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

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

On the road

Spending the day with our friends over at Nobody Move! Talking about books, movies and of course Legs Diamond who was put on the spot on this day in 1931.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Strange, today's not laundry day

Twas eighty-six years ago this morning at 3:00am when a patrolman was walking his beat in Harlem and a large touring car sped past him. Seeing that speeding past patrolmen was a no-no the officer immediately blew his whistle and the car came to a stop. The driver apologized for going fast and was let off with a warning. The end.

Just kidding. It was just the begining. As the officer approached the auto, whistle dangling from his lip like a $0.12 cigar*, one of the car doors opened and what looked like a bundle of laundry was tossed out. The cop ran up as the sedan sped off. What looked like a bundle of laundry turned out to be thirty-four year old Dominick Alvero. He had been shot four times in the head, once in the neck and once in the hip. Thats a total of six bullets for the noncounters.

*artistic license

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

End of an era

Frank "Skinny" Partuese and Frank "Blackie" Stillo have the distinction of being New York City’s last gangland victims of the Prohibition Era. “Blackie” had just parked his car when two gunmen came up from behind and started blasting away. After firing about ten shots the gunmen fled. Hit a number of times, “Skinny”, who was in the passenger seat, managed to get out of the sedan and run up a block or so before dropping dead. “Blackie” also made it out of the car but collapsed in the gutter. He was still alive when found and sent to the hospital where doctors said he would die.
The police believed that Parteuse was responsible for a killing three weeks previous and that he and Stillo were put on the spot for retribution. Whether or not Stillo played a part in the murder is unknown but he was a bit of a Yogi Berra as is evident by a quote he made while being transported to the hospital, “I don’t know why I should get it, but I had it coming to me.”

Friday, November 16, 2012

Barney goes down for the count

Barney Solomon immigrated to the USA from England around 1908 and became a boxer under the moniker of Barney Smith. Following his career in the sweet science, he became a starker, hiring out goons to bust heads during clothing strikes.

Rival gangsters wanted Solomon out of the way and gave him a beating as a warning. Being a boxer Solomon had received many fist to the head and was undeterred in his gooning affairs. Their first warning unheeded, Solomon's rivals decided that Barney should go the way of the dinosaur.

 Following a night of drinking, Barney was found on a lower east side curb ninety-four years ago this morning suffering from gun shot wounds. He was taken to the hospital but threw in the towel during surgery. Solomon Goons was out of business.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Be thankful

You think the economy stinks now? Take a gander at this photo from 1931. Things were so bad during the Depression that Death himself had to moonlight as streetwalker just to make ends meet. You can share this little tidbit with the kiddies at the Thanksgiving table.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

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 Al 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 himself killed afterwards. The full story on Stern can be found in Bad Seeds in the Big Apple.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Checking out at the Harding Hotel

Tony Marlow was a bootlegger who lived in mid-town next door to the Harding Hotel. Eighty-four years ago tonight he was standing in front of the hotel smoking a cigarette at 10:30pm apparently waiting for some one.

William White, a real estate salesman, who knew Marlow from the neighborhood saw him loitering and walked over. “Hello Tony!” White said offering his hand. As the two men were shaking hands, two more guys appeared from behind a parked car, one tall and slim and the other short and stout. Before anyone knew what was what they opened fire hitting Marlow five times before he had a chance to pull out his own gun.

A beat cop heard the shooting, ran to the scene and started after the gunmen. After a short chase the killers escaped. Returning to the Harding Hotel the officer loaded Marlow into a cab and took him to the hospital where the gangster was questioned about the shooting. When asked who shot him, Marlow responded in typical gangland fashion, “I’ll take care of them myself when I get well.” But his slayers needn’t of worried because he died the next the day.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Shot in the dark

At around midnight on this date in 1920 sixty-year old John Tollard, the watchman over at the National Aniline and Chemical Works in Canarsie, was standing guard in the counting room where hundreds of pay envelopes were ready for the night crew to pick up. Another payday like all the others.

Then the lights went out.

Assuming correctly that lights out meant trouble Tollard drew his pistol and hid behind a counter. Sure enough three gunmen entered the room and demanded the dough. Tollard answered with lead. It wasn’t a one way conversation however, and the bandits responded threefold. Pieces of counter and wall plaster rained down upon the watchman who emptied his piece. The bandits continued to fire until some workers came up to investigate what all the fuss was about.

When members of the night shift arrived the gunmen hightailed it outta there sans the ten grand they came in for. Later cops learned that half an hour after the failed raid some cops from another precinct found a seriously wounded guy on the sidewalk and took him to the hospital. Thinking that the watchman’s bullets may have hit home they went and questioned him about the botched robbery but the wounded man denied involvement. Go figure.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fred Kautz heard a loud noise coming from the rooming house next door (Paper thin walls you know) at 6:20 pm on this date back in 1922 so, being a good neighbor, he went next door and told Joe Epst the rooming house keeper.

Epst went up stairs and opened the door to the room in question and there found two bodies on the floor. One belonging to burglar and Sing Sing alumnus Benny “Big Nose Mannie” Rosner and a twenty-two year old sweety named 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.

Oddly, though the over turning of the bureau was heard no shots were. The pistol probably had a silencer. Word went out to pick up a John Farone who was renting the room. (they didn’t find him though they found a box of shells in one of his coats) As to why the murders took place. I’m open to suggestions…

Friday, September 14, 2012


One hundred and five years ago there was a feud on between Whitey Brennan’s dock gang and that of 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 ruffians 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 opposing mobs were deciding on how best to carry on, someone unleashed out a shooting iron and let it bark. Another scallywag answered by pulling out his noisemaker and letting 'er rip. Bullets flew and people ran helter skelter. Two young girls were wounded in the melee as well as Micky Nesty himself who was later 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.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bugs gets offed

James Donovan, known around town as Bugs, was part owner in some New Jersey breweries. A lucrative business back in 1929. Rumor has it that NYC gangster Waxey Gordon was attempting to monopolize the Jersey beer racket and couldn't work out a monetary deal with Bugs and his confederates so resorted to bulletary deal.

