This is the final installment in our 5-part series detailing Long Island’s underworld.
Through the years, most of the gang wars fought for Cosa Nostra supremacy and other underworld killings played out on the gritty streets of New York City’s five boroughs and in Northern New Jersey. But as Long Island’s population developed and more mob guys started to move out to the suburbs, it was inevitable that, in time, gangland violence would eventually follow them to the countryside.
Long Island had always been used as a bedroom community by the mob. Even for those mob guys who later chose to also operate out there, they generally didn’t view the Island in the same way they did their old inner-city haunts. Certain types of rackets just didn’t fly out on the Island either. Nor did the day-to-day rubbing of elbows between neighborhood racketeers as it did back in the old city neighborhoods where certain city blocks were teaming with wiseguys. These areas sometimes had dozens of mob guys all living and operating on the same street. On Elizabeth Street alone, for instance, you had more racket guys than you could shake a stick at. Mob life in the suburbs offered a very different dynamic, and a much different perspective for mob guys.
But as potential murder targets operated more and more on Long Island and traveled less into the city, during gang wars and intra-family conflicts, many mafiosi and their associates avoided their city haunts on purpose as a protective measure. So, on occasion, it sometimes became necessary to bring the fight out to rivals in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.