Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Staten Island neighborhood of slain Gambino boss is known for mob ties

Cloaked in green, perched high above the city and offering the kind of privacy that would appeal to mob bosses, Todt Hill on Staten Island would in many ways be a fitting location for an old-fashioned Mafia hit.
It has the history. Paul Castellano, who led the Gambino crime family until he was murdered in Manhattan in 1985, conducted business from his Benedict Road mansion. It has also been the home of many other reputed mobsters, including Salvatore Gravano, known as Sammy the Bull, a onetime hit man who informed on his boss, John Gotti.
It also has the look. A Tudor-style house on Longfellow Avenue famously served as the setting of Vito Corleone’s home in “The Godfather,” where the Mafia don greeted guests during his daughter’s wedding in the opening scenes of the movie.
On Wednesday night, Francesco Cali, the reputed boss of the Gambino family, was fatally shot outside his home on Hilltop Terrace, opening a new chapter of Mafia folklore for a typically peaceful neighborhood with some of New York’s City’s finest views and homes. Mr. Cali was shot six times and pronounced dead at Staten Island University Hospital.
Topping out at about 400 feet, the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard south of Maine, the neighborhood’s homes offer panoramic vistas of the New York City skyline, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, New York Harbor and the New Jersey shore. It is filled with opulent, custom-built mansions currently listed for as much as $4 million.
A home in Todt Hill that was used in the movie “The Godfather.”
A home in Todt Hill that was used in the movie “The Godfather.”
It tends to attract doctors, lawyers and executives who value their privacy and aren’t planning any neighborhood cookouts. The irregular streets have no curbs or sidewalks. Well-aged trees offer natural separators between the large plots of land. One resident said on Wednesday he had lived in his house for 12 years and never met his neighbors.
“It’s not very conducive to bringing people pumpkin pies,” Ella Goldin, a Todt Hill resident, told The New York Times in 2011.
The neighborhood is seen as a serene getaway from the bustling city. About 20 miles from midtown Manhattan — about an hour and 15 minutes by car, or an hour and 45 minutes by train and ferry — it has no restaurants or shopping, mostly just trees and homes. Centers of activity include the Richmond Country Club and the elite Staten Island Academy.
“It is charming and elegant, and sometimes when I come up the hill, I feel like I’m in Europe,” Michelle Nicolo told The Times in 2005, shortly after moving in.
Though the neighborhood has generally low crime rates, a brazen crime spree in the 1990s laid bare the neighborhood’s Mafia connections. Investigators tracking a series of burglaries learned that several organized crime members had been victims, leading to an uneasy chase between the police and the mobsters to find the burglars first. The thieves had made off with more than $2 million in cash, electronics and jewelry, including pinkie rings.
The culprits, Michael McLean and Robert Mede, were eventually caught after Mr. McLean used two Broadway tickets he had stolen. The Todt Hill victim went to the theater, tipping off a police officer after they took their seats.



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