Thomas Comiskey of Scarborough had a 33-year career as an attorney at the New York City Department of Investigation. From 1953–1990 he lived on East 14th Street, at the northern boundary of Manhattan’s East Village.
Fascinated by local history, his neighborhood, and the long-forgotten Italian community with Mafia ties in the East Village, he devoted himself, after his retirement, to research.
The result is The East Village Mafia, a book that explores the powerful Manhattan Mafia enclave that shaped organized crime for seven decades. It is available as an eBook or paperback at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
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, intrigue and treachery for almost 70 years.
From the 1920s to 1990, mob icons like Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Joe “the Boss” Masseria and Joseph Bonanno, and their underbosses and capos, lived in or frequented the East Village.
There they planned and perpetrated headline-grabbing murders, international heroin trafficking, counterfeiting, extortion, gambling, and loansharking.
Joseph Bonanno was the founder and boss of the Bonanno crime family and an original member of the “Mafia Commission” formed in 1931, after Lucky Luciano enlisted Jewish gangsters to assassinate Bonanno’s boss, Salvatore Maranzano.
Some believe that Joseph Bonanno, a traditional Sicilian who allegedly disdained the drug trade, was the model for Vito Corleone in The Godfather.
Joe Bonanno’s Manhattan headquarters was the Shoreview Social Club at 413-15 East 12th Street. His son Salvatore “Bill” Bonanno grew up to be a capo and, in 1964, consigliere for his father’s crime family.