The only thing that makes Italian-Americans stand out is the Mob. Like it or not it’s the only truly unique thing they have. They’re not the most hardworking, they’re not the loudest, their food is not the greatest, they’re not the only ones with large and overbearing families. The American branch of the Cosa Nostra played such a key role in shaping America that it can (and should) be seen as an accomplishment, a cultural landmark even. I doubt any other underworld entity will ever surpass it, not even the Cartels (too devilish, only low-IQ injun mutts think cartels are glamorous).
Despite what foreshadowed by the federal government, the US-based Cosa Nostra did not “die by the year 2000”. Although diminished and unquestionably not as relevant as before, most criminologists believe that it will take roughly two full generations to see a complete lack of *all* criminal activities run by racketeers connected to American crime families.
In the meantime, mob activity has been persistent in the Tri-State area, Philly and urban New England, all the way up to the Niagara region of West NY (with alleged connections across the border) and of course in Florida.
During the last decade alone, there have been plenty of cases clearly showing the diversification of LCN activities: from “blue collar” (yet not unprofitable) activities such as bookmaking, loansharking and extortion, to Union fraud and international drug trafficking.
Until his premature (and shockingly grotesque) death, Gambino heavy Francesco Cali was described in recently released law enforcement documents as a “powerhouse” whose name carried weight overseas and even among other ethnic criminal organizations. With the mob being a “collective” conspiracy, it goes without saying that his power and scope didn’t fully dissipate with his murder.
This is one example of how, when it comes to the American Mafia, most are stunned not by what has changed but rather by what is still the same.