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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

One out of four

In 1930 there was a wee bit of a gang warfare going on in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn between the established hoodlumarchy of the Shapiro brothers, Meyer and Irving, and the upstarts Abe Reles, Buggsy Goldstein, Harry "Pittsburgh Phil" Strauss and the rest of their click which included their counterparts of neighboring Ocean Hill (the two gangs united under the moniker of the Combination)

Eighty-five years ago on this date Reles, Goldstein and  two other guys named George DeFeo and Joe Ambrosia stopped into a candy store to pick up the profits of a slot machine.

While the quartet was in the store a Shapiro man crept up to their car and slit the rear driver's side tire. When the gangsters reappeared Reles began to change the tire while his associates loitered about. Moments later a car drove by and a Thompson machine-gun spat fiery death as the pulps might say. All four gangsters took a dose of lead but it was DeFeo who got the worst of it with bullets in the heart and head. Reles, Goldstein and Ambrosia lived to fight another day but DeFeo was done.

The full story on the Shapiro/Combination's battle for Brownsville can be found in Gangster City.


John DuMond said...

"It's not the fall that kills you, it's that sudden stop at the end."

-Abe Reles

Abe was the Yogi Berra of the New York underworld.

Pat Downey said...

His Relesisms are still quoted in the underworld to this day.