Donovan had a sweety in Manhattan's Chelsea district and could be found at her digs quite often. The men assigned to kill him found this out so waited outside her apartment. Eighty-three years ago tonight Bugs kissed his honey goodbye and went out to his car. As he was starting it a sedan pulled up and ... well, you know.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ars Gratia Artis

Ok, this is disturbing on many levels. Clowns are creepy enough, but knife wielding clowns who hang upside down on the flying trapeze? I suspect there will be many nightmares in the near future. Also, along the lines of the giant bats from Bataan, I'm going to go out on a trapeze wire here and say that todays detectives have it much easier then their early 20th Century brethren. When was the last time one of today's gumshoes had to fight a clown in mid air during a circus performance?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Death on the tracks

Ninety-three years ago today Michael Stenson and another man were walking together when they  suddenly started to argue. During the shouting match Stenson’s companion drew a gun and shot him. The gunman ran away as Stenson doubled over. Regaining his composure, Stenson drew his own gun and began to chase his assailant. He only made it to the middle of the street before toppling over dead between some streetcar tracks. Stenson’s murder may have been premeditated and had the ok from powerful men because, although the police denied it, a witness said that there was a cop on the corner who watched the whole thing but did not interfere.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Spinning the oldies at WDGIS

It was the third of September.
That date I’ll always remember.
Cause that was the day that Moe Howard died. (No that one)
It happened way back in 1930 and the facts are few
So Mama, I’m depending on you to tell us the truth.

But Mama just hung her head and said,
“Moe Howard got tossed out of a car
Enough slugs in him to fill a baby food jar
They found some cocaine,
perhaps that’s why he was slain.”

Hey Mama some people say that Moe wasn’t big on thinking
Stole booze meant for somebody else’s selling and drinking.

And Mama, bad talk going around town
Saying that Moe got arrested and threatened with life so ratted on his friends
And that ain’t right.

Heard some talk about a payroll heist and Moe holding out on his gang and that they were the ones in the car when the pistols went bang.

Mama we’re depending on you to tell us the truth.

Mama looked up with a tear in her eye and said,
“Moe Howard got tossed from a car, my sons
Enough slugs in him to fill a baby food jar.
They found some cocaine
Perhaps that’s why he was slain.”

Friday, August 31, 2012

Today's special - Robbery and Murder

We close out August with a look back to this date in 1928. Hours after it had been robbed of $4,000, John’s Lunchroom, which doubled as a saloon, was busy with about twenty patrons. One of those was James “Lefty” Doyle.

As Doyle enjoyed his food and drink, a man wearing a gray suit and brown slouch hat entered. He calmly surveyed the lunchroom and, when he spotted Lefty, he pulled out a gun and opened fire.

Everyone ran for cover as Lefty fell with a bullet in the back. Though frightened, the other patrons had nothing to worry about as the gunman was a crack shot. His next bullet also hit Doyle in the body. This shot was followed up with two more to the head.

His job complete, the killer pocketed his pistol and looked about the room before calmly walking out.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sitting ducks

Today marks the seventy-seventh anniversary of the passing of Frank Dolak and Benny Holinksy. Who were they you ask? Well they were part of a gang of Bronx kidnappers who thought they would make some quick dough by kidnapping a bookie named Bart Salvo and ransoming him back to his outfit. Unfortunately for the gang they either didn’t know or care that Salvo was a connected mob guy.

To make a long story short, Salvo was snatched and ransomed and then it was retribution time. Flush with cash the gang was planning their next move. Dolak and Holinsky picked up a third member of the gang named Miller and they went for what would prove to be a oneway ride for our protaganists. Holinsky was at the wheel, Miller was riding shotgun and Dolak was in the rear.

After a bit Holinksy announced that they were being tailed by whom he thought were cops, but were in fact gun toting gangsters sent to kill them. Holinksy pulled over to see if the cops were indeed following them. A fatal error.

Seizing the opportunity the gangster car pulled up alongside and out jumped three men armed with pistols. Miller saw what was happening right away. He jumped out his door, on the sidewalk, got up and took off as one of the gunmen fired some shots in his direction. Holinsky and Dolak were trapped in their seats and the two remaining gunmen pumped bullet after bullet into their bodies. They lingered in the hospital a few hours before expiring.

The full story behind the kidnapping and other depredations of Holinksy & Dolak’s gang can be found in Bad Seeds in the Big Apple.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Warning! Hot stuff here.

Amorous guys in suits deux. Don't look at this smut while at work...unless of course you're already at work then don't get caught.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Five to one, baby

It was at 10:30p.m. on this date back in 1924 it was, when in the old Whitehand territory of Brooklyn known as Irishtown, now called Dumbo, thirty-four year old Felix Deegan was drunk and arguing with five guys.*

A beat cop came along and shooed the men away the and told Deegan to go home. An hour later the same officer responded to four gunshots and found Deegan sprawled on the sidewalk with two bullets in his head and two in his chest. Seeing the five men escaping in a taxi the cop commandeered another and gave chase but, alas, the gangsters escaped.

Deegan died during the ambulance ride to the hospital. Even though a .38 was found on his body and his family admitted that he was most likely killed in a gang feud, they denied he was a gangster. In fact he had just passed examinations and was awaiting an appointment in either the police or fire department.

*I have to doubt this portion of the story. Whoever heard of Irish guys getting drunk and arguing?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ars Gratia Artis

Another dame with a Thompson. I guess this one is unfazed by crime. Her man is mortally wounded, police bullets are raining in and she looks like she's watching a seventy-three year old man change into a bathing suit.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Diamond wasn't Harry's best friend

10:00 p.m. tonight will mark the 82nd anniversary that Greene County, NY inn-keeper Harry Western received a phone call from Legs Diamond. Mr. Legs was in the process of monopolizing the Catskills beer and alky racket and Western wasn't playing ball. Western was at his inn, called the Chateau, near Lake Katrine when the call came saying get on over to Acra (Legs's house) pronto. Harry got in his car and headed over. Nobody ever saw Harry again. They saw his car with some blood in it, but nobody ever saw Harry again. One of Diamond's associates went to jail because he was caught with the blood stained car, but nobody ever saw Harry again. Authorities and the public  knew that Harry was killed by Diamond, but nobody ever saw Harry again. Nobody ever paid for what was done to Harry because, as they say,  no body no case. But some of the old timers say, especially after a few Ballantines, that some nights, especially on August 22, some people have seen a spectral figure wandering the cat roads of Greene County looking for his car. But the way I figures it, it can't be Harry cause nobody ever saw Harry again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gangster cinema

Came across this pic from an early 70s movie called The Grissom Gang. Anyone ever see it? Dames with Thompsons can't be all bad.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Working hard with your money

Things have been quiet at the Institute lately, namely because we were on a weeklong fact finding mission to Michigan. Have to use up those grant dollars somehow. So what facts did your hard earned tax dollars unearth? Many.
1) Sam Adams, Smithwicks and Leinenkugel summer shandy are available in and around Detroit; even found Pabst Blue Ribbon in a bottle. (For that last tidbit, the Fed should double next years money)
2) Detroit coneys are the best food in the world.
3) The Lincoln that President Kennedy was killed in is about eight feet away from the mens room in the Henry Ford Museum. Doesn't seem right. Look at car, review Zapruder film in head, meditate on significance of artifact in front of you, take twelve steps and relieve yourself.
4) And speaking of cars, there is a reason Detroit (ok, maybe the outskirts) is still the motor city,
5) On August 14, 1930, Gennaro Mangiapane, a fugitive from New York City, was driving along a Detroit thoroughfare with a pal when said pal whipped out a pistol and drilled Gennaro in the head. The pal then leapt from the car as the recently deceased Gennaro crashed into the curb.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

They're dead...uh, they're all messed up.

