Maranzano reorganized the Italian American gangs in New York City into the Maranzano, Profaci, Mangano, Luciano, and Gagliano families, which are now known as the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Lucchese families. Each family had a demarcated territory and an organizationally structured hierarchy and reported up to the same overarching governing entity. Initially, Maranzano intended each family's boss to report to him as the capo di tutti i capi ("boss of all the bosses"). However, this led to his assassination that September, and that role was abolished for The Commission, a ruling committee established by Lucky Luciano to oversee all Mafia activities in the United States and to mediate conflicts between families. It consisted of the bosses of the Five Families as well as the bosses of the Chicago Outfit and the Buffalo crime family. In 1963, Joseph Valachi publicly disclosed the existence of New York City's Five Families at the Valachi hearings. Since then, a few other crime families have been able to become powerful or notable enough to rise to a level comparable to that of the Five Families, holding or sharing the unofficial designation of Sixth Family.
Outwardly, the Castellammarese War was between the forces of Masseria and Maranzano. Underneath, however, there was also a generational conflict between the old guard Sicilian leadership – known as the "Mustache Petes" for their long mustaches and old-world ways, such as refusing to do business with non-Italians – and the "Young Turks", a younger and more diverse Italian group who were more forward thinking and willing to work more with non-Italians. This approach led his followers to question whether Masseria was even capable of making the Mafia prosper in the modern times. Led by Luciano, the aim of this group was to end the war as soon as possible in order to resume their businesses, because they viewed the conflict as unnecessary. Luciano's objective was to modernize the mob and do away with unnecessary orthodox norms. This was a vision that enabled him to attract followers, who had seen the inadequacies of Masseria's traditionalist leadership. Therefore, both factions were fluid, with many mobsters switching sides or killing their own allies during the war. Tensions between the Maranzano and Masseria factions were evident as far back as 1928, with one side frequently hijacking the other's alcohol trucks (alcohol production was then illegal in the United States due to Prohibition).
In early 1931, Luciano made the decision to take out Masseria. The war had been going poorly for Masseria, and Luciano saw an opportunity to switch allegiance. In a secret deal with Maranzano, Luciano agreed to engineer Masseria's death in return for receiving Masseria's rackets and becoming Maranzano's second-in-command.Joe Adonis had joined the Masseria faction and when Masseria heard about Luciano's betrayal, he approached Adonis about killing Luciano. However, Adonis instead warned Luciano about the murder plot. On April 15, 1931, Masseria was killed at Nuova Villa Tammaro, a Coney Island restaurant in Brooklyn. While they played cards, Luciano allegedly excused himself to the bathroom, with the gunmen reportedly being Anastasia, Genovese, Adonis, and Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel;Ciro "The Artichoke King" Terranova drove the getaway car, but legend has it that he was too shaken up to drive away and had to be shoved out of the driver's seat by Siegel. With Maranzano's blessing, Luciano took over Masseria's gang and became Maranzano's lieutenant, ending the Castellammarese War.
The Five Families' formation
With Masseria gone, Maranzano reorganized the Italian American gangs in New York City into the Five Families headed by Luciano, Profaci, Gagliano, Mangano, and himself. Maranzano called a meeting of crime bosses in Wappingers Falls, New York, where he declared himself capo di tutti i capi ("boss of all bosses"). Maranzano also whittled down the rival families' rackets in favor of his own. Luciano appeared to accept these changes, but was merely biding his time before removing Maranzano. Although Maranzano was slightly more forward-thinking than Masseria, Luciano had come to believe that Maranzano was even more greedy and hidebound than Masseria had been.
By September 1931, Maranzano realized Luciano was a threat, and hired Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, an Irish gangster, to kill him. However, Lucchese alerted Luciano that he was marked for death. On September 10, 1931, Maranzano ordered Luciano, Genovese, and Costello to come to his office at the 230 Park Avenue in Manhattan. Convinced that Maranzano planned to murder them, Luciano decided to act first. He sent to Maranzano's office four Jewish gangsters whose faces were unknown to Maranzano's people. They had been secured with the aid of Jewish mobstersMeyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel. Disguised as government agents, two of the gangsters disarmed Maranzano's bodyguards. The other two, aided by Lucchese, who was there to point Maranzano out, stabbed the boss multiple times before shooting him. This assassination was the first of what would later be fabled as the "Night of the Sicilian Vespers".
The Commission's formation
After Maranzano's murder in 1931, Luciano called a meeting in Chicago. Although there would have been few objections had Luciano declared himself capo di tutti i capi, he abolished the title, believing the position created trouble among the families and would make himself a target for another ambitious challenger. Luciano's goals with the Commission were to quietly maintain his own power over all the families, and to prevent future gang wars; the bosses approved the idea of the Commission. The Commission would consist of a "board of directors" to oversee all Mafia activities in the United States and serve to mediate conflicts between families.
The Bath Avenue Crew operated in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York.
The Colombo crime family operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. The family also maintains influence in Staten Island, Manhattan, The Bronx, New Jersey, and Florida.
The Gambino crime family operates mainly in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island. The family also maintains influence in The Bronx, New Jersey, Westchester County, Connecticut, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Florida, and Los Angeles.
1931–1968 – Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonanno – on October 21, 1964, Bonanno disappeared; forcibly replaced as boss by the commission; crime family split into two factions; in May 1966, Bonanno reappeared after two years; officially retires after a heart attack in 1968
1910–1928 – Salvatore "Toto" D'Aquila – took over the Brooklyn Camorra in 1916 and merged with Al Mineo's gang forming the largest family in New York. He was killed on orders of boss Joe Masseria in 1928.