AMAZING STORIES: Luciano is Buried in Queens Vault - JuniperCivic.com
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Originally published in the March 2012 Juniper Berry Magazine

AMAZING STORIES: Luciano is Buried in Queens Vault

Lucky Luciano

February 8, 1962 NY Times ‒The Lucky Luciano story ended here yesterday.

The body of the exiled gangster was brought back from Italy for burial in his family's vault in St. John's Cemetery, Middle Village, Queens. He had died two weeks ago of a heart attack in Naples, where he had lived for the last sixteen years.

As acknowledged leader of rackets in the New York area, he had had a career marked by violence and flamboyance that was halted in 1936, when Thomas E. Dewey prosecuted him as a white-slaver. His return yesterday was quiet and uneventful.

The Pan American World Airways cargo plane that delivered his body to New York International Airport was met by only two mourners ‒ his brothers, Bartolo and Joseph Lucania.

Also present were about fifty Federal Bureau of Investigation and narcotics agents and New York State and city policemen. Luciano had been suspected of involvement in the illegal narcotics trade while in exile.

True Name on Crate

He was known generally as Charles (Lucky) Luciano. However, the large wooden crate in which the casket was encased bore a small metal plate with his true name, Salvatore Lucania.

On the eight-mile journey from the Idlewild, Queens, airport to the cemetery, his hearse was escorted by the single mourner's car and two dozen automobiles containing the law officers, reporters and photographers.

Funeral services for Luciano had been held in Italy and there was no ceremony for him yesterday at the cemetery. He was interred in a vault on consecrated ground, a privilege that was denied several years ago to an associate, Albert Anastasia, who was murdered by other gangsters.

The simple vault with its Greek columns was purchased by Luciano in 1935 for $25,000. It contains space for sixteen coffins. Already interred there are his mother and father and an aunt and uncle.

As the guards closed the bronze doors of the vault, a small stained-glass window in the rear was briefly visible to onlookers. It depicted a bearded saint leaning on a shepherd's staff.

A newspaperman stopped Bartolo Lucania as the mourner's car was about to leave and asked him if he knew the identity of the saint in the window. I don't know, the brother replied. I'm not acquainted with saints.