This morning I ran into Mark the IT guy on the elevator. He said that our post from last Friday, Amorous Guys in Suits, has, to date, brought in forty-seven million hits from, presumably, the stay-at-home-mom market we've been trying to break into. Great news said I, adding, I wish there was some other niche market we could try to scam our way into penetrate. Mark said, "What about zombies?" I said, "What about them."Mark said, "They're big." I said, "I guess, depending on the size of the person who died." Mark said, "No I mean market wise, zombies are big." "Oh," Said I, "Run with it."
Welcome to this weeks edition of Walking Dead Guys in Suits.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


 Vincent Pisano and Oresta DeRobertis were former members of the “Forty Thieves”, a gang that operated in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn. Back on this day in 1934 they were living in a small boarding house in that area. Each had a room on the top floor. At 4:00 a.m. two killers, each armed with a revolver,  gained entrance to the house. They ascended the stairs and then split up. they had been there before and knew which rooms were occupied by the former gang members. One entered Pisano’s room and the other DeRobertis’s. All the inhabitants of the boarding house were awakened moments later when the gunmen simultaneously emptied their pistols into their targets. Five of the six bullets fired at Pisano lodged in his abdomen while three out of the six fired at DeRobertis pierced his head.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Has it been a hundred and eleven years already???!!

Happy birfday to me!! Now get in here and eat some cake...unless I don't like youse then eat this .45 hollowpoint bullet...just kidding, have cake, really. By the way, I'd never say youse or birfday in real life. I talked like a poyfict gentleman.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Prepare the cold shower

As President and Grand Pooba of the DGIS Institute it is my job to insure that visitors receive quality, original content whilst also pleasing the shareholders, all while trying to appear sober. After many meetings and much market research, it was determined that, how did that guy in accounting put it, oh yeah, sex sells.  And the biggest thing now is, how did those snickering interns refer to it? Oh yeah, "mommy porn". So to attract a new readership without alienating our normal visitors, please enjoy this special edition of Amorous Guys in Suits.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ars Gratia Artis

If any detectives read this blog, you don't get to complain about your job. Detectives back in the 1930's had to deal with murderers, bootleggers, bank robbers and giant bats from Bataan. Think about that next time you want to hang up your holster for good.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Tough break for Tough Tony

With a bullet near his heart, "Tough" Tony Bove dropped to the sidewalk ninety-one years ago today. Some said it was an affair of the heart that lead to the lead. Others, including Tony himself, figured it was the result of another gangland shooting from earlier in the week that resulted in three guys approaching him on the corner of James Street and New Bowery and giving him the bang.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Eyes have it

Ninety-nine years ago this morning at around 1:00a.m. Ed Dempsey and some of his Eye-rish street gang brethren started blasting away at some Eye-talian fellers. Word on the street was that some of Paul Kelly’s old gang were messing around in Gopher territory.

Anyhoo, after a series of shots were fired a cop came running down 41st and between Eighth and Ninth Avenue he saw a couple of the Kelly boys, Jim Monico and Jim Scaraco, limping along. The officer ran up with his gun out and yelled for the two to halt which they did. “They winged us.” Monico said, grabbing his leg. Scaraco appeared to be more than simply winged as his blood leaked through the bottom of his coat onto the sidewalk.

As the policeman questioned the gangsters bullets began to ricochet around them. Someone was firing directly from above. Crazy Eyerish. Another cop came running up. He passed the trio on the stoop and headed into the dark building. Approached the stairs, the officer saw a flash from a pistol shot and felt a bullet fly past his ear. He fired in the direction of the flash and heard a thump. From further down the second floor hall he heard, “Did they get you Eddie?” Indeed. Eddie was got. Asking about Eddie’s well being was his pal Charlie Smith who was captured moments later and forced to carry his buddy outside.

Charlie deposited Eddie in front of the building along with Monico and Scaraco. The latter were asked if Eddie was the guy who shot them. “Never saw him before.” Was the reply. (The cops knew that would be the answer but had to ask)

Before long the whole neighborhood was out and trying to get a close look at the wounded gunmen. A couple dozen cops were called out to keep the mob at bay and they were forced to form a circle around the gangsters until an “auto-ambulance” arrived on the scene. The driver shined the headlights on the trio of wounded guys so the doctor could administer aid. Once he prepped them for the trip they were loaded up and sent to the hospital where Dempsey checked out a short time later.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bad luck Chuck

One-hundred years ago today Chinatown was rocked by another Tong murder when…ok, it didn’t really rock it. Murders were pretty frequent back then I was just trying to jazz things up…anyways thirty year old Hip Sing member Chuck Jow was sitting in the rear of the restaurant he worked at peeling potatoes. (and you thought gang life wasn’t glamorous).

As Jow sat near a window working his peeler, a guy with a rifle took aim from the roof of the building across the back lot. Five times the trigger was pulled and two bullets went into Chuck’s neck and another in his head. Taters were off the menu.

Why would anyone want to kill a spud stud? Turns out that Jow was formerly a member of the On Leong who switched allegiances. Not saying that’s why he was killed but just something for you to chew on, like a half peeled potato.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Losing their milk money to bullies

Twas ninety-two-years ago today that two bandits liberated nearly ten grand from the Borden Milk Company’s Westside operation, located at 400 West 29th Street. As was custom, the branch superintendent, Bill Thieler, went to the company's stables across the street and got a company buggy and brought it up to the Borden building. Once the buggy arrived company cashier, Bill Fowler, stepped out of the building with a tin box containing $9,853 in cash and another $600 in checks.

As Fowler approached the buggy a passing pedestrian grabbed him and, placing his hand over Fowler's mouth, pushed the cashier up against a railing. Fowler then felt a gun against his belly. Simultaneously another man trained a pistol on Thieler and grabbed the cash box from the Fowler's hand.

