If you are looking to live in plush quarters fit for a don, and have a few million dollars to spend, there is an opportunity for you to do so. The former mansion (built in 1947) of assassinated Gambino Family boss Albert Anastasia is up for sale. The 25 room mansion at 75 Bluff Road will go on sale on December 8th, at a minimum price of $5.5 million.
Billionaire trucking tycoon Arthur Imperatore Sr. is selling the estate after the passing of his wife. His stepson, lawyer and Fort Lee councilman Armand Pohan, got a little education on the house’s past by a judge with knowledge of Anastasia’s tax evasion trial in the 1950s. The prosecution had pulled blueprints of the mansion to build a model of it to present during the proceedings. “They asked the jury, ‘How could a man who claimed no income the past five years build a house like this?’” reflected Mr. Pohan for the New York Times. “That was Exhibit A. And they won.”
Anastasia was able to build the house by leading one of the more storied criminal careers in La Cosa Nostra. His first major act was joining fellow-future mob superstars Bugsy Siegel, Vito Genovese and Joe Adonis in the slaying of Giuseppe “Joe the Boss” Masseria (his former boss) and ending the Castellammarese War, at the behest of Charles “Lucky”Luciano. When Luciano revolutionized the American mafia by establishing the National Crime Syndicate, headed by The Commission (the Five Families of New York), Anastasia was appointed underboss of the Mangano Family (now the Gambino Family), led by Vincent Mangano.
After beating various murder charges, Luciano placed Anastasia and Louis “Lepke” Buchalter in charge of Murder Inc., the mob’s enforcement arm. It was reported that in 1935, Murder, Inc. had 250 killers (mostly Italian and Jewish goons) on the payroll nationwide and made an estimated $1 million per year ($17 million in today’s dollars). Murder Inc. is believed to have committed between 400 and 1,000 murders for the mob. For his role, Anastasia earned the nicknames “The Mad Hatter” and “Lord High Executioner.” He was never prosecuted for any murders, unlike the other Murder Inc, bosses.
After several business disputes and heated exchanges (mainly because of Anastasia’s close relationship to Luciano and Frank Costello), don Vincent Mangano went missing in 1951. The same year,his brother Philip was killed. The Commission named Anastasia the new boss of the family and renamed it the Anastasia Family. The following years brought many more murders, time served in the military in exchange for American citizenship, indictments and beefs with Genovese, who accused Anastasia of selling membership into his family for $50,000, and La Cosa Nostra pioneer Meyer Lansky over competition over gambling in Cuba. In 1957, Anastasia was ambushed by gunmen and killed as he got a shave at the Park Sheraton Hilton in Manhattan. The family was then taken over by Carlo Gambino, for whom it is named to this day.
The mansion up for sale has passed through the hands of a few, but whomever buys it, is truly buying a piece of history. Anastasia’s full story is too much for this blog post, but he is undoubtedly one of La Cosa Nostra’s most profound legends.