By The Other Guy | September 23, 2020
Vincent (Vinny Bruno) Mauro was born as Vincenzo Francesco Angelo Mauro (TN) in Manhattan on February 26, 1916. He later lived up in the Bronx at 3824 Bronx Boulevard along with his common-law wife. He also kept an apartment at 22 King Street in Manhattan.
He stood 5-foot 11-inches tall and weighed 200 pounds with dark brown hair and eyes, and bushy eyebrows. His eyes were deep set with dark circles around them.
A vicious and feared hoodlum and merciless killer. Mauro had the well-earned reputation as one of the Genovese Family’s most dangerous men in the 1950s-1960s era, serving in the regime of capo Antonio (Tony Bender) Strollo.
In fact, it was said that Mauro, along with Innocenzio (Johnny the Bug) Stopelli were Strollo’s two “go to” men regarding any strong-arm work needed to be performed for himself or Vito Genovese directly.
“Vinny Bruno” as he was most commonly known on the gritty streets of New York, was the acknowledged right-hand man to Tony Bender and the young fella that did most of the dirty work. As Bender rose to become underboss, Mauro was said to have became that much more influential on the streets.
He was active in the operation of illegal after-hours nightclubs, gay bars and “fag joints” as they were known, lesbian dens, and other sordid nether world locations throughout the Big Apple. Whether it was actually investing the mobs money into these type of establishments, or just extorting and shaking down the operators of these bars and clubs for a weekly envelope.
Another racket that Mauro was known to engage in were various types of prostitution activities.
It was well documented by federal agents who tracked him that he would actually introduce and hand off sexily dressed women in various nightclubs Mauro hung around to men he knew, or patrons he became friendly with in these establishments that sort out that kind of thing.
Dave’s Blue Room in Manhattan was said to have been one such establishment. Another location was allegedly The Band Box, also in Manhattan, in partnership with Vito Genovese himself.
He was suspected of also overseeing several houses of prostitution either controlled or extorted by the mob in Manhattan.
Vinny Bruno was also in charge of conducting the shakedowns of homosexual bars, illegal unlicensed after-hours clubs and underground Manhattan sex clubs that catered to a gay and lesbian clientele.
These type of sex-related rackets were mostly dominated by the Genovese Family in general, and the Strollo mob more specifically. And Mauro was among several key Strollo soldiers who oversaw these rackets for their borgata.
In the late 1950s, it was reported through informants that in fact, Vinny Bruno was partners behind the scenes with Lucchese capo Paul (Paulie Ham) Correale in the ownership of another watering hole called The Golden Door Nightclub inside the Barkley Hotel at 49th Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan.
FBI # 760950, NYCPD # B-115392
Mauro’s arrest record started in 1933 and included such charges as:
- 1933 – possession of burglar tools (suspended sentence)
- 1934 – robbery (5 to 10 years at Sing Sing)
- 1940 – parole violation
- 1942 – selling narcotics
- 1945 – homicide by gunshot
- 1948 – narcotics investigation in Baltimore, MD
- 1955 – income tax evasion (4 months)
- 1961 – Federal narcotics conspiracy
- 1962 – jumping a federal bond
- 1962 – fugitive warrant / later arrested by Interpol in Barcelona, Spain
He was known to be very active in the loan-shark racket, and the subsequent strong-arm methods that went along with it to extract the monies and vigorish that accumulated.
Mauro was also active in various gambling businesses (policy numbers) over the years, but his real “baby” and most lucrative racket was narcotics. Not just any drugs but heroin, and lots of it.
In fact, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (FBN) reported that Mauro had been on their watch list since the early 1940s. He was tracked and recorded meeting with many of the largest international heroin smugglers and wholesale distributors know to exist.
He dealt on a regular basis with top mafiosi and Corsican racketeers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
His underworld friendships and connections ran to the very summit of the Mafia, to Lucky Luciano and Vito Genovese themselves. In fact, when he was finally indicted for narcotics, it was in several interrelated cases along with such iconic drug merchants as Genovese, Joseph (Joe Beck) Di Palermo, Carmine (Lilo) Galante and Natale (Joe Diamond) Evola.
On a local distribution level, Mauro was said to use several close trusted associates to disperse wholesale amounts of heroin to various other hoodlums and dealers throughout the five boros.
Chief among these was a notorious, Brooklyn based drug peddler named Giacinto (Archie) Mannarino. Born 1912 in Calabria, Italy, Mannarino was well known to deal in amounts ranging from an ounce to a kilo of “junk.”
From a social club along Myrtle Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, Archie would negotiate his drug transactions. Described by federal drug agents as a protege of Mauro and Strollo, he was considered one of several key distributors Mauro used as outlets for his junk loads.
In 1955, the walls closed in on Mannarino. He was convicted in federal court and sent away for 5 years on a narcotics charge.
Vinny Mauro ended up jumping a $110,000 bail package on this case along with fellow soldiers and Strollo regime member’s Ottilio (Frankie the Bug) Caruso and Salvatore (Sal) Maneri. An international warrant for their arrests was immediately issued.
They were eventually captured by Interpol in Majorca, Spain, and extradited back to the States to face the music. But it was all part of a master plan by the Cosa Nostra hierarchy to disrupt as best they could the U.S. government’s plans to bring the mafia to justice.
Underworld legend has it that Mauro was one of several hoods including future Family boss Vincent (The Chin) Gigante who were involved in the botched “hit” on Family boss Frank Costello in the vestibule of his residence at 115 Central Park West in 1957.
Besides Genovese, Strollo and Stopelli, he most often associated with fellow soldiers Pasquale (Paddy Mush) Moccio, Alfred (Butch) Faicco, Joseph (Joe Cago) Valachi, brothers Joseph and Pasquale Pagano, the Bonanno’s Anthony (Tony) Mirra, and the Lucchese mobs John (Big John) Ormento, and Salvatore (Tom Mix) Santora.
After he release from prison, coupled with the subsequent deaths of Strollo in 1962, and Genovese in 1969, Vinny Bruno mostly kept a lower keyed profile. His salad days in the mob long over, Mauro trudged along as any self-respecting mafioso would do and still showed his face around occasionally, doing his best to maintain his mob persona.
In the late 1970s and early 80s, Vinny Bruno could still be seen weekly at a ringside table in some of the more popular show spots and nightclubs in Midtown Manhattan such as The Drake Hotel off Park Avenue, and the famed Frankie and Johnnies Steak House off Broadway in the Theatre district.
But his time in the mafia sun had passed. Most of his contemporaries were either dead, in jail, or long retired in South Florida. He was still respected because of that “button” he earned decades ago, but it was a new up and coming generation of hoodlums, and their was little room at the table for the likes of Vinny Bruno.
Vincent (Vinny Bruno) Mauro died in 1994 at the age of 78.
Despite their chosen “professions”, some mafiosi are well-liked and respected, not only be their mob brethren but also by regular folk who have gotten to know them over the years. In other words, many have good qualities and are decent folk despite how they make their living. But by all accounts, Vinny Bruno held no such favor and garnered no such respect from anyone on either side of the street so to speak.
Did he have allies in the mob? I’m sure he had a few. Even the most hated individual is liked by somebody, somewhere. But by and large he was a heartless and cruel man, who had not a shred of warmth or compassion for anybody….and as far as can be ascertained, no one mourned his death or shed a tear in his memory…
This is just one more mob story of the New York underworld.
Until next time “The Other Guy”
This article was originally posted “here“