The Palma Boys (or Salerno) Crew was a La Cosa Nostra or mafia street crew under the Genovese crime family flag. The crew was based out of the Palma Boys Social Club located 416 East 115th Street, East Harlem in Manhattan, New York, United States. The crew continues to operate today, but has merged with 116th Street Crew and spread up into the Bronx.
The leader of the Palma Boys was former Genovese crime family member and onetime Acting Boss, Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno. Salerno could usually be found sitting out front on patio furniture, smoking his ever present cigar, and holding meetings with his underlings, or in the kitchen cooking some Italian dish for the boys.
Tony Salerno came up in the Genovese crime family in the crew of Capo Michael "Trigger Mike" Coppola and his 116th Street Crew which was originally led by East Harlem and Bronx area mafioso and Masseria crime family Capo, Ciro "The Artichoke King" Terranova. Tony Salerno would have most likely been a member of the Terranova/Coppola crew by 1930 being that Salerno was born in 1911 and grew up in the same East Harlem neighborhood the East Harlem/Bronx crew originated from and held influence over. Salerno climbed the ranks of the crew and Luciano crime family as a soldier under Mike Coppola until Salerno himself became a Capo in the Genovese crime family leading his own rackets and soldiers after the Coppola crew split into various, smaller crews around 1960. Salerno and his brother Cirino were the overseers of a multi-million dollar gambling racket in East Harlem and the South Bronx that included numbers, bookmaking, and floating dice games. Even when the neighborhood began to change, the Salerno brothers managed to hold onto their interests and employ over 200 people in their street rackets.
Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno was a highly respected and feared gangster and a mafia power in New York who rose to become the Consigliere (1972-75), Underboss (1975-81) and then Acting Boss of America's #1 crime family, the Genovese crime family from 1981-86. An FBI bug was placed in the Tony Salerno's social club in the early 1980s which led to an indictment for Salerno and the Bosses of New York's 5 families who sat on the Commission. Tony Salerno along with 5 other New York Bosses were convicted under the RICO statute and sentenced to 100 years in prison in the famous "Commission Case" of 1986.
By the early 1990s the Palma Boys Crew which Tony Salerno led for over 25 years was merged with another old East Harlem crew, the 116th Street crew led by powerful Genovese crime family Capo, Liborio "Barney" Bellomo who is currently in prison. The merged crews continue to be a powerful force in New York's underworld and continue to bring in millions of dollars in illegal profits for the Genovese crime family.