The decline and fall of the New York mafia

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Clockwise from top left, surveillance photographs of Vincent Asaro at J&S Cakes/MVP Trucking in 1987, at a social club at 433 Meeker in 1989, outside Glendale Sports Club in 2013 and at James Burke’s wake in 1996 at Romanelli Funeral Home. Credit U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York

From the New York Times, a story of the mafia’s decline:

After he had helped pull off one of the biggest cash robberies in American history — the Lufthansa heist of 1978 — and stashed millions of dollars, along with burlap sacks of gold chains, crates of watches, and diamonds and emeralds, in his cousin’s basement, Vincent Asaro thought first about the code: Protect the family.

“He says, ‘We got to be real careful now,’” his cousin testified. “‘Don’t spend anything. Don’t buy anything major.’”

He kept quiet, but another part of Mr. Asaro, a Mafia yeoman working his way up through New York’s Bonanno crime family, could not resist. He bought a Bill Blass-model Lincoln and a Formula speedboat — symbols of a man who wanted to belong.

Mr. Asaro did not realize his world was vanishing.

Read the rest here.

An area on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, known as “down the hole,” was once a notorious dumping ground for mob bodies. According to Gaspare Valenti, one of the 1978 Lufthansa robbers, the loot was initially stored in his house at 684 Drew Street. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times
An area on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, known as “down the hole,” was once a notorious dumping ground for mob bodies. According to Gaspare Valenti, one of the 1978 Lufthansa robbers, the loot was initially stored in his house at 684 Drew Street. Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times
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The decline and fall of the New York mafia