Posts Tagged ‘Umberto’s Clam House’

A mob hit gone wrong on East 79th Street

March 5, 2010

On April 7, 1972, Colombo crime family racketeer Joseph “Crazy Joe” Gallo (below) was gunned down in Little Italy—celebrating his 43rd birthday at Umberto’s Clam House, no less.

His murder had to be avenged. So on August 11, a hit man was hired to take out the four Colombo loyalists behind Gallo’s slaying.

The hit man was told to go to Neapolitan Noodle, at 320 East 79th Street, and that his four targets were sitting at the bar.

The Colombo mobsters had been at the bar—but they got up and went to a table. Four kosher meat sellers who had nothing to do with the mafia took their places, each having a drink while waiting for their wives.

But the hit man didn’t realize this and gunned down the four meat sellers. Two died and two were wounded. No one was ever charged for these accidental, gruesome slayings.

Crazy Joe Gallo’s last moments in Little Italy

February 7, 2009

Joseph Gallo, nicknamed “crazy” by fellow mobsters, was a Red Hook–born gangster specializing in typical 1950s and 1960s mafia activities such as extortion and racketeering.

joegallopictureHe was also flamboyant, charming, and well-read, and in the early 1970s he became kind of a celebrity, hanging out with writers, actors, and other New York scenesters. 

But he made a fatal mistake on the night of his 43rd birthday, on April 7, 1972. After visiting the Copacabana nightclub, he stopped into Umberto’s Clam House on Mulberry Street in Little Italy. It was around 5 a.m. Supposedly a rival mobster saw him enter Umberto’s; within minutes, gunmen entered the restaurant and start firing. 

Gallo was hit five times, staggered out to the street, and died. He’s buried in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery.

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There’s the crime scene at Umberto’s early the next morning. Apparently Gallo thought he was safe there because of an unwritten agreement among gangsters that Little Italy was off-limits to bloodshed. 

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Umberto’s Clam House has since relocated a few blocks away, on the corner of Broome and Mulberry Streets in ever-shrinking Little Italy.

What happened when Gallo loyalists tried to avenge his murder? Here’s the story of a hit gone very, very wrong.

Bob Dylan’s 1976 song “Joey” tells Gallo’s story. Watch Part I and Part II here.