c. 1890 to Feb. 26, 1930.
Reina, born about 1890, was a Prohibition Era Mafia boss New York City. One of his rackets was a monopoly on ice distribution. (That may seem odd, but folks used iceboxes back then and had no practical way of manufacturing their own ice.)
Reina's operations were centered in the Bronx, and he peacefully coexisted with Ciro Terranova's Bronx-Harlem organization for many years while pledging allegiance to "Joe the Boss" Masseria. Famed Mafia informer Joe Valachi did his first work as a Mafia associate in coordination with the Reina group.
When Salvatore Maranzano arrived in New York around 1925, Reina immediately (but secretly) abandoned Masseria and fell in line behind Maranzano.
Masseria was unaware of Reina's defection until Dec. 7, 1929, when Reina gunmen walked into and held up a Terranova-sponsored fundraising dinner for city Magistrate Albert Vitale at the Roman Gardens in the Bronx. True to form, Masseria acted promptly against the rebellious crime lord, having Reina exterminated on Feb. 26, 1930.
The 40-year-old Reina was reportedly exiting the apartment house of his mistress, located at 1522 Sheridan Avenue in the Bronx, when he was greeted by a shotgun blast. Reina's death is considered by many to be the start of the Castellammarese War.
Upon his death, Masseria ignored high-ranking Reina men Tom Gagliano and Tom Lucchese and installed his own ally Joe Pinzolo as head of the Reina organization. That move infuriated Gagliano and Lucchese and forced them (and virtually the whole of the Reina gang) into the Maranzano camp.
Gagliano set up Pinzolo for a hit early in September 1930.
© 2007 T.Hunt
The American "Mafia"