The gunmen then ran a short distance down the street, waving their pistols at any would be heroes, and jumped into a Ford and made their getaway. The milk employees stood by helpless with their horse and buggy. Technology favors the criminal.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Big Curly's final countdown

Has it been ninety-nine years already? Well, ok, here's the story one more time, it was hot, like now, and we were all on our stoops. Us kiddies were playing while the adults lounged around. One of the loungers was Big Curly Guargadatti. We all knew he boxed but we also knew that he dabbled in some nefarious enterprises. Just another hot, summer evening in Little Italy until somebody walked up and fired two bullets into Big Curly's heart. Big Curly went to the boxing ring in the sky and the killer escaped through the myriad of us playing kids and lounging adults. Sure the cops came and asked questions, but of course we didn't see anything, we were to busy playing and lounging.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Winger and a prayer

Thirty-year old gangster Edward Winger had just returned from Philadelphia and registered at a Lower Eastside bathhouse. Assumedly after he bathed, he hooked up with a man named “Louie”.

On this date back in 1929,  Winger and Louie were walking on the Lower eastside. A sedan pulled up and a gunman opened fire, hitting Winger. Louie made a run for it. Winger was taken to the hospital where he refused to say anything other than he was with “Louie”. The police continued to question him but he remained mum until he died the following day.

Friday, July 13, 2012

On the waterfront

Ah the good old days, friends I'm talkin' back before gangsters wore fedoras and fancy coats with velvet collars, before they drove big six-cylinder automobiles and sprayed streets with Tommy-guns, before they made millions in booze and labor rackets. Yeah, brothers and sisters I’m talking about the hazy, lazydays of yesteryear, when the clippity clop of horse hooves could be heard on cobblestone, when dames with parasols paraded up and down Fifth Ave., when a Westside mob known as the “Growler Gang” pilfered the docks for something that could be sold for beer money. The simplicity of it. Goons want beer but have no money. Goons go to docks and steal. Goons sell merchandise. Goons get beer. I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

Who were the Growlers? Well they were the motley crew that replaced the “Slaughter House Gang” that’s who the Growlers were, and that should be good enough for you. What did the Slaughter House gang do? They used to rob the captains of the many scows and barges that docked on the Westside for beer money. (See a pattern forming?)

So as I was saying 112 years ago today the Growlers were hanging out by the river when they saw a lumber scow stacked with, you guessed it, lumber, and jumped aboard. The Growlers grabbed a single board and attempted to make off with it. An employee of said scow tried to stop them and ended up going for a swim.

Seeing this, a number of barge captains charged the Growlers who were then making their way down the dock. The captains were turned back under a hail of rocks and anything else the Growlers could find to throw at them.

One of the would be heros, Andrew Evensen, the captain of a Norwegian barge, drew a pistol and fired into the air. Loud noises only angered the Growlers however, and they chased Evensen back to his scow where the captain ran into his cabin. The Growlers tried to enter Evensen’s quarters and he fired a shot that hit the lead Growler, Ed Shine, in the shoulder. Eager for beer money Shine informed his comrades that the captain was indeed only firing blanks and that they should continue with there Growlery. They continued their push forward and Evensen fired again hitting Growler, Bill Martin, in the leg. Bill wasn’t made of the same stuff as Shine and he went down without pushing the blanks charade.

Seeing that the captain meant business the remaining Growlers picked up Martin and beat a hasty retreat but dropped him when a cop came running up. Shine and Martin were sent to the hospital and Captain Evensen was tossed in jail. After all we can’t have any Norwegians shooting our beer deprived thugs now can we?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Ars Gratia Artis

Not unlike the Spicy Detective agency, it would seem that the Sizzling Detective agency had a few cases of wardrobe malfunction.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Marks X the spot

We now return to the elimination of Waxey Gordon's gang, already in progress. Murray Marks  joined the ranks of the recently deceased on this date back in 1933. Originally from St. Louis Marks was involved in the narcotics side of the Gordon empire. He lived in the same Bronx apartment complex where Joe “The Boss” Masseria’s lieutenants Steve Ferrigno and Al Mineo were cut down by shotguns less than three years earlier during the Castellemarese War.

Marks got his as he exited a bus at the intersection of Pelham Parkway South and White Plains Avenue. As he stepped off a gunman ran up and fired five shots at him. Two bullets found their mark in Marks and proved fatal. The gunman jumped into a waiting sedan and sped off.

A search of the dead man's apartment turned up a pound of opium but more interestingly a search of an abandoned apartment across the courtyard turned up a high-powered rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun. Not only did Marks live in the same complex where Mineo and Ferrigno were gunned down but he almost met the exact same fate.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Should have just said "No".

Return with me, if you will, to Harlem's little Italy, more specifically East 107th Street, eighty-seven years ago today. It is a little after midnight and Sing Sing alumnus Angelo Marino, a bootlegger and drug dealer, has  just conducted some business in a tenement.

As Angelo gets into his car, as many as six men come up along the rear and open fire. Bullets pepper the car and two of them strike Marino in the head killing him. Unfortunately there are pedestrians about and as Marino slumps over his steering wheel, a woman is killed when a bullet enters the back of her head.

The police interview everyone in the tenement that Marino emerged from, but nobody admits to having met with him. The police do however, find a shoebox on the roof of the building containing $3,000 worth of drugs.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The perfect beach read

I know what all you long time DGIS readers are thinking. I really loved that three part series about the Tri-State gang from a few years back, wish there was more to read about them thar eastern desperados.

Well your collective wish has been answered. Author and historian Seldon Richardson has come out with a new book about Mais & Legenza:

Mention this blog when ordering and receive a blank stare.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

House call

In the summer of 1931 the war between Dutch Schultz and a group of his disgruntled former gunmen headed by Vincent Coll was raging throught the Bronx and Harlem. A victim of said war was thirty-one year old John Saricelli, described by the New York Herald as "a superintendent of a fleet of trucks used to transport Dutch Schultz’s beer into Harlem and Bronx speakeasies."

At 3:45 am two gunmen, each armed with a .45, went to his house and rang his doorbell. Saricelli made his way downstairs and answered the door.  “Good morning” one of the gunmen said, each then fired one shot into Saricelli's chest.

The gunmen fled as Dutch's superintendent stumbled into his kitchen. He had his wife light him a cigarette before allowing her to call an ambulance. Once in the "wagon" The police pumped him for information but Saricelli kept true to the gangster code. “Get away. Don’t bother me. I know I’m dying but you get nothing from me.” And they didn't.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Please drive responsibly

Remember Waxey Gordon's guy Big Bill Oppenheim who got a face full of bullets on the fourth? Well, seventy-nine years ago today one of his buddies named Meyer Jacobs got it. Meyer was driving up Broadway when a car forced his to the curb and, in a scene reminiscent of a Warner Brothers film, a burst of gunfire raked his coupe.

