Vincenzo “the Tiger of Harlem” Terranova, May 1886 – May 8, 1922, was a gangster and an early Italian-American organized crime figure in East Harlem, NY.
He served as boss and underboss of the Morello crime family, today known as the Genovese crime family, the oldest of the Five Families in New York City.
Terranova was born in Corleone, Sicily in 1886. He was the first son of Bernardo Terranova, a member of the Mafia in Corleone, and his wife Angelina Piazza.
Angelina had a son from a previous marriage, Giuseppe Morello, and would later give birth to Vincenzo’s two brothers, Ciro Terranova and Nicolo Terranova.
Vincenzo, Nicolo, and Ciro along with other relatives emigrated to the United States, arriving in New York on March 8, 1893.
Giuseppe Morello had immigrated to New York the previous year and sometime in the 1890s founded a gang known as the 107th Street Mob, which evolved into the Morello crime family.
Giuseppe Morello had immigrated to New York living in East Harlem at 352 East 116th Street the previous year and sometime in the 1890s founded a gang known as the 107th Street Mob, which evolved into the Morello crime family.
His three half brothers would eventually join him in this enterprise.
On May 8, 1922, Vincenzo Terranova was gunned down in a drive-by shooting near his home on East 116th Street in Manhattan.
Terranova’s murder is generally attributed to Umberto Valenti, a notorious hitman for the D’Aquila crime family who was trying to seize control over the family.
Vincenzo and his three brothers lie in bare graves in Cavalary Cemetery in Queens, New York, not far from Joe Petrosino, who investigated them, and other Morello crime family members, such as Ignazio “Lupo the Wolf” Lupo.