Excerpt for Joe "Socks" Lanza Genovese Family Caporegime by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Joe Socks Lanza


Genovese Family Caporegime


Published by Robert Grey Reynolds Jr. at Smashwords



Joseph Joe Socks/Joe Zocks Lanza (August 18, 1900-October 8, 1968) was a large man by the time he was 15 years old. Weighing two hundred pounds he had huge fists that intimidated his fellow juvenile delinquents. He got a job at the Fulton Fish Market where he manhandled boxes of fish weighing hundreds of pounds. By 1915 he was earning $15 per week.

He soon found an easier means to make money. The fish market was the largest fish distribution center on the United States East Coast. Situated in downtown Manhattan as late as 2016 it remained the second largest fish market in the country. Today it is municipally owned. It distributes fish to markets as far away as Mississippi and Indiana.

At 19 Lanza took part in organizing the Sea Food Workers Union, Local 359. The union handled the entirety of loading and unloading fish at the market. A classic LCN extortion racket, the fishing boat crews weren’t allowed to unload their own catch. Minus union workers wages Lanza charged $10 per load to unload.

Local 359 was later affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Lanza also founded the Patrol Association which forced ship owners to pay tribute. The Patrol Association was managed by Benjamin Espy (1886-1978). Run without an office or watchmen it prevented thieves from looting the fish market. The efficiency of the extortion racket involved speed of delivery. This is mandatory in the seafood industry. If a wholesaler refused to pay the union unloading fee Lanza left the load standing, unpacked. Aside from extortion Local 359 workers often stole large amounts of fish. They also made provisions to sell it. In 1920 Lanza was made Local 359’s business agent. His duties became more varied as he obtained additional work.


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