Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Knock your Block off
Harry Block was an associate of Owney Madden's who owned a piece of both the Cotton Club and the Silver Slipper nightclubs. In addition to these activities Block was also a bootlegger and police felt that this may have been the reason he was put on the spot. Judging by his movements Block didn't know he was a marked man. Seventy-eight years ago tonight he picked his wife up at 7th Ave and 47th Street and they had dinner in the restaurant at the Paramount hotel, which was followed by the late show at the Capitol Theater. After the show they went to Dave's Blue Room for more food and finally caught a taxi for the ride home to the Sherman Square Apartments at 173 West 73rd Street. It was 3:00am when the Blocks arrived at the apartment and the doorman unlocked the front door and escorted them onto the elevator. Mrs. Block stepped in and to the side behind the doorman who was by the controls. Mr. Block stepped in and turned around to face the door. Just as the doors were shutting two men appeared out of nowhere each brandishing two pistols. One of the gunmen yelled an insult at Block who, seeing the pistols, let out a scream and instinctively threw up his arm to protect his face. The gunmen let loose with a barrage of twenty three shots, some of which hit the gangster in the neck and forearm. The hitmen then ran out and escaped in a tan sedan that was waiting for them. The doorman wanted to call an ambulance but Mrs. Block said no since it would attract the police so instead Harry was loaded into a cab and taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.