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

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or treat break my feet, turn my face into mince meat

“Because of the diabolical manner in which his features were marred and his body beaten before he was murdered, detectives decided that those who killed him had a more bitter motive – a more personal hatred.” So went the description of the demise of 28-year old white slaver Joe Masella who was rubbed out on Halloween 1929. The press didn’t go into detail about the mutilations Massella suffered before his killers sent a bullet into the back of his head but suffice it to say he could only be identified by his fingerprints. The “bitter motives” the police referred to were that Massella, “a charmer who held sway over more women than any gangster in the Brooklyn underworld” Had been messing around with the women of other mobsters.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

They tore down paradise and put up a parking lot

Well half of it is true anyways.

Newark approves demolition of building where gangster was slain
by Guy Sterling/The Star-Ledger
Wednesday October 01, 2008, 9:42 PM
The building in Newark that once housed a restaurant where mobster Dutch Schultz was gunned down was approved for demolition tonight.
In a vote without dissent, the Newark Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission voted to allow new owner Miles Berger to knock down the building at 12 E. Park St. to make way for additional parking.
Voting in favor of the proposal were commissioners Robert Hartman, Diane Scotland, Gwen Moten, Richard Grossklaus and Anthonyette Hunter.
Commissioner Harrison Snell abstained, while David Abramson, commission chairman, recused himself because he occupies an office in the nearby Berger-owned Military Park Building.
Berger said demolition of the old Palace Chop House, where Schultz and three others were killed on Oct. 23, 1935, in one of America's most notorious mob hits, will add 12 to 14 parking spaces for tenants at the Military Park Building.
He also offered to install a plaque on the sidewalk in front of the building commemorating Schultz's slaying and said he may erect a garage on the site someday.
"There's no one in the city who recognizes the importance of historic buildings more than I do," Berger told the commission at its monthly meeting in City Hall.
He said he helped get the nearby Griffith, Hahne's and Firemen's Fund Insurance Co. buildings in downtown Newark placed on the state and national registers of historic places.
Berger said he tried to do the same for the Robert Treat Hotel that he also owns but failed, saying it has far greater historic value than the spot where a "bootlegger and a criminal" was killed.
A New Yorker, Schultz stayed at the Robert Treat during a self-imposed exile in Newark and used it as a headquarters to run his racketeering operation. He was 33 when he died.
In his presentation on behalf of Berger, Newark architect William Mikesell said he was mistaken in his original research that maintained the building sitting on the property today was not the same structure in which Schultz was killed. But he said the building was "just a shell of the structure that was there."
Ulana Zakalak, a historic preservationist Berger retained, said the building would need architectural significance to contribute to the Military Park Historic District in which it is situated. It was not enough for Schultz to have been slain in the building, she added.
Zakalak researched the backgrounds of all of the buildings in the area when Military Park was placed on the historic register in 2003. The building at 12 E. Park St. was judged "non-contributing."

Seems like somebody could do allright reverting it back into a bar and playing up the Schultz angle but a 14 car parking lot sounds like just as much fun.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekend Update

Went to NYC this weekend to sign some books at some local Barnes & Nobles. If you are interested they are usually found in the "New York" section of the stores. Also did some research on my next project.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

L.A. Confidential

M-I-C, here's a C-note now keep your f@#&ing mouth shut.
K-E-Y, Why? Cuz if you don't I'll f#@^ing kill you.

Here's a little something from our friends out West.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Bad Seed buys it

Back on this date in 1935, while papers were filled with stories regarding the shooting of Dutch Schultz and his cohorts, across town a small time hood named Al Stern, was found dead in a cheap boarding house.
Since he was found in the same city where the Schultz massacre took place, right away it was assumed that he some how played a part in it. Some papers said that he was the gunman who mowed down the Dutchman and his confederates while others said that he may have been the man who acted as a spotter for the killers and was killed himself afterwards. The full story on Stern can be found in:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stick to what you know part II

Two days after his partner Arthur Siegelman disappeared, Joseph Ferro another Johnny come-lately to the bootlegging game, was put on the spot. Unlike the former life guard however there is no mystery clouding Ferro’s murder. The youthful would be gangster-he was only twenty- was walking to his East Village home with his wife and his friend. As they were approaching the Ferro’s building, two gunmen jumped out of a doorway, ran up to the trio an fired a bullet into Ferro’s head and his friend's stomach. Both men were rushed to Bellevue Hospital where Ferro subsequently died and his pal's wound was labeled as mortal.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stick to what you know

Twenty-five year old Arthur Siegelman was a new comer to the underworld who, after a short stay, vanished and was never heard from again. Siegelman had no former training in crime in fact he was a life guard who, at the end of beach season, decided to break into bootlegging as a way to support his widowed mother and six siblings. Needless to say the neophyte gangster did not last long where the gun and knife rule. What he did to seal his fate is unknown but he disappeared on this day in 1932 and his body was never found.

Monday, October 20, 2008

"I'd like to register a complaint."

