The Vario Regime of Canarsie-Brooklyn, NY

By The Other Guy | Updated May 5, 2020

View to Downtown Brooklyn from the Manhattan side.

Brooklyn, New York

Originally born in the gritty mobbed-up East New York section of Brooklyn where he would operate for years, as Paul Vario better established himself in the underworld he would expand his operations to other parts of Kings County, as well as out to the County of Nassau on Long Island.

And although he would even relocate his personal family out to the quiet seaside community of Island Park on Long Island’s South Shore, Paulie himself would always keep his underworld base of operations, and his heart and soul back in Brooklyn.

As East New York lost its heavy Italian flavor and the neighborhood changed from its old-world European population, Vario and his brothers permanently moved their operations to the nearby Canarsie-Flatlands section of the borough.

It is where he would navigate his troops from for the rest of his life.

Paul Vario

Paul Vario’s crew was huge. Soldiers and associates alike, arguably constituted one of the largest regimes of any Family in Brooklyn, or the city for the matter! Most listed were during his tenure, a few were added after he died…..

A major Mafia faction of the Lucchese Family of LCN was said to have started out under the auspices of Salvatore (Don Turiddo) Curiale – an early “original” mafioso affiliated with what would later become the Reina and later Gagliano/Lucchese mob.

The Canarsie Pier

In later years what became known as the Canarsie-Flatlands crew would be ruled by a very ambitious, capable capo named Paul (Big Paulie) Vario, Sr.

Starting out as a street hoodlum born and raised in the Brownsville/East New York section of Brooklyn, Vario and his brothers (he had several) gained entrance into the borgata by Paulie’s sheer force of personality and drive.

Looking at Lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn side

Once “in”, Vario would soon rise to “Capo di decina” status. He soon formally inducted several brothers as well and started to build his crew.

Vario was a task master but was fair and would reward his more capable men with “buttons”, thereby expanding his personal crew to large proportions.

By the early 1960s, he had a crew second to none in both size and versatility of racket operations. 

And since the borgata he was associated with was largely based in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens, the entire borough of Brooklyn was mostly left to he and a fellow Lucchese soldier who in later years would rise to the consigliere position.

The little known Christopher (Christy Ticker) Furnari and Vario were the “Ying and Yang” of the Kings County section of the Family.

Christopher Furnari

If one didn’t control the Brooklyn troops, then the other one surely did. Between the two, they had Brooklyn sewed up as far as that Family’s influence went. 

Vario also spread his influence to Queens and Long Island.

By the mid-1960s, he was one of the Island’s major underworld powers.

He ran a crew that was into nearly everything; gambling, shylocking, truck hijacking, extortion, narcotics, strong-arm work, credit card rackets, auto-theft rings, business infiltration, etc….. he had a crew that easily numbered over 100 men.

Before long, he became the target of several intense investigations.

JFK Airport

By 1968, he was starting to feel the “heat”.  In subsequent years, Paulie would pay a heavy toll for his exploits. Paul Vario would be continuously arrested, tried, convicted, and jailed. 

Of course, his men also figured into the infamous $5,800,000 Lufthansa heist at JFK Airport.

And although they never tagged Paulie for that little endeavor,  he would eventually be jailed for good and die in prison on other charges. 

The list below represents most (not all), but most of the more prominent members and associates in Vario’s crew over the years. 

So, without further ado, here’s Paulie’s “Canarsie crew”!

Paul (Big Paulie) Vario, Sr. • Salvatore (Don Turiddo) Curiale •Alfonso (Foo) Curiale

Bruno Facciola • Peter Vario • Paul Vario, Jr.

Frank (The Wop) Manzo • Leonard Vario • Salvatore (Babe) Vario

Al D’Arco, Frank Manzo, Michael LaBarbara, Sr.

Joseph (Pippeniddu) Frangipani • Salvatore Falbo • Michael (Mikey Bones) Corcione

Peter (Pete the Killer) Abbinanti • Anthony Stabile • Thomas (Fat Tommy) Stabile

Joseph (Joe Reese) Schiavo • Alfonso (Little Al) D’Arco • Domenico (Danny) Cutaia

Bruno Facciola, Domenico Cutaia, Raymond Argentina

Louis (Cross Bay Louie) Daidone • Victor Aita • Raymond Argentina

Peter Argentina • Angelo (The Boxer) DeFendis

Carlo Piccioli • Michael (Big Mike) LaBarbara, Sr.

And the crew also boasted a very large contingent of active mob “associates” including:

Stephen Oddo, Sr. • Stephen DePasquale, Sr. • Stephen DePasquale Jr

Raymond Montemurro • Henry Hill • Angelo (Sonny Bamboo) McConach

Philip Basile • Michael LaBarbara, Jr. • Thomas Vario

Vito Vario • Cosmo (Casey) Rosado • Abraham (Abe) Etter

Milton (Milty) Wekar • Sidney Fordin • Stanley Sczerbaty

Stephen Oddo, Sr., Milton Wekar, and Henry Hill

Robert Brooke • James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke • Angelo Sepe

Thomas DeSimone • Louis Facciolo • Caesar Scotto

Henry Younger • Anthony Totillio • Lawrence Taylor

Alfred Visconti • Remo Serra • Joseph Argentina • Mario Argentina

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