’s. Most of the 38’s site the same source but the 21 source is varied. I’m believing the 21, but any way to know for sure.

  4. wildnewyork Says:

    A very helpful Ephemeral reader sent me a copy of a document listing the 38 Garfield Place address. It’s a 1917 draft registration form that looks like it was filled out by Al himself.

    It seems that the family lived at both addresses. This Times article says as much, citing a neighbor who remembers the family living at 38 Garfield:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/30/nyregion/thecity/30capo.html?scp=1&sq=al%20capone%20garfield%20place&st=cse

    Interestingly, on the draft card, Al lists his present occupation as “paper cutter” for the United Paper Box Co. in Brooklyn.

    • Donna Yancosek Says:

      My Fattoruso great grandparents lived on 21 Garfield Place in the apt below the Capone family. Doubters…Look on Ellis Island records to see my kin going there and also census records! Capone’s mom and dad lived upstairs from my kin. I don’t recall hearing that Al lived with them. My grandma told me the parents were good, hard working Italians. She said, “Two good parents can give birth to two different children. One can be a good priest the other a bad gangster!” Al’s mother Teresina Raiola Capone & my great grandpa Pasquale Fattoruso were both from the same Italian village in Angri, Naples. When they were starving, my great grandpa Pasquale Fattoruso fed them. Al would later visit my family in their deli when they moved to Copiague, LI, NY formerly known as “Marconiville.” He came in to say thank you. My great grandpa saw him looking my great aunt up and down and told him, “Why do you disrespect me? I know your mother and father!”. Capone said, “I mean no disrespect. I just came to thank you for feeding my family.” He had his fedora on, spats and came with a body guard and huge limo. I think, he was looking for sugar for prohibition. He did buy sugar for booze from my great grandpa’s brother. Capone also moved to the same area for a time living in Amityville which was once part of Copiague. Capone used to play cards in the woods of Massapequa with his childhood friend, my great Uncle Luigi Fattoruso. My great grandpa moved the family away from Brooklyn to NJ and then to LI to get his son away from the NY gangs. My great Uncle grew up to be a good man. Getting him out of there worked, but childhood friendships were hard to break. I have often wondered if they were cousins as I was told Capone came to the wedding of my great Uncle. I was told by a distant relative in Angri that Raiola remains are located in the same burial area with those of my family. Who knows/! I hope to find out one day!

  5. Lou Says:

    Google has 187 articles for 21, and 123 for 38, and 8 that contain both. As long as we have the block down whatever. Maybe he did live at both.

    “In 1907, the Capone family moved into an apartment in 38 Garfield Place, on the edge of Park Slope. The Capones eventually lived in several other buildings on the block, … including 46 and 21 Garfield Place. Al often hung out at a club at 20 Garfield Place, where he earned a reputation as a skilled pool shark”
    http://gridskipper.com/66135/al-capones-brooklyn#pointmap

  6. Al "DA BOSS" Says:

    This is to help settle the confusion. The Capone family moved to 38 Garfield place apartment first like many families do here. Later they purchased the 21 Garfield Place house, getting that piece of the American way.

  7. vick dinapoli sisemore Says:

    i lived at 43 Garfield place for many years we always knew the Capones lived at 38 Garfield place, my grandparent also lived on the same street knew the Capone family, grandpa was from Naples Italy.

  8. Ann Says:

    My Dad, now deceased told me years ago that my Uncle was a barber in Brooklyn and that Capone lived in his apartment over the barber shop.
    My uncle owned the mult family house. I am reading here that a Gabrielle Capone owned a barber shop. My father was from carroll Gardens, born same year as Al Capone.

  9. captainzorikh Says:

    My landlord says that 182 Graham Ave was Al Capone’s mansion. I don’t know about that, but I have seen the tunnel under the building that may have been a brewery during prohibition…

    • Gemma Says:

      My great great grandmother & extended family lived in 21 Garfield Place. He never lived there. I know my great, great grandmother fought with him & they were neighbors. But my family was in 21 Garfield Place. They weren’t Capone. He didn’t own 21…Are there deeds?

  10. Ann Says:

    Does anyone know what town in Naples Capone was from?

  11. Mitchell Says:

    He left for Chicago in the early 1920’s .he was 20 . he became boss of the chicago outfit around 1925 26.. He was already a married man by time he moved to chicago..

  12. A 1935 crime of passion shocks New Yorkers | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Leibowitz (at the right of Stretz in the above photo), the celebrated attorney who represented Al Capone and the Scottsboro […]

  13. A 1935 crime of passion shocks New Yorkers ⋆ New York city blog Says:

    […] Leibowitz (at the right of Stretz in the above photo), the celebrated attorney who represented Al Capone and the Scottsboro […]

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