Albert AnastasiaAlbert liked to whack.
In 1903, a beefy ox of a boy was born in Italy. His name was Umberto Anastasio. He and a bunch of his brothers shipped themselves to the US by hiding aboard an Italian cruise liner.
As soon as Albert hit the shore, he had an amazing work ethic. He broke legs, smacked up whores, and rubbed people out morning, noon, and night. By age 14, Albert was already a giant, swarthy bastard, ready to throw down at the drop of a hat. He decided to change the last letter of his last name so his folks wouldn't be embarrassed by his criminal behavior. They must have been proud.
Sweet Sweet Number 18Congress is a harsh mistress. When the 18th Amendment was ratified in 1919, Albert started working for Joe Adonis, helping keep shipments of booze safe from armed alcoholics. Adonis built himself a nice little reputation as a gentleman bootlegger, while Anastasia stood behind him with a couple of gats. For the better part of the 20's, Anastasia procured truckloads of liquor for Adonis. Typically, this meant he stood on the side of the road with some gorilla's he'd shaved waiting for booze trucks to pass by.
An unusual number of those shaved gorillas were circumcised. Anastasia himself wasn't Jewish, but he had a particular camaraderie with Jews that surfaced constantly throughout his career. After he helped kill Joe Masseria alongside Vito Genovese, Joe Adonis, and the Hebrew Bugsy Siegel, Albert became the boss of a new kind of business. Murder Inc. was the disposal end of Lucky Luciano's National Crime Syndicate, and when Albert took over, it was mostly staffed with Jewish hitmen from Brownsville. This was a sign of the new order of the mafia; an integrated mob that no longer cared about the origin of the killer: only the talent.
Admurderstrative AssistantThis desk job at Murder Inc. did not keep Albert's hands clean. He was a sloppy sociopath who helped kill anyone he felt needed special attention. Anastasia personally garotted Peter Panto, a longshoreman intent upon pushing the mob out of the Brooklyn docks. He killed Panto not only to protect mob interests, but also to help out his brother Anthony, who ran the Longshoreman's union.
When Dutch Schultz demanded Thomas Dewey be killed in order to preserve his slot machine empire, Anastasia was the guy who took the job. He borrowed a toddler from a neighbor and sat outside Dewey's apartment on Fifth Avenue. After three days of watching the district attorney and bouncing the boy on his knee, Anastasia drew up a plan to present to Schultz. But Albert knew better than to simply take orders from the Dutchman. He alerted Lucky Luciano to the plan before returning to Schultz.
The affair ended with the Dutchman at the other end of a Murder Inc. gun, and Dewey square in line for promotions all the way to a failed run for president. The National Crime Syndicate had decided the heat from killing Dewey would be too dangerous, and instead opted to off the loud-mouthed Schultz, who no one liked anyway.
No, Don Bluthe's Cartoon is Not About Albert.The 1940's brought change to the US Syndicate. Abe "Kid Twist" Reles began to testify against members of Murder Inc. at the start of that year, sending mafia lowlifes scurrying for cover. He even told the feds about Peter Panto.
Before Reles could testify in front of a judge, however, he fell from his sixth floor suite at the hotel where the police were holding him. Anastasia was safe, but not out of the public eye.
To keep the heat off, Anastasia signed up to help fight Hitler. He enlisted in the US army and insured himself American citizenship by rising to the rank of Sergant. He was stationed in Georgia, and thanks to heavy bribes in his favor, never saw a day of combat. He never even left the US. But that didn't stop him from marching through Brooklyn wearing medal's he'd bought and stolen while in the infantry. Anastasia regaled his fellow mobsters with war stories for years after World War II ended. If anyone knew he was lying, they certainly didn't have the stones to call him on it.
Albert became a big wig in New York when Joe Adonis decided to retire. From 1946 on, Anastasia steadily rose in power by assuming control of Adonis' operations. In 1951, Anastasia felt he was powerful enough to topple the Mangano family bosses, and killed the brothers, Vincent and Phillip Mangano. Everyone knew he'd done it, but they just let him have control because, on the whole, Anastasia played well with others when it came to the rackets.
It's Good to be the kingWith power came psychosis. Anastasia's underlings began referring to him as the Mad Hatter. He was prone to fits of rage and would order hits on people simply because he was having a bad day.
Once, while watching TV, Anastasia saw a news report about Arnold Schuster. Schuster had called the police to inform them that he had seen infamous bank robber Willie Sutton getting off a New York subway. Anastasia was furious. "I can't stand squealers," he screamed at the TV, "Hit that guy!" And so, on March 8, 1952, that guy got hit. Anastasia didn't give a shit about Willie Sutton, but Arnold Schuster's loose lips had gotten him on Albert's bad side. That was enough to warrant murder.
Yes, But Was He Nixon Bad?Despite the constant killing, Anastasia was a regular family man. He was home to his wife every night by nine, and spent lots of time with his children. So Albert was never quite ruthless enough to catch Vito Genovese. He was a cold hearted killer, an unabashed criminal, and a major mafia boss, but Vito Genovese was a conniving, unpredictable, and vicious bastard.
On October 25, Anastasia awakened early and headed to the city for his day's work. He kissed his wife and hopped in his car. His body-guard had called in sick so Albert had to drive himself.
By 10:25 AM, Albert was in the basement of the Park Sheraton hotel in Manhattan, sitting in a barber's chair waiting for a shave and a haircut. It cost a bit more than two bits. As Anastasia laid back and closed his eyes for a snooze, two gunmen walked in. The older of them, Carlo Gambino raised his gun and shot Anastasia three times. Anastasia, stood up and began to charge his assailants. This only resulted in him losing most of his hands and arms to bullets. After 10 shots, Anastasia was dead. Later that day, Vito Genovese took his position as head of the crime family that would eventually become known as the Gambino family.