Frank Paresi was a life long gangster who was awarded a political appointment for services rendered to Tammany Hall. Paresi’s record dated back to 1904 when he was sent to the House of Corrections for petty larceny. He was arrested again in 1909 for assault and robbery but released. In 1912 he was sent to Sing Sing for ten years for robbery but his record shows he didn’t serve the full sentence because he was arrested for grand larceny in Brooklyn in 1920. By 1922 however he had been appointed a Market Supervisor by Market Commissioner O’Malley, a Tammany man.
Eighty-six years ago today, Paresi was making his rounds amongst the pushcart vendors in his district, who at the time were complaining that they were the victims of municipal graft, when a gunman walked up behind him and shot him down. The killer slipped away with the crowds as they ran for shelter.
The first one at the dead man’s side was his brother Thomas who yelled, “It’s my brother Frank!” Thomas and some others carried Frank into a store then transferred him to a nearby hospital where he died.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Diamonds aren't a Noe's best friend

A year and a day after he caught a bullet in the stomach whilst walking on the lower eastside with Little Augie Orgen, Legs Diamond was on the other side of the hit. He had an appointment this morning with Joey Noe & Dutch Schultz to exchange some money for territory. Figuring that Diamond might try to pull some monkey business, Noe was wearing a bullet proof vest while Dutch and possibly a few others took positions in some nearby second story windows. As Noe approached the designated meeting spot a blue Cadillac came speeding up from behind and a guy, Louis Weinberg, opened fire on him. The assassin scored a lucky shot on Noe's body where the vest wasn't covering and the Dutchman's partner went down. Dutch, and any others, in hiding opened fire on the Cadillac, which sped away. One of the bullets from above pierced the roof of the Caddy and killed Weinberg. The car, with the dead man, was ditched on the lower eastside. Noe was taken to the hospital and questioned but kept to the gangster code until dying about a month later.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Orgen grinder

Twas eighty-one years ago this night that Messrs. Little Augie Orgen and Jack Diamond were walking together on the lower East Side. Diamond was a bootlegger, drug dealer and loft thief. The former a labor racketeer. They became pals and let each other in on their crimes. Orgen gave Diamond a labor contract which caused strife within his own gang. His two lieutenants , Lepke Buchalter and Gurrah Shapiro, decided that they should be running the show so a sedan containing gunmen drifting through the street until sighting Orgen and Diamond. It slowed down behind them and the guns stepped out and made their ways up behind the duo. One placed his gun behind Orgen's head and pulled the trigger, the gangleader's hat was blown three feet into the air while its owner was blown into oblivion. Diamond turned and was shot in the stomach lest he try to intervene in any way.

Friday, October 10, 2008

D'Aquila sunrise or is that sunset?

On this date in the year that Batman himself, Adam West, was born, Salvatore D’Aquila, said by his family to be a cheese importer, was at his doctor’s office in the East Village. D’Aquila and his wife had been visiting the doctor every day at the same time because of some heart disease and although he was cured his wife still needed treatment. On this trip the fifty-year old gangster drove down from his house in the Bronx, with four of his six children in addition to his wife.
Once at the doctor’s office he walked his wife and kids inside and then returned to the street because something was wrong with his car and he wanted to inspect the engine. According to a witness, D’Aquila was looking under his hood when three men approached him. The quartet conversed for a number of minutes when it escalated into an argument. Suddenly the three men each drew a pistol and fired a total of nine shots into the gangster killing him.
Seeing that he owned three cars as well as an “elaborately furnished” home in the Bronx the police felt he was surely involved in some illegal activity but couldn’t figure out what. They knew for certain that he had been arrested in 1906 for being a confidence man and again in 1909 for being a suspect but was discharged each time and even though the police could find no record for it they believed that he had been arrested in 1915 as well.
Little did police know at the time but Salvatore D’Aquila was actually the patriarch of what would one day become known as the Gambino crime family. Exactly why he was killed is unknown but since he was the head of the family and was replaced by Alfred Mineo, a Masseria loyalist, the hit was probably ordered by Joe “the Boss” Masseria. The reasons for the killing can be guessed at but may be some how related to the murder of Frankie Uale from the previous July. Up until 1926 D’Aquila lived in the Bath Beach section of Brooklyn, which was also Uale’s baliwick.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

And in local news...

The more things change the more they stay the same

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Draggin' Heart

On this date the year that Frankenstein with Boris Karloff hit the movie houses, Charles Pasquino was found in a remote part of the Bronx at the bottom of a nineteen-foot embankment. A bloody trail in the unpaved road showed where he was dragged from a car and tossed down the mound. Like the majority of ride victims he had been shot behind the left ear. Two other bullets had pierced his left arm and neck. His record showed that he had been arrested twice in 1922 for grand larceny,

Friday, October 3, 2008

Funeral homebrew

Angelo Lapi was an ex-con, who served sentences for both felonious assault and carrying a gun. Out of jail, forty-five year old Lapi took a job as night man at his brother in-laws funeral parlor. In addition to his duties at the parlor, Lapi made wine and home brew, which he in turn sold to a local speakeasy and he was also a money collector for the local policy racketeer.
The funeral home was connected to a tenement where Lapi lived with his wife, Maria, who also happened to be the janitress of the building. On the evening of the October 2, Maria was with her husband in the funeral parlor until midnight and then she went up to bed. The following morning as she started her daily chores she walked through the undertaking parlor and found her husband’s body on a couch in the back room. Lapi had been tied and gagged with a handkerchief then stabbed eleven times in the back.
Police were at a loss for a motive but chances are Lapi either pocketed some of the policy earnings or failed to heed warnings not to sell his own spirits to the local speakeasy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Now available!

Just in time for the 96th anniversary of his murder (October 5, 1912) the long anticipated biography of Big Jack Zelig is on the market. If, like me, you always yearned to know more about the the pre-prohibition era gangsters like, Monk Eastman, Kid Twist, Zel and the Boys of the Avenue you are in for a treat. I had the extreme pleasure of writing the foreward for the book so can attest to the fact that this tome is chockful of new information and not a simple rehash of other books. Also because of Rose Keefe's writing ability the narrative flows fast and the book doesn't read like a stale college doctorite. Anyone interested in that era of gangland, the Rosenthal-Becker affair or simply a great read can't go wrong with this book.