There probably was no more important Prohibition
gang in New York than the Broadway Mob. Its
power and its unique assemblage of criminals helped
to forge in the early 1930s the national crime syndi-
cate that remains the basis of organized crime today.
Officially, the Broadway Mob was run by Joe
Adonis, but Lucky Luciano and Frank Costello were
the brains of the operation. Behind the gang was
Broadway millionaire gambler and criminal master-
mind, Arnold Rothstein. Rothstein also brought in
the Bug and Meyer Mob, run by Meyer Lansky and
Bugsy Siegel, to provide protection for the gang's
convoys of bootleg liquor. Since Lansky had worked
with Luciano previously and each trusted the other, it
was easy to see why Adonis and Costello thought it
an even better idea to make Lansky and Siegel part-
ners — indeed, it would certainly be cheaper. Lansky
and Siegel had to be paid a lot for protection; it was
well known they were not above engaging in hijack-
ing if the returns were better.
The new multi-ethnic Broadway Mob soon domi-
nated bootlegging in New York, offering top-quality
non-diluted whiskey to all the most renowned
speakeasies — the Silver Slipper, Sherman Billingsley's
Stork Club, Jack White's, Jack and Charlie's "21"
Club and others. Even if all the liquor was not "right
off the boat" as claimed but produced in Waxey Gor-
don's Philadelphia distilleries, it was still far superior
to the rotgut offered by most bootlegging gangs.
Under Rothstein's tutelage, the Broadway Mob
bought interests in a number of leading speakeasies,
which in turn, gave the gangsters a vested interest in
making sure the liquor they dispensed was top grade.
These speakeasy and nightclub investments were the
first these mobsters made in Manhattan and, in time,
gave them ownership of some prime Manhattan real
estate, a situation said to be unchanged today among
the New York crime families.