With three bullets in the head and one in the neck Meyer lost control of his auto and drove up on the sidewalk. Being a responsible driver however, he pulled his machine back out onto the street and came to a stop. A couple of cops ran up. Meyer stated his name then slipped into a coma, dying later in the day.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hmm, wonder whats in the back seat? Oh.

Back on this date in 1926 a Chrysler sedan was abandoned in a west Harlem neighborhood. The auto was unfamiliar to the residents of the block and, after a number of hours had passed, some one looked inside. There in the back seat sat the earthly remains of Charles Caffrey. Sent to the great beyond by two bullets to the chest.

Caffrey, twenty-five, was an ex-convict with a record of about ten arrests. The police were fairly certain that he was killed in a Harlem apartment house. They had received a call saying that shots were fired in said house and a resident of the building told police that he saw three men who were supporting a fourth exit the building. When he asked what was wrong, they told him that the man was sick and they were helping him get a cab.

The only problem was that the witness said that the victim was about 6 ft tall and was wearing a blue suit whereas Caffrey was only about 5’6 and was wearing a brown suit. Police decided that the witnesses made an error and that the victim was indeed Caffrey after they found two spent cartridges in the upper apartment and a hat out front that fit the recently departed's head perfectly. The cops called the murder a ‘Thieves fight”.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Who in the Hudson Valley needs something to do this Saturday?

I'll be there signing books from 1-4pm. After that I'll be smoking bath salts and roaming around. I apologize in advance if I eat your face.

He screamed for ice cream

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, some of who, fired off their guns in order to alert police to the shooting as the killers made their escape. 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 murder was another in a 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.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Final number for McNamara's band

Passing bad checks, forgery, posing as a revenue agent, selling drugs, yup Michael McNamara did it all.
It was for bootlegging however, that the police believed the forty-year old never-do-well was ushered out of this life.
Eighty-five years ago today somebody placed a pistol under Michael's chin and pulled the trigger. Two more pills were pumped into his heart. Michael was then driven to Queens where his body was dragged from the car and dumped into some bushes behind a cemetery. Guess they wanted to make things easier for the disposal unit...Oh yeah, the police  found a book containing a list of New York City nightclubs on his person, that's why they thought he was a bootlegger.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Waxey's guy gets whacked.

The spring of 1933 found beer baron Waxey Gordon in jail and his gang being thinned out by rival gangsters. On this date 79-years ago, a Waxey confederate named William Oppenheim, know as "Big Bill", was walking up the steps to his apartment when a couple of guys came up from behind and called out to him. Big Bill turned to greet his callers and received five bullets in his face. After he was down five more were pumped into his chest for good measure.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Going postal

On the evening of April 2, 1920 two carloads of yeggs from New York City, Philadelphia and Newark, NJ pulled into the town of Oxford Furnace, North Carolina and broke into the town’s post office. The night watchman yelled, “Andy!! Barney!! Quick, citizen’s arrest, citizen’s arrest.” But was gagged and bound.

With no more interruptions the gang spent two hours blowing the safe. For their labors they walked out with $30,000 worth of cash, liberty bonds, stamps and "I love pulled pork" bumper stickers. The night watchman managed to free himself and a posse was formed but by that time the robbers had made a successful getaway.

The gang of city slickers returned to their flat at 43 Sand Street, Brooklyn and laughed and laughed at the rubes whom they had ripped off. Well, if there is one thing the Postal Service hates it’s dogs that bite. If there is a second thing the USPS hates, it's being robbed. So the Postal Inspectors began to investigate and through their mystical, and un-reported to the press, ways they managed to trace the bandits to their Sand Street lair in early May.

Once they found the gangs hideout New York detectives were brought in and the flat was watched for three weeks until they were sure the whole gang was inside and on this date, ninety-two-years ago, they raided the joint.

Once the captives:
John Murray
Walter Murray
Archie Birch
John O’Brien
William Dates
John Lahey
William O’Neill

Were in custody a Sheriff Taylor and his deputy from Oxford Furnace came in and got medieval on their backsides whilst whistling a jaunty little tune.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Barren gets shot down

Known as "The man with the big bankroll" fifty-seven year old Barren D. Wilkins, owner of the Exclusive Club, was the most powerful man in what the Times called Harlem's "Black belt". Since he was an easy touch for anyone in need he was quite popular in the neighborhood.

Wilkins arrived in Harlem back in 1903 and began to prosper with a cabaret that his brother owned. In addition to New York City clubs he was the financial backer of resorts in Atlantic City and was also active in the sporting world where he financed heavy weight champion Jack Johnson as well as all the teams in New York’s Negro League.

Though apolitical, Wilkins became important in elections swaying votes to either the Democrats or Republicans, his influence supporting the party whose victory would best serve Wilkins. Though his cabaret ran without a license and survived raid after raid he maintained that he did not pay for Police protection.

One of the people who often hit Wilkins up for a hand out was a gambler and drug addict named Julius “Yellow Charleston” Miller. On this date in 1924, Miller was shooting dice with five other men. “Yellow Charleston” went broke and tried to hit another player, John Parker, up for a loan but Parker refused telling “Yellow Charleston” that if he was out of money he was out of the game. "Yellow" responded by drawing a gun and shooting Parker in the stomach.

After the shooting Parker, “Yellow Charleston” ran out of the basement and up the street to the Exclusive Club where Wilkins was standing out front speaking with a guy named Benny “Yum Yum”. (Editors note: I believe it was a law back then to have a cool nick name)

“Yellow Charleston” ran up to Wilkins saying, “I just shot a guy and need a hundred dollars for a get away.” “I haven’t got that much money.” Wilkins replied. An answer that “Yellow Charleston” found unacceptable. Desperate, "Yellow Charleston"drew his gun and sent three bullets into, as he would be subsquently described by his fellow Harlemites, “The finest man who ever lived”.

Wilkins dropped to the ground as “Yellow Charleston” stuck his gun in “Yum Yum’s” face and pulled the trigger. Lady Luck was smiling on “Yum Yum” however and the gun did not go off. “Yellow Charleston” then forced a taxi to stop at gunpoint and made the driver take him to Jersey City.

