A vain man of good looks, small means, and no family links to the mob, Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano steadily worked his way up to acting boss of the Bonanno crime family, becoming its leader when official boss Joseph Massino went to the clink in 2003. But at a time when the Mob was crawling with secret operatives and informants caving to government pressure to flip, Basciano obeyed the code of La Cosa Nostra. "I got faith in one guy," he told a group of mobsters during a secretly taped meeting.
"Dry and Boring"
From the Bowery Boys and the Five Points Gang through the rise of the Jewish "Kosher Nostra" and the ascendance of the Italian Mafia, mobsters have played a major role in the city's history, lurking just around the corner or inside that nondescript building. Bill "the Butcher" Poole, Paul Kelly, Monk Eastman, "Lucky" Luciano, Carlo Gambino, Meyer Lansky, Mickey Spillane, John Gotti - each held sway over New York neighborhoods that nurtured them and gave them power.