Chicago gangster Ted Newberry says: "He must have done something. They don't kill you for nothing." Ted was rubbed out on January 7, 1933

Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

Meet Kiki

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hot fun in the summer time

No Dead Guys in Suits for awhile.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Waxing Waxey's pal

Gangster City owners can turn to page 108 for todays shoot 'em up.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A two-fer

A number of pedestrians were walking in Brooklyn on this date in 1926 when they heard what sounded like a car back firing. Moments later a Ford sedan appeared, the door was opened and out tumbled Zito Blandi who was associated with the International Lathers and Wirer’s Union. He had been shot six times. Why he was taken for a ride was not learned.

While Blandi was being tossed out of a car in Brooklyn, in Manhattan, George Smolen , twenty-one, was standing on a lower Eastside corner talking with friends when gun shots suddenly went off. Everyone ran for cover except for Smolen who dropped to the ground with non-life threatening wounds to the left side and arm. Smolen was taken to the hospital and questioned by police. He admitted knowing who shot him but refused to give the name saying, “ He’s a brave guy with a gun but I’ll handle this matter myself.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bad luck Chuck

On this day back in 1926 a Chrysler sedan was parked in a west Harlem neighborhood and since no one on the block recognized it, after a number of hours had passed some one looked inside and there in the back seat was the body of Charles Caffrey with two bullets in his chest.
Caffrey was a twenty-five year old ex-convict with a record of about ten arrests. The police were fairly certain that he was killed in a Harlem apartment house because they received a call saying that shots were fired and a resident of the building told police that he saw three men supporting a fourth and when he asked what was wrong, was told that the man was sick and they were helping him get a cab. The only problem was that the witness said the victim was about 6 ft tall and was wearing a blue suit when Caffrey was only about 5’6 and was wearing a brown suit. Police however felt that the witnesses made an error and that the victim was indeed Caffrey because they found two spent cartridges in the upper apartment and a hat out front fit his head perfectly. The cops called the murder a ‘Thieves fight”.

** This date also marks the passing of Charles "Vannie" Higgins in1932. Gangster City owners can open a Brooklyn Lager and check out Chapter 20 in rememberance.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Plugged for my plug

80-years ago today Edward Jerge was driving up Broadway with a female acquaintance when they were stopped by a red light. As they were waiting for the light to change a sedan pulled up next to them and a one of the four men inside stepped out of the car onto the running board of Jerge’s car and fired three shots through the window into Jerge’s neck. As the bullets poured into Jerge, splinters of glass cut into his girlfriend’s face as she dove for the floor. After the third shot, the gunman opened Jerge’s door and fired three more shots into him, one in the abdomen and two in the back when he fell over. The killer then stepped back into his sedan, which sped him to safety. Who was Jerge and why was he executed with such extreme prejudice? The answers can be found in my new book Bad Seeds in the Big Apple: Bandits, Killers & Chaos in New York City 1920-1940.

Monday, June 16, 2008

In the Navy

Joe Vaccaro was the last of the Navy Street gang of hired killers employed in the Italian gang wars of the teens that were all but wiped out by the testimony of turn coat Ralph “the Barber” Daniello in 1917. (See Gangster City chapter 2)
Because of Daniello’s squealing Vaccaro was sentenced to fifteen years in Sing Sing for his participation in the 1916 murder of Morrello –Terranova ally George Verrazano but was paroled after serving only nine.
In 1929 the gangster, who had been paroled the previous year, was fifty-one years old and still lived with his mother on Navy Street in Brooklyn. He was a prosperous man, which led the police to believe that he was some how “Mixed in some racket”.
Early in the day on June 16, Vaccaro was standing in front of a building when a sedan containing five men drew up to the curb along side him. At that point four men with pistols leaned out of the car and blasted away at the gangster hitting him six times.
Dying, Vaccaro was taken to the hospital where he would only admit to being a “junkman”. Police felt that the shooting was the result of his current involvement in the rackets and not a revenge killing for his participation in the Navy Street Gang killings from years before.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I scream, you scream...

On this day in 1923 Michael Nicolosi, the thirty-five year old manager of the Novelty Water Ice Company, was unloading a truck when two gunmen came up and pumped four shots into him. The streets were crowded with people and some of them fired off their guns in order to alert police to the shooting while the killers escaped. Nicolosi died after a few moments but managed to utter "These men made a mistake." Whether he meant it literally or figuratively is unknown.
The police believed that this was another in the series of shootings between rivals in the ice cream business. Others included Nicolosi's brother Carmello who the Times said was killed the previous year and a guy named Joseph Lagumina who was murdered in 1921. Interestingly, Nicholas lived only three doors down from where Lagumina had his ice cream company.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Yankee Doodle Update

Apparently the on-line retailers already have Bad Seeds in the Big Apple in stock for those who don't want to wait until July 4, to visit a store.

Yankee Doodle Dandy

My new book Bad Seeds in the Big Apple: Bandits, Killers & Chaos in New York City 1920-1940 will be released on July 4. So why blow your fingers off with an M80 when you can sit back and spend our Nations birthday reading about bad guys and molls. Be sure to wipe the BBQ sauce of your hands first.

My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, may sister thanks you and I thank you.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Final number for McNamara's band

Michael McNamara was a small time gangster with arrest in different cities for passing bad checks, forgery, posing as a revenue agent and selling drugs but it appears that it was for bootlegging that the forty-year old hoodlum was bumped off.
Eighty-one years ago today his body was found in some bushes behind a Queens cemetery and evidence showed that he was brought to the spot in a car, then dragged across the road and down by a stream then left in the bushes. McNamara had been shot once under the chin and twice in the heart. On his body was found a book containing a list of New York City nightclubs, which led police to suspect that he was a bootlegger.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Out of the doorway the bullets rip...

On this date in 1913 Joseph Balcamo met his death in typical Little Italy style. While walking down the street a man popped out of a doorway and shot him twice and then fired two more into him after he was down.
A cop who was nearby ran over at the sound of the first shots and managed to squeeze off a few rounds of his own at the killer as the gunman made his way back into the doorway. Just as the officer was taking aim for a final shot an Italian man ran up and grabbed his arm yelling, "My brother, my brother!" Spoiling the Patrolman's shot. The gunman was then able to make his way to the top of the tenement and escape via the roof tops of the adjoining buildings. The man said he was referring to the victim when he grabbed the officer and cried, "My brother." but when he was told to go to the hospital to make a statement he never showed up leading one to believe that he was with the shooter and did his part in making sure that the killer escaped.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

You should be dancing yeah.

In addition to dancing in the lower end vaudeville and burlesque houses Rocco Casano was also a low level thug for the Morello – Terranova gang who sided with fellow gangster Charley Baker when the latter accused Callogero Morello and Joseph Polizzi of being traitors and killed them.*
Those loyal to Morello sought revenge and ninety-six years ago today four of them took a cab to a house in the Bronx where they knew Rocco would be at. There was some construction going on in the area and so the gunmen hid behind some building materials waiting for Casano to appear. When Casano came out of the abode four shots rang out and the dancer dropped to the sidewalk dead as his slayers waltzed away.

Gangster City owners can check out page 107 for another dose of "Ooh they got me."

* Gangster City readers can also check out pg 32-33 for more info on this battle