Wilkins and Parker were taken to the hospital where the former succumbed to his wounds. As word of the shooting spread a large mob of Wilkins friends, supporters and those he helped over the years congregated at the Exclusive Club and for blocks around. Amidst the sobbing and wailing folks extolled the memory of Wilkins and his generosity. Then the got angry.

Rumor spread that “Yellow Charleston” was still in Harlem so vigilante groups began searching the streets for the man who was actually walking about Jersey City wondering what his next move would be. The following day, fearing that he would be lynched by the vengeance seeking residents of Harlem, “Yellow Charleston” came back to the city and surrendered to the police.

Though spared a lynching, "Yellow Charleston" paid the price for murdering Wilkins by copping a squat in Sing Sing's hot seat on September 17, 1925.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Field trip

Ah, yes a leisurely stroll through the Brooklyn woods, some wild flowers over there, quick look! Was that a pheasant? I believe it was. What a nice way to spend May 22, in 1910 Flatbush. Let’s check the DGIS Map app to see where we are exactly…hmm Paedergat Avenue and 41st street, doesn’t look like this area exist anymore. I see a Paedergat park which I suspect is what remains of this bucolic setting.

Birds are singing, children are playing, young lovers are wishing society wasn’t so uptight about premarital s- But wait, this is Brooklyn, and we’re on a DGIS expedition, I bet if we look around a bit…uh, huh just as I suspected there it is over there amongst those trees. A dead guy. Appears to be Italian. Wow they sure did a number on him with a knife.

Let’s count the wounds. I’ll start with the belly you do his chest and head. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Seven. How many did you count? That makes a total of fifteen. Judging by the fact that they also cut off his nose, right cheek and half of his right year I’d say his killers were pretty mad, or didn’t want anyone to identify him. The long slit in his left hand and the fact that part of his right hand is cut off leads me to believe that this unfortunate fellow put up quite a struggle before yielding up the ghost.

What’s that? Good observation! No excess blood, he was dumped here after death. There is an Italian neighborhood just north of here, they call it “Pig town”, now that’s not very pc, what an odd time, you can call an ethnic neighborhood “Pig town” but you have to wear a three piece suit when you go swimming. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah the Italian neighborhood we could go see if anyone there noticed anything but experience tells me it would just be a waste of time. So let’s go to Coney!!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Today marks the 112th anniversary of Constantine Steiger alias Fritz Meyer, saddling up and riding the lightning at Sing Sing. Why did Fritz sitz in the hot seat?

Three years previously Steiger was in the process of robbing the poor box in the Church of the Holy Redeemer on Third Street between aves. A & B when he set off the alarm. Two priest called for the police and two cops came to investigate. One of them, Patrolman Fred Smith walked in on him and Steiger, who was already wanted for the murder of the bell ringer (When's the last time you saw that on a resume?) for the Most Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in Williamsburg Brooklyn, shot and killed the officer.

Officer Smith’s partner saw Steiger trying to escape through a window and yelled to some pedestrians who captured him. Some how, along the walk to the precinct house Steiger suffered many abrasions and contusions.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Smoked at a smoker

In the Brownsville section of Brooklyn a war was going on between gangsters vying for control of the laundry racket. The head of one of the warring factions was “Doggy” (Augie?) Ginsberg.

And on this date back in Nineteen Hundred and Twenty Five (I just can't get enough of that sweet stuff. Whoa, oh I, oh oh I) a “smoker” was held by the Durant Social club of East New York and “Doggy” Ginsberg was one of the two hundred men in attendance. As the show was about to get underway Ginsberg suddenly let out a groan and keeled over.

Turns out, Mr. Ginsburg had been shot in the head and left breast by a pistol equipped with a silencer. Nobody moved as three gunmen made their way to “Doggy” and, as they stepped over him, one of the gunmen reached down and took something out of the dead man's pocket. The trio of killers then exited the dining hall.

Before they got into their cars, Hyman Jacobson, a Ginsberg man, ran out after them and the gunmen fired a volley in his direction. One bullet smashed into Jacobson’s heart killing him.

When the police arrived they found Jacobson dead out front and “Doggy” inside. Fifteen men who had not run away were questioned and it was through them that the police got the news about the “wet wash war”.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

White, as a ghost

John White was the proprietor of a midtown speakeasy and a victim of his own door policy. On this date back in 1928 Harold Fullam, an elevator operator from a nearby hotel, tried to gain entrance into White's club. The proprietor stopped him at the door and refused him entry. According to the bartender, Fullam came back later and asked White to step outside for a few words.  White obliged him and moments later the bartender heard a shot. An ambulance was called and White ended up dying on the operating table.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Killo de Mayo

Need something to talk about over margaritas and salsa this Cinco de Mayo? If you see that someone special and need an ice breaker simply say: " Did you know that on May 3, 1903 strife hit the Cherry Hill section of Manhattan when William "Billy Argument" McMahon and other members of the Cherry Hill mob beat up a rival member of Monk Eastman's gang named Patrick "Paddy the snake" Shea?"

If that certain someone seems interested continue with:

"The beating Shea received was bad enough to send him to the hospital where he was questioned by police about who did it. A consummate gangster, "Paddy the snake" told the police, "I ain't no squealer, not me. When I get out of the hospital I will attend to this matter myself and maybe I won't do a little six shooting."

If they haven't excused themselves by now, conclude with:

"Two days later, that's 109-years ago today, Shea was out of the hospital and staking out McMahon's apartment and when the latter emerged "Paddy the snake" came up behind him and "blew the top of his head off.", (take a dip of salsa for effect.) "and after his round of "six shooting" Shea fled to Philadelphia where he was captured in late July and extradited back for trial. While on the stand Shea admitted to the murder but said it was self-defense claiming that if he didn't get "Billy Argument" first, Billy would have gotten him. "

Trust me, drop a story like that and you are in like Flynn. You can thank me Monday.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bad luck Chuck

Charles Rosenhaus was 35-years-old and had three arrests under his belt. He was currently a proprietor of a number of Bowery newsstands and part owner of a cabaret known as Green's Restaurant. Early in the morning on this day back in 1925,  Rosenhaus was approaching his cabaret when a man walked up and fired three shots into his chest. Charles dropped to the ground as his assailant got away. The fact that Charles was wearing a holster equipped with a fully loaded revolve led police to believe that Chas. knew his life was in danger.

Monday, April 30, 2012

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 eighty years ago today.

Judging by his movements Block didn't know he was a marked man. He picked his wife up at 7th Ave and 47th Street and they had dinner in the restaurant at the Paramount hotel. This was followed by a late show at the Capitol Theater. Afterwards 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 at 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 ran out of the foyer and escaped in a tan sedan. 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.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hello, I'm Johnny Cashel

And on this date in 1929 somebody shot me in New York City just to watch me die.
Now, let me get out my geetar and tell you all about it...Hear, that, thats the tune to Folsom Prison Blues, sing along...

