Organized Crime

Gangster Era Reborn: Unearthed Crime Scenes from New York’s Prohibition Underworld

Nearly 100 years later, there's still new information to discover.

The Bel Tiza Restaurant shortly after Joe Parrino’s murder
Scene and body of Giuseppe Parrino, NYPD 13634D, Courtesy of The New York Municipal Archives

LAST MEAL: THE GIUSEPPE “JOE” PARRINO MURDER (JANUARY 19, 1931)

Being a Joe Masseria loyalist was hazardous to your health in 1930. At the beginning of 1931, that still held true. The Castellammarese War would be over by April but a few Masseria men wouldn’t survive long enough to make peace. Parrino’s brother, Sam, had been murdered in Detroit in May 1930, allegedly on orders from Giuseppe Morello in partnership with Detroit’s Cesare “Chester” LaMare. For reasons lost to history, Parrino still chose to align himself with Masseria and the men who likely had a hand in his brother’s death. His loyalty was rewarded with taking over the family formerly headed by Nicolo Schiro (known today as the Bonanno crime family). Schiro had fled back to Sicily once the war heated up.

And much like the Joseph Pinzolo and the Reina family, the remaining Schiro family members did not take kindly to Parrino’s leadership appointment and plotted his permanent ouster.

On January 19, 1931, Parrino was dining at the Bel Tiza restaurant located at 100 W. 40th St. with two unidentified men. A lone assassin walked in and shot Parrino, delivering at least one headshot and a bullet that pierced the victim’s heart. Parrino crumpled to the floor while his dinner guests hid under the table. The other patrons, too frozen to move, would later state the assassin tossed his weapon to the floor and coolly left without pursuit.

Wide angle view of the murder scene with Joe Parrino’s body in center.
Scene and body of Giuseppe Parrino, NYPD 13634A, Courtesy of The New York Municipal Archives
Scene and body of Giuseppe Parrino, NYPD 13634B, Courtesy of The New York Municipal Archives
Scene and body of Giuseppe Parrino, NYPD 13634C, Courtesy of The New York Municipal Archives

16 comments

  1. Are there anymore gangsters pictures from the archives? They were incredible. The Vincent Coll pictures were insane. I’d love to see some of Maseria and Marrazano. That would be incredible. Please let everyone know if there’s anymore being released. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks for checking it out, Jonathan! So Masseria and Maranzano photos remain big targets for me. My take is they have to be somewhere, just a matter of if the Archives have it or the NYPD themselves. Believe it or not, even all these decades later there’s still records the NYPD haven’t transferred over to the Archives. There’s definitely more gangster photos. The tricky thing with the searches is that a lot of times the names are completely misspelled due the officers who arrived on scene (you’ll notice this on some of the pictures as that’s how they’re listed in the Archives records). So, it’s really a grind to go through the records but so worth it when you find gems like these. Rest assured, once the pandemic slows down and the Archives are open to the public, I’ll be right back in there searching.

      1. Couldn’t email you directly but try this – At the bottom of the first page on the site, you should should see a list of numbers going horizontally across the page in little boxes. Each of these represents a different page with the pictures. If you’re on a mobile device, it’ll be right before title of the next article.

    1. Appreciate the support James and I absolutely loved your Youtube video! You put a big smile on my face and I’ll proudly carry that new favorite person title haha Once the pandemic slows down and the Archives reopen, I plan to get right back in there digging for more gems.

  2. Amazing pictures. Nice research Ismael. I enjoyed it including the stories that go with it. I hope you find more (Greetings from the Netherlands)

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