Al Capone is associated with Chicago, but the most famous gangster of all time was born and raised in Brooklyn. Here’s how Public Enemy No. 1 got his start.
Al Capone’s life in Brooklyn.
You might know him as “Scarface”, but we know him as, “The Fat Boy from Brooklyn”.
Nothing about Capone’s family would suggest he’d become the world’s most notorious gangster.
His parents were Italian immigrants. His father was a barber and his mother was a seamstress. The Capones settled in the Navy Yard section of Brooklyn where their son Alphonse was born on January 17, 1899 at 95 Navy Street.
Al Capone met Johnny “The Fox” Torrio and Frankie Yale, both of whom became mentors. He became involved with small local gangs such as the Junior Forty Thieves, the Bowery Boys and the Brooklyn Rippers. He then moved on to the Manhattan based Five Points Gang.
Where did Al Capone live in Brooklyn?
His childhood home was at 38 Garfield Place in Park Slope. His family also lived at 21 and 46 on the same street. The Capone family had so many connections to Garfield Place that rumor has it Al hid money in the walls of one of his old homes.
The incident at Al Capone’s Brooklyn elementary school.
Capone went to P.S. 7 then P.S. 133 and was a good student until 6th grade when his attendance and performance slipped. He was held back that year. During that time Al was hit by his teacher, so he retaliated and hit her back. He was then sent to the principal’s office and the principal hit him too (this was common back in the day). Young Al Capone never returned to the school.
Ever wonder how Al Capone got the nickname Scarface?
It happened right in Brooklyn, Coney Island to be exact. Young Al Capone worked at a bar called the Harvard Inn. One night a man named Frank Galluccio, his sister Lena and his date Maria Tazio came in for a drink. Al was mesmerized by Lena and wouldn’t stop trying to talk to her. At one point he made an off handed comment to Lena. Frank demanded Al apologize and when Al refused, a drunken Frank pulled out a knife and cut Al’s face.
For the record, he couldn’t stand being called Scarface and would say the scars were the result of fighting in France during WWI.
Was Al Capone married?
He sure was! In 1918 he married Mae Josephine Coughlin at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church on Court St. in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn. We actually feature it on our Chocolate Tour. The couple had one child named Albert Francis Capone. They called him Sonny and his Godfather was Johnny Torrio.
The infamous Prohibition Era criminal who was the king of organized crime got his start right in Brooklyn. Were you surprised to learn about his Brooklyn roots?