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Boardwalk Empire Gangsters: Waxey Gordon & Joe Masseria

waxey gordon boardwalk empire Boardwalk Empire Gangsters: Waxey Gordon & Joe MasseriaBy Matt Goldstein

HBO’s Boardwalk Empire introduced 2 new prominent prohibition gangsters in season 2, Joe “the Boss” Masseria and Waxey Gordon.  Both gangsters were infamous, brutal and champion bootleggers.  While Masseria was a Capo in 1922, there was an attempt on his life in the streets of Manhattan.  Joe famously evaded the attackers and became known as the “Man who can dodge bullets.”  This legend helped Joe become Joe “the Boss” Masseria, arguably the most powerful mom boss in New York during prohibition. 

When Masseria is introduced in Boardwalk Empire, Arnold Rothstein is negotiating peace between Masseria and Luciano and Lansky on what is perceived to be a territorial encroachment.  However, as Lansky and Luciano grew in power, they worked for Masseria multiple facets of bootlegging, drug dealing, and muscle.   Eventually, when Luciano and Lansky were trying to create the commission, Masseria was simply in their way.  In 1931, Luciano and Lansky had Masseria killed monopolized their power, paving the way to become the richest gangsters of all time. 

Waxey Gordon, a Jewish gangster from Philadelphia, was a bootlegging and gambling associate of Arnold Rothstein, Lucky Luciano and Meyer Lansky.  Gordon ran Rothstein’s east coast bootlegging operation and aligned himself with the National Syndicate after Rothstein’s death.  Arrested for tax evasion in 1933, Gordon was sentenced to 10 years.  Upon his release, Waxey moved to the west coast where he became a drug smuggler.  Gordon was arrested in 1951 and died in Alcatraz a year later.




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