The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #99
Of the many dark yet prevalent aspects of New York City culture, none has sparked more fascination, scholarship, or mythology than organized crime. And, to the degree that we can credit a single individual with creating mob culture as we think of it today, the father of the New York Mafia is surely Charlie “Lucky” Luciano. In a rise that took him from the slums of the Lower East Side to the star-studded Waldorf Towers, Luciano headed an operation that Americanized, urbanized, and corporatized criminal activity until District Attorney Thomas Dewey had him imprisoned in 1936. Released 10 years later as thanks for aiding Naval Intelligence during World War II, Luciano was forced to return to his native Italy and never saw his beloved New York or America again.
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