LaStella Restaurant Queens, NY
When 13 mobsters sat down for lunch at La Stella restaurant in 1966, authors and journalists began to speculate on the meaning of the meet - and that speculation continues to this day. The lunch became known as "Little Apalachin."
by Allan May
Reporting organized crime events is far from an exact science. Take the La Stella restaurant incident for example. In 1966, 13 members of organized crime were arrested at an Italian restaurant in Queens, N.Y. The next morning the arrests appeared on the front page of The New York Times, which called the affair "Little Apalachin."
Why were the men meeting and having lunch together? Various sources have various takes on that: "They had assembled…to discuss pressing problems in the underworld – particularly, the Bonanno situation," wrote Gay Talese in his highly acclaimed best seller on the Bonanno crime family, Honor Thy Father.
Ernest Volkman, in his much maligned Lucchese Family tale, Gangbusters, reports that the meeting was held to discuss the successor to the terminally ill Tommy "Three Fingers Brown" Lucchese. Volkman also states that before the police arrived "flashbulbs suddenly went off," and that the gangsters’ table was surrounded by news photographers."