A Special Order


“No one will ever kill me, they wouldn’t dare.” – Former Bonanno family underboss and lifelong criminal Carmine Galante was so merciless, callous, and—most of all—fearless, that he didn’t think for a second he’d go out in the blaze of gunfire that killed him in Bushwick that summer afternoon.

Shortly before 3pm on Thursday July 12, 1979, three masked gunmen rushed into the backyard of Joe and Mary’s Italian Restaurant where Carmine Galante—the man responsible for countless assaults and robberies, an estimated 80+ murders, and famously carving out the HOV lane on the heroin highway to the US in the 60s—was eating lunch in the restaurant’s backyard. Moments later, he was dead on the ground, a lit cigar still hanging from his mouth.

Born on New York’s Lower East Side to Sicilian parents, Carmine lived the kind of legendary life of crime you’d think only existed in movies. A middle school dropout and gang leader by age 15, little Carmine wasted no time fucking shit up for everyone who got in his way.

In the subsequent years, Carmine’s increasingly frequent and violent crimes did not go unnoticed. Sure, there was a mistrial here, some early parole there, but with the amount of trouble dude was causing, it’s no surprise that Galante, who earned the nickname “Cigar” because of the omnipresent stogie he kept hanging from his shitty little mouth, ended up doing quite a few years in prison.

This is where authorities got the closest look they would get at one of the century’s most notorious criminals – those who evaluated him in prison determined he had the IQ of a 14 year old, and (surprise!) a psychopathic personality. But despite spending several long stints behind bars, the Cigar kept climbing his way up the ranks of the Bonanno family, from capo to under boss, until eventually he considered himself the family boss, when Philip Rastelli, the guy who was supposed to take the position ended up in the slammer shortly after being selected by the Mafia commission in 1974.

Too bad the rest of the fam didn’t exactly agree with him. Ol’ Carmine’s downfall would be the simplest of sins – greed. Dude didn’t like to share. So after decades of orchestrating coup after coup against his rivals, from the Gambinos to the Genovese, it was his own crime family who eventually had to shut him up. Joseph Bonanno himself, who was Carmine’s friend and mentor for most of his life, is said to have been the one who called in the hit.

After all was said and done, not even God would stick around long enough to forgive him for his sins. He was such an evil bastard that the catholic church officially refused to allow a mass for his funeral. Hey, at least his cigars were there till the end.

—Alix / @alixmcalpine

No Comments, Comment or Ping

Reply to “A Special Order”