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, September 30, 2011

The good old days.

Who the intended victim was is unknown, but the shooting spree that took place on this date in 1927 was  a fine example of the rampant lawlessness which took place in America’s cities during the Dry Era.

At 7:30pm while the lower East Side streets were teeming with people, a large Lincoln sedan pulled up to the curb. Five gunmen leaned out the windows and began blasting away at someone. Men, women and children ran in all directions. Having missed their target with the first volley, the gunmen jumped out onto the running board of the car and continued firing at their target. They eventually gave up and sped away leaving four wounded bystanders, one of whom died, in their wake.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Not so handy Manny

Eighty nine-years ago this evening at 6:20pm. Fred Kautz was wall mounting his new 48" flat screen tv when he heard a loud noise coming from the rooming house next door. Being a good neighbor, he went over and told the rooming house keeper, Joe Epst, all about it.

Epst went up stairs and opened the door to the room in question and there found two bodies on the floor. One belonging to a burglar and Sing Sing alumnus known as Benny “Big Nose Mannie” Rosner. The other was that of his twenty-two year old sweety Lillian Schmidt, known as “the Polish Queen”. Both had been shot through the head. The fact that a bureau had been over turned (the noise Kautz heard) and some clothes and other articles had been tossed about the room lead police to believe there was a struggle before the murders. Since no shots were heard it was assumed that the killer(s) used a silencer. The room was being rented to a chap named John Farone, who, for some reason couldn't be found.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Who Shot JR?

In Europe, the Guns of August had moved into September, and in New York the guns of September claimed twenty-six year old John Randazzo on this date. The victim was shot and killed while walking in the east village. The only motives were speculative. It's possible that Randazzo was a member of the Goldmine Jimmy Gang, knocked off by the Kenmare Street Gang. Don't like that one? Ok, how about he may have been related to a snitch that was found with twenty-two stab wounds in a saloon in that proximity earlier in the year. (perhaps snitching was in his blood).  If you have any theories on who shot JR let us know.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The bell rings for the Bell

Hard to believe it was eighty years ago but it was. Yup, eighty years ago that 22-year old Brooklyn gangster Benjamin “The Bell” Meyerson was bumped off while walking with his girlfriend in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. The couple stopped at a corner and a car pulled up to the curb. Two men jumped out and began firing at The Bell. Two bullets slammed into his head and he dropped dead as the gunmen escaped. The Bell had recently served a prison term for burglary and was currently out on $10,000 bail for shooting and wounding a hood named Max “Coco” Prince at Coney Island. Perhaps it was some of Coco's boys looking to even the score or, being that it was Brownsville, maybe some of them Murder Inc. fellas had something to do with it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Late to the game

As Prohibition was winding down Edward Patterson, called a “Petty and ambitious beer runner” with a long list of arrest dating back to 1920, decided that he would try to break into the business by muscling into the south Brooklyn beer racket. He started dropping in on speakeasy owners and tried forcing his beer on them. Those long established bootleggers in the region did not appreciate the competition. They thought perhaps coupons, or customer appreciation day might help them retain their clients but then they just decided it would be easier to kill Patterson.

The first attempt came on September 3. Patterson was in a speakeasy when gunmen came in-a-blastin' but they only managed to wound him while accidentally killing the bartender. No such mistakes were made on this date back in 1932. Patterson was exiting his second floor room at a Brooklyn boarding house and someone fired two shots into the back of his head, then, judging by the powder burns, the gunman placed the pistol against “the petty and ambitious beer runner’s” skull and fired twice more. Patterson Beer Distribution was officially out of business.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Four scored, ninety three years ago

The year was 1918 and forty-year old Arnold Grunde (artist rendition below) was standing outside his saloon at 11:00pm. A car pulled up and four men got out. Each man drew a gun and fired a shot into Grunde. (let's see, four guys + four shots = ...carry the one....a dead Grunde) The gunmen got back into the car and took off.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


One hundred and four years ago there was a feud on between Whitey Brennan’s dock gang and the gang headed by Micky Nesty. You remember them don’t you? Of course you do. Any hoo the opposing hoodlums had previously rumbled on the East 32nd Street docks but nothing was settled.

So on this date back in ’07 (1900 that is) the hoodlums met on 32nd Street between First & Second Aves and went at it again. The brouhaha brought a couple thousand spectators out of the tenements to watch the carnage. After some battling, the two gangs parted to opposite sides of the street.

As the gangs were deciding on how best to carry on someone whipped out a shooting iron and let it bark. Another scallywag answered by pulling out his noisemaker and let 'er rip. Bullets flew and the spectators who were expecting only a fistfight  ran helter skelter.
Two young girls were wounded in the melee as well as Micky Nesty himself who was arrested at Bellevue whilst having a bullet wound attended too. He may or may not of had blisters on his fingers. Oh, another cat named Charlie Grimm was arrested an hour or so later when police found him with a bandaged head, because as we all know a bandaged head = gang banger.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Here's your chance to do the Humpty

Way back on this date in aught four, a thoroughly frightened lumber man named Frederick Keller arrived at an East Village Police station. He complained that while walking past the local cemetery, that the Humpty Jackson gang used as a hideout, he was accosted by about twenty of the young hoodlums and ordered to hand over his money. One of the ruffians went so far as to press a gun against his head and pull the trigger. After the click of the empty gun, Keller high tailed it to the station house.

Five undercover officers were dispatched to the graveyard but by time they got there the gang had dispersed. Being familiar with the Humpty Jacksons the officers headed to the east end of 14th street where they found and arrested gang leader Thomas “Humpty” Jackson, along with three other gang members.

With their prisoners in tow, the cops began their parade back to the police station when suddenly they found themselves in the midst of an ambush. Approximately twenty five other gang members fired at them from behind the doors and windows of the neighboring tenements. Once the shooting started the prisoners themselves drew guns and started to fire. The officers returned the fire and for several minutes the street resembled the wild west until reserves showed up and forced the gangsters to flee with the exception of “Humpty” and the original three who had been arrested. Miraculously no one was injured except one of the men arrested with Jackson whose “head was laid open” by an officer’s night stick