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Members of the Five Points Gang, early 20th century

The Five Points Gang and Five Pointers was a notorious, of Irish Americans dominated transition beginning of the 20th century in New York City .

Organization and Territory

The gang was founded by Paul Kelly alias Paolo Antonini Vaccareli. The Five Pointers had a youth organization, Forty Thieves Juniors , which later became the Five Points Juniors . Such youth gangs were common at the time, some young people could be promoted and integrated into the adult gang, but many also left the youth gang and looked for a normal job.

The gang was named after the Five Points , a 19th century slum district on the south of Manhattan's Lower East Side . At their wedding around 1905 it had around 1,500 members and ruled an area between Broadway , Bowery , Fourteenth Street and City Hall Park .

Conflict with the Eastman Gang

From 1901 the gang fought against the Eastman Gang of Monk Eastman for the territory of the Lower East Side. Both were the only ones left of the gangs that had formed in New York City since the 1860s.

In 1903 there was a mass shooting in Rivington Street with over 100 people involved, but only three were killed. The conflict was interrupted when Eastman was jailed for robbery and assault on February 2, 1904. In addition, Tammany Hall politicians intervened against the war, which both groups used for election campaign purposes and had no interest in such high-profile, bloody conflicts. Mobster Frankie Yale took over the presidency of the Unione Siciliana from 1918. The Tammany Hall thus obtained secure Italian votes in the elections.

The conflict was initially over on May 14, 1908, when Max "Kid Twist" Zwerbach and his bodyguard Vach "Cyclone Louie" Lewis were killed by the Five Pointers , because the Eastman Gang split into three factions, the largest of which was under command stood by Jack Zelig , who continued the conflict. Zelig was shot dead in 1912.

Johnny Torrio and Al Capone

Some associations with smaller gangs led to the expansion of the Five Pointers. So in 1900 parts of the Plug Uglies came to them, and when Johnny Torrios James Streeters joined the Five Pointers in 1905 , the gang was estimated to be 1,500 strong. So another gang war could be won, this time against the Irish "White Handers" .

Although Kelly was a great role model for Torrio, he left the gang around 1906 and went to Brooklyn . He realized that further gang wars would cost too many losses and that it would be beneficial to conduct more "peaceful" businesses. In 1909 he followed the call of his aunt Victoria Moresco to help her husband Jim Colosimo with his problem with three blackmailers. When he killed this, he practically became Colosimo's managing director and in 1919 brought Al Capone to Chicago, who was followed by Louis Campagna after his release from prison .

Cosa Nostra

At the latest with the beginning of alcohol prohibition in the United States in 1919, the organization crumbled as the leading members went different ways to make a profit from the alcohol trade. It was Frankie Yale in particular who worked with the likes of Frank Marlow , Willie "Two-Knife" Altierri , Sam Pollaccia , Johnny "Silk Stocking" Giustra , "Little Augie" Pisano , Vincent Mangano , Joe Adonis and Albert "Mad Hatter" Anastasia built a gang of the type that became common for the American Cosa Nostra . In 1922 the young Vincenzo Gibaldi joined, who was to make a name for himself in Chicago as Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn .

Other members were drawn to the gang of Nathan Kaplan and Johnny Spanish . From 1918 to 1919 both mastered the “labor racketeering” with their clubs ; They had taken over the monopoly, so to speak, from Benjamin Fein and Joseph Rosenzweig when they could no longer exercise their control due to imprisonment . After various disputes that are counted among the so-called " Labor Slugger Wars ", the notorious Murder, Inc. was formed under Louis Buchalter , which carried out murder assignments for the National Crime Syndicate in the 1930s .

Lucky Luciano joined Joe Masseria ; his youth contacts with the Bugs and Meyer mob led to the formation of the Broadway mob , with Joe Adonis as boss . Thus, members of the Five Pointers later became bosses of the American Cosa Nostra :

Members (selection)

Surname birth death Cause of death later family rank there annotation
Adonis, Joe 1902 1971 Heart attack Genovese Deported to Italy in 1956
Anastasia, Albert 1902 1957 shot Gambino head Leader Murder, Inc.
Capone, Al 1899 1947 natural death Chicago outfit boss popular archetype of gangster
Campagna, Louis 1900 1955 natural death Chicago outfit lieutenant u. a. Bodyguard from Capone
Ellison, James T. 1861 1920s Gophers boss "Biff"
Harrington, Bill Bodyguard from Paul Kelly
Hickman, Joe last known leader of the gang
Hogan, Pat testified against James T. Ellison
Chaplain, Nathan shot own gang boss Kosher Nostra
Kelly, Paul shot Founder of the gang and contact person for Tammany Hall
Luciano, Lucky 1897 1962 Heart attack Genovese head Deported to Italy in 1945
Mangano, Vincent 1888 1951 shot Gambino head took control of the docks
McManus, Jack 1905 right hand of Paul Kelly
Pioggi, Louis 1889 1961 Max Zwerbach and Vach Lewis murderers "The Lump"
Riley, Pat "Razor"
Torrio, Johnny 1882 1957 Heart attack Chicago outfit head brought Al Capone to Chicago
Yale, Frankie 1893 1928 shot President of the Unione Siciliana

Movies and movie quotes

  • The powerful gang boss Doyle Lonnegan from the classic The Clou came from Five Points, but denied its origin.
  • Gangs of New York (2002) by Martin Scorsese describes the unrest in the Five Points in the middle of the 19th century and the beginning of the gang system on which the later Five Pointers also built. In addition to the feature film, the television documentary Uncovering the Real Gangs of New York was created , which deals with the historical background of the film.


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