12 August 2007

Bootlegging Wars of Red Hook


Sometime back, I posted an item about an art exhibit at the open-air "Art Lot" on Columbia Street. It featured old newspaper clippings about the rough and tough goings-on in the Red Hook area during the first decades of the 20th century. Shootings, drunkedness, mobsters, death, etc. And there was one particularly juicy series of articles of a number of area deaths caused by a batch of bad bootleg liquor.

A reader, who chooses to be Anonymous, wrote Lost City recently with more info about Red Hook's violent past. I can't do any better than to quote him in full and let you sit back and enjoy the trip down Brooklyn's bloody memory lane:

There had been a bootlegging feud going on in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn in the early 1920's. On election night in 1922 there had been a pistol fight between Gregorio Lagana and Joseph Busardo at Tosca Gardens Cafe on Columbia Street. When police arrived they took Busardo who had been shot three times in the back to LI College Hospital as a prisoner. Lagana died. Busardo was later acquitted of the crime as there were no witnesses. On February 8, 1923 Jack Buccafusco and Charles Cucchairo had been visitng Vincent Busardo at his home on Homecrest Avenue. Two men in masks entered the home and killed Cucchairo. Police arrested Busardo & Buccafusco because they did not believe their story. They were released. On April 6, 1923 Vincent Busardo was shot in the back while walking on
DeGraw & Columbia streets. While half conscious on his hospital bed he identified Umberto Anastasio & Guiseppe Florino as his shooters when police brought them to his hospital room. Vincent Busardo died that evening. On April 29th 1923 two men were gunned down on Sackett Street. One man Biagi Giordano died and the other man UAnastasio was in critical condition. This shooting was said to be a vendetta for the killing of Busardo a few weeks earlier. Umberto who became Albert Anastasia and Joseph Florino were linked to many crimes including the disappearance of Pete Panta, a dock worker.

1 comment:

who walk in brooklyn said...

i DESPISE Paul Harvey but 'the rest of the story' there is pretty interesting as well.

btw... either one or both of ya'll might have fun with a photograph i put up this morning... it's from 1998 but looks like it could be from '68, '78, etc.

few thought to celebrate or mourn places like it then because they'd been there-- & would last-- "forever."

anyway, if i've got your geography down, i think you guys will 'get it' & perhaps know more than i do too.

best,

wwib