The post-Gotti chapter saw the mob's influence on the U.S. eastern seaboard wane - but Wednesday's hit threw NY back to its golden years of organized crime.
After reportedly taking the reins in 2015, Cali was described by mafia watchers as the opposite of Gotti because "no-one ever sees him", the New York Post reported.
The last Mafia boss to be rubbed out in New York City was Gambino don "Big Paul" Castellano, assassinated at Gotti's direction while getting out of a black limousine outside a high-end Manhattan steakhouse in 1985. He was rushed to Staten Island University Hospital North, where he was declared dead.
Suspected Gambino crime boss Frank Cali was fatally shot outside his home in NY on Wednesday.
Experts agree that Francesco Cali was the individual responsible for consolidating the Gambino family after John Gotti was sent to prison on murder and racketeering in 1992, leaving the mob outfit in a power vacuum so conspicuous, even the casual observer could sense their grip on the criminal underworld was on the fritz.
The New York Post reported that police sources said the shooter hit Cali with multiple bullets and a 911 caller said they heard six or seven shots.
"We thought those days were over", Mayor Bill de Blasio said of Cali's slaying.
Weiss explains that the younger Gotti and Cali had often clashed 30 years ago, and upon his return, reignited their feud.
After prosecutors called him "a danger to the community" Pandrella, 59, pleaded not guilty in Brooklyn federal court to accusations of shooting Zito in his own home and stealing money from him. He died in prison in 2002. In October, reputed Bonanno associate Sylvester Zottola was fatally shot while waiting for a cup of coffee at a McDonald's drive-thru in the Bronx. Persico was convicted in a 1986 case overseen by then-US Attorney Rudy Giuliani.
Cali himself was jailed for 16 months for his connection to an extortion scheme surrounding an attempt to build a NASCAR track on Staten Island.
According to local media, Cali ascended through the ranks, becoming a powerful capo of organised crime before turning 40 - less than 10 years after becoming an inducted member.