The Nation: A Chronicle of Bloodletting

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The feud simmered until 1957, when Genovese decided that Costello had to be executed. According to Valachi, he dispatched Vincente ("The Chin") Gigante, an enormous ex-prizefighter, to do the job. At 11 o'clock on the night of May 2, 1957, Costello arrived by cab at his apartment building on Central Park West. As he strode through the lobby, Gigante said, "This is for you, Frank," and fired one shot as Costello wheeled around. But his aim was way off, and although Costello was covered with blood when he reached Roosevelt Hospital, the bullet had only creased his skull. (Gigante was later acquitted of the shooting.) As Valachi said in his bestselling memoirs about the Mafia, The Valachi Papers: "The Chin wasted a whole month practicing."

Genovese feared that Costello alive posed a grave threat to him, so he looked around to see what his enemy might do for allies. The most likely was Albert Anastasia, affectionately known as "The Mad Hatter." Genovese approached Carlo Gambino, then only an ambitious Anastasia lieutenant, and convinced him that they would both be better off with Anastasia dead. Gambino quickly got the point. On Oct. 25, 1957, just as Anastasia had settled back comfortably in a barber chair in Manhattan's Park-Sheraton Hotel, his bodyguard conveniently excused himself. Two men walked in quickly, drew pistols and turned Anastasia and the shop into a blood-spattered nightmare. It was the last murder of a major Cosa Nostra leader.

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