The Gallo-Profaci War that was seeded in late 1959 and would start in earnest in late 1960 and later rage through 1963 claimed scores of lives and left many more wounded, as gunmen from both sides went out daily to stalk their prey. Joe Profaci and his soldiers and associates, who outnumbered the Gallo brothers and their gang five to one dominated the warfare.
At the height of the warfare, the Gallo gang had holed up at their headquarters at 51 President Street, in the Red Hook neighborhood, down by the docks of the Gowanus Canal in South Brooklyn. This was where they “hit the mattresses,” all living together within this compound for their mutual safety.
In fact, one entire block of President Street would be cordoned off with cars, and makeshift blockades. 51 President Street had chicken wire on the windows to prevent against Profaci forces lobbing a hand grenade or Molotov cocktail through a window. And guards armed with high powered rifles watched the entire street from the rooftop 24/7 to prevent against sneak attacks.
This was the mob landscape of 1961-1963. It was in this atmosphere that carloads of gunsels from both factions would roam the streets daily searching each other out for assassination.
Part of this twisted conflict was that many of these gunmen were stalking young men that they had known and been the best of friends with all their lives. School mates, neighborhood buddies, guys who’d dated each other’s sisters, went bar hopping together and robbed with, were now at each other’s throats and doing their best to kill one other.
Over the course of this protracted street warfare, many men would die. Many others would be wounded. And still others would just disappear off the face of the earth… leaving to speculation their fate. The daily newspapers reported on much of the battle. But there were many other incidents that never hit the papers.
Beatings, shots pegged at guys that missed, attempted murder plots that fizzled, etc.
Brooklyn was ground zero in this underworld battle. But all the boroughs and even the Long Island suburbs would be drawn into the action so to speak.
A Major Revolt
Carmine (Junior) Persico started out in concert with his buddies Larry and Joey Gallo in their complete dissatisfaction with the way their boss, Giuseppe (The Old Man) Profaci hoarded all the racket profits, doling out what they felt was the smallest of stipends to his loyal soldiers and minions and heavily “taxing” his rank and file on any profits they made.