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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Just Chopper and me, and fifty-round drum makes three


Ah, the 1930s, when a fella could be chauffeured around town cradling his beloved Tommy gun. A little dinner, a little dancing, I'll check my hat but keep my gat thank you.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Bag man

With robberies being a near daily occurrence on Manhattan's lower west side eight plus decades ago, saloon keeper Tony Renali got a gun and placed it near his cash register. A week or so later, 93-years ago today to be exact, three local bandits armed with gats entered his bar and held up the joint. They took $90 from Renali's register and whatever the customers had.

Once they had the goods the banditti - Angelo Sposato, John Drinane and Mike Swift aka "Mike the Burglar"- exited the premises promising to kill anyone who tried to follow. As the trio fled, Swift in the rear, Renali grabbed his pistol and let it say goodbye for him. Swift caught both parting sentiments in the back. He staggered and then fell. His pals turned and sent some lead at Renali and his patrons who ran into the rear of the saloon. Picking up their wounded partner Sposato and Drinane took off.

Renali called the police and while he was on the phone, a couple of blocks away two cops saw Sposato and Drinane lift a large burlap sack off of a delivery wagon and start for a tenement building. Something didn't look right so they approached the guys and, looking in the bag, found "Mike the burglar" suffering from his wounds. Mike was shipped off to the hospital and his confederates to the police station where Renali ID'd both of them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Gotchya!

John Lewis, known to his Lower East Side contemporaries as Spanish Louis, was walking along Second Avenue early on this date in 1910. As he was making his way somebody came up and said a "friend" wanted to see him around the corner. Louis made the turn and walked a couple yards up the block when, April Fools!!!, the "friend" turned out to be three rival gangsters hired to kill him. Louis caught on to the joke at the last moment because he managed to draw his gun before a bullet pierced his head. Ah, those funny gangsters.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Out Like A Lion

Thirty-seven year old Louis Greenberg had a long police record and was known as a bookie. On this date in 1924 he was hanging out in an East Village pool hall when somebody outside called for him. He and his friend, Max Kanowitz, proprietor of said pool hall, went outside to see what was what. Across the street stood a taxi. Two men were inside the cab and two men were standing on the running board; All opened fire on the duo. Greenberg dropped dead with a bullet in the head and Kanowitz dropped with a couple of wounds and died en-route to the hospital. Police felt that the killers had intended on just getting Greenberg and that it was Kanowitz's bad luck for following him outside. The only motive the cops could come up with was that it was either a bootlegging feud or some more warring between the "Little Augie" gang and the remnants of "Kid Dropper's" gang.
 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Elmer's Tune

Called a "card sharp and petty racketeer" by police, Forty-three year old Elmer Johnson was also a bandit and it was his part in a speakeasy robbery that cost him his life on this date in 1933. Johnson had been rushed to the hospital at 2:00am with five bullet wounds in his back after being shot down on the street. Since he was just a petty racketeer, Elmer did not feel bound by the unwritten rules of the underworld and broke the first gangster commandment, Though Shalt Not Squeal, and named his attackers. They were Ernest Snyder and Carl Christianson. A squad car was sent out and the two men were quickly apprehended and brought to the hospital where Johnson identified Snyder as the actual shooter before dying. Snyder of course remained mum on the issue but Christianson, impressed with Elmer's singing ability, let go with an aria of his own entitled I Saw Snyder Shooting Santa Claus Elmer Cause (he participated in speakeasy robbery last night).

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pulpy Goodness

"Any last request before we pull the switch Muggsy?"

"I'd like a blonde with a tommy gun and a crooked cop with a revolver and a knife. That about does it...oh and, if it's not asking too much, a gat for myself."

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sam I Was

On this date in 1927 Sam Raplansky, a thirty-year old member of a gang called the Madison Street Boys, was hanging out at the mob's HQ, the Madison Street Boys club, until about 10:00 pm when he left for a while. At around midnight Sam returned to the clubhouse, which was crowded with various club members including his brother Harry. While in the hallway somebody came up to Sam and shot him in the face twice and once in the body.  Rushing into the hallway, Harry and other gang members found Sam and carried him outside to a cab for a rushed trip to the hospital. All was for naught however as Samuel had been killed instantly.