Four guys done approached me,
one of them had gun
we spoke for just a second
then started all the fun.

Yeah, Four shots were fired
I was hit in my front and side
A cabby rushed me to the hospital
and that is where I died.

The guys who killed me
never did no time
A cop who said he knew me
claimed I was deep in crime.

Sure I had a record
I never said I was square
and I ended up a statistic
of Prohibition gang warfare.

Thank you! Buy a T-shirt on the way out.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A motley crue chief

Way back on this date in 1911, Tom(my) Lee, the unofficial “Mayor of Chinatown” and head of the On Leong Tong was arrested while eating his lunch. The charge? Gasp! Why there was gambling going on in that (at the time) tiny little district encompassing Mott, Doyers and Pell streets.

The police were given evidence that, each week, Lee was paid tribute to the tune of $15 per gambling table in his bailiwick. And that there were nintey-five tables. Not bad. Where did the police get their info? Why none other than Mock Duck, Lee’s chief rival, and top dog in the Hip Sing tong.

It also came out that Lee didn’t actually keep all of that gambling loot either, that some of it was, surprise!, kicked upstairs to politicians. My, my who’d a thunk it.

Mock Duck may have thought he was being pretty foxy but he was also arrested. Turns out during a previous arrest for an old murder charge he had promised to leave town if given bail. So he was released and came back and apparently forgot about his promise.

Both Tong leaders were forced to sit down for a forty-five minute lecture from the Police Commissioner in which they were told that gambling in Chinatown had to stop and that the Tong members had to stop carrying guns around as well. Both Tong men assured the Commissioner that his wishes would be granted. After a moment's silence all three men started to snicker then laughter rolled out of the Commissioner's office and echoed throughout headquarters. Why nothing was gonna change you big sillies. To add to the charade Lee and Duck walked out together smiling as if they were old chums.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Not since the Dalton Brothers were shot to pieces in Coffeyville, Kansas have three siblings fell so fast before an enemies gun until the Lawlor brothers caught lead on this date back in 1930 . The Lawlors, however, were not trying to rob a bank when they were shot down. Not that they were above banditry, the brothers all had police records and were not unknown to prison, but they in fact were toiling in the Hells Kitchen speakeasy owned by their brother in-law Bartley Cronin when the end came.

Twenty-three year old Lawrence was behind the bar when gangster in training David Beadle entered the tavern and began waving a pistol around. Knowing the violent history of the Lawlor Brothers, the customers began to inch their way to the door as Lawrence began to holler at twenty-two year old Beadle. Beadle began gloating about his toughness, which only enraged Lawrence who came out from behind the bar and went for the gunman.

Beadle pointed his gun at Lawrence’s heart and pulled the trigger. Lawrence dropped in the doorway that separated the bar and the back room. Hearing the shot, brothers Michael and William ran out of the rear room and, seeing their prostrate brother, jumped over him and rushed Beadle who fired off another fusillade. Three of the bullets found their mark, Michael was hit in both the head and chest and William was critically wounded in the stomach. Beadle made his getaway but was later picked up by the police.

Lawrence was dead before the authorities arrived and Michael, age thirty, died at the hospital. Thirty-three year old William eventually recovered. While in the hospital William refused to answer any questions, which didn’t surprise the police because on the previous August 23, he was shot in the groin and refused to say anything.

Monday, April 23, 2012

And the Weiner is...

Today marks the seventy-seventh anniversary of hoodlum Robert Weiner taking his final bow on the Gangster City stage.

Weiner first came to attention in 1926 when he was arrested for his participation in the botched Tombs breakout by his pal Hyman Amberg and the latter’s associates Robert Berg and Mike McKenna. After being interrogated by Sgt. Rubberhose and Lt. Blackjack he signed a confession stating that he supplied the guns used in the deadly break out.

He spent thirteen months on death row because of the confession but was subsequently released after a retrial. At the very least it seems that he was going to act as getaway driver for the escapees.

In December of 1928 Weiner was arrested with three other bandits during an attempted safe blowing. Since they were picked up before they actually got into the safe they only received two years for having guns.

Weiner next shows up in custody in 1932 for his part in trying to organize a pharmacy racket. Nothing came of it. The Weinster managed to stay out of sight until April 20, 1935 when he was taking part in a supposed drug deal. Something went awry and Weiner pulled his gun and fired two shots into another guy’s throat. Some one else pulled out his roscoe and sent a .38 caliber telegram into Weiner’s windpipe.

Both bad men were taken to Bellevue hospital where Weiner.., well, we already know what happened to him.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pop gets popped

John “Pop” Egan had been out of Sing Sing for four months when he was sleeping in the rear of Samuel Zournagian’s grocery store on this date back in 1927. Police said that the store also doubled as a gang hangout. At about 9:15 pm three men came into the rear of the building and woke up Pop. As the ex-con was rising, one of the men drew a pistol and popped him twice in the head. Pop went back to sleep. Two men, James Durkin and Thomas “Scrub” Morrissey, were both subsequently arrested for the murder but both were acquitted June 19, 1928 for lack of evidence.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dealing in the Devil's dandruff

A large drug operation was uncovered on this date in 1920 when dealer Salvatore Messina was shot down at 4:30 that Saturday afternoon in what detectives called "a fight over cocaine." Their investigation led them to the Brooklyn home of father and son traffickers Giovanni and Louis Mauro, where they reportedly found seventy-five thousand dollars worth of the drug as well as a .45.

From there the detectives went down the block to in-law Giuseppe Gangarossa's house and uncovered another one hundred and fifty thousand dollars worth of the white powder and an Italian model double barreled .45.

After the raids police said that they had proof that Gangarossa had killed Messina. Louis Mauro admitted to being part of a five hundred-person drug smuggling ring that operated along the Brooklyn waterfront. He said that sailors mainly brought the stuff in from Italy but that his last shipment came in from Germany. Once he had the cocaine he would sell it to small dealers in New York as well as send larger shipments to a man in Philadelphia.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Back to work...sooner or later.

Took the staff away for spring break last week. Working for a non-profit like the DGIS Institute really has it's advantages. A nice getaway paid for by the money we didn't spend on taxes.
Here we are upon arrival. Interns do like to surf...
And dance...
And swing...
While us more mature types just relax on the beach. I hate when the snap the picture before I'm ready.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Freedom or bust

Eighty-two years ago today Anthony Tarrella became an ex-con by escaping from Sing Sing prison but not in the way he intended. After dinner he and the other inmates were out in the yard when the call came to line up and return to their cells.

As the convicts were marching in Tarrella suddenly ran for the wall in full view of the machine-gun toting guards. His brothers in stripes yelled for him to stop but he made it to the wall and scaled the twelve feet and dropped over. He ran to the second wall, an eighteen footer, and climbed that one too as one of the guards raised his Tommy gun and yelled, “Stay where you are or I’ll shoot!”

Tarrella flung himself off the wall and was momentarily free as his body flew into the Hudson River, but just as he splashed down the officer with the Thompson let go with a blast. Moments later Tarrella floated to the surface, an ex-convict

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ars Gratia Artis

Good thing she's in chains. She doesn't want to kill, she has to.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The origin of NIMBY

Joseph Madonia aka, Giuseppi Ferraro, was involved in both policy and a bakers union racket. It was said that if bakers didn't buy flour from vendors designated by Madonia they could expect damage to both their property and themselves. Madonia, 45, lived in Brooklyn where he also had a macaroni and bread store. At a little after midnight on this date back in 1931, a Queens resident heard what she said could have been a gunshot or a car back firing. It was the former. The next morning another Queens resident found Madonia in his back yard with a single bullet wound to his left temple.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sweeney Lapis

Twas this day in 1901 twas that Brooklyn barber Joseph Lapis exercised his Second Amendment right and kept his shop from being burglarized. The previous morning he and his brother John entered their establishment in the bottom of 164 Hamilton Avenue and saw that during the night someone attempted to break in.

Believing that the footpad(s) would return that night they set out to protect their combs and mustache wax by purchasing a shotgun. Joseph also procured a cot and set it up in the rear of the shop so that he could spend the night.

Long about 3:30a.m Joseph was awakened by the sound of somebody tampering with the lock on the front door. Grabbing his gun he approached the door. He listened for a few more seconds, then placed the barrel against said door and pulled the trigger. A scream was heard, then all was quiet. The barber  dressed and went to the police station where he relayed the incident to the boys in blue.

A patrolman was dispatched to the shop and upon entering the building  found would be yegg John Alba on the second floor landing, lying unconscious with a wound to the chest. Alba was taken to the hospital where he denied trying to break into the shop but remained mum on how he came to get a chest full of buck shot.

Since you can’t go around shooting burglars Joe the barber was arrested but back then people figured burglars got what they deserved and he was paroled the same day.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Get Shorty, but let Hogan go.

One hundred and two years ago today, former pool room owner Henry Jacobs was preparing to open his own gambling joint in Harlem. He gave a guy named Hogan $1,500 and told him to meet him later at the house, which was already decked out with all kinds of gambling equipment. In the meantime Jacobs ventured to the Pilgrim cafĂ©, located on the second floor of 28 West 116th Street, and ordered some lunch with a couple of pals.

At a nearby table sat another gambling sort by the name of Shorty Mansfield. Jacobs owed Shorty $250. Shorty called Henry over and asked for his money. Henry said he didn’t have it. Shorty didn't care for the answer so he drew a pistol and blew a hole in Jacob's belly.

Mansfield hit the door and made a successful get-away while Jacobs hit the floor. He was subsequently taken to Harlem hospital where one hundred and two years ago tomorrow he died.

The story doesn’t end there however. Remember Hogan? Well he wasn’t much of a hero. With Henry playing pinochle in purgatory he pocketed the $1,500 and took all the furniture and gear and opened a gambling house not to far away and did very well. In one month he made $17,000 and although the police knew about the house, it was never raided, so undoubtedly a good portion of that dough found it’s way into blue pockets.

Someone else who knew about the many clams rolling in was the Widow Jacobs who for six months tried to collect Henry’s money to no avail. So one day the following autumn she showed up at the gambling house and broke a window with her umbrella and then smashed two more with a hammer. She was arrested and blew the whistle on Hogan's operation, but with all that jack rolling in it’s hard to believe the police did anything about it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

Ninety-two years ago this day, two well dressed young ladies (we'll call them Carol and Alice) entered a Brooklyn drug-store and asked to see some perfume. Store proprietor William Blair took out a number of bottles for the women to sniff and snuff. While this was taking place two fellows (Bob and Ted) entered the store and pulled out their guns. Blair was ordered to "Put ‘em up". Once Blair had them up the dames helped the guys empty Blair's register of a hundred bucks as well as the $600 ring he was wearing. All four then skedaddled in one of them there motor cars and went to Vegas where they almost had a fourway, but thought better of it and then went outside and mixed with a bunch of diverse peoples while Dionne Warwick's "What the world needs now, is love, sweet love." played.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Final run

Seventy-nine years ago today, alky runners Joseph Calligari and Frank Russo carried their last load. The two men, both in their thirties, were found in Westchester County by a farmer a short distance from the highway on a remote road known as Green Lane between the towns of Bedford Hills and Mount Kiscoe.

Judging by the tire tracks found at the scene what appears to have happened is that Calligari, who had just been paroled from Sing Sing the previous Tuesday, and Russo were transporting a truckload of booze when they were over taken by two large sedans. The men were forced from the truck and executed. Both had been shot twice in the chest and once in the forehead practically in the exact same spots leading police to believe that a machine gun was used. The killers had a macabre sense of humor as the dead men were then lifted over a small stonewall and placed near a tree baring a sign that read, "No dumping"

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Baron gets shot down

Eighty-two years ago today the body of  twenty-nine year old William "Baron" Simpson was found in a Brooklyn alleyway leading from Furman Street to pier 16 on the East River. Someone had come up behind him and placed a .38 to the back of his head and pulled the trigger. Although the murder took place at around noon, next to a tin can factory with two hundred employees that were on lunch break there were no witnesses.
"Baron" was the boss of a small group of dock workers and had a reputation as a fierce street fighter. According to his brother, "Whitie" Simpson, "Baron" had gotten into an argument with three men at a near by pier about an hour before the murder. The argument turned into a fistfight and "Baron" proceeded to savagely beat all three men until they ran away. Simpson was last seen, alone, turning into the alleyway in which he was found a short time later.
Even with the story about the fight with the three men, police stated that they believed that Simpson was another in the long line of Irish thugs murdered in the unending battle for leadership of the dock rackets.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's in the bag

On this date in 1921 Louis D'Amico was struck over the head with a heavy object. This took the fight out of him. Then a sash cord was wrapped around his neck, pulled down and tied around his knees. He was then placed in a gunnysack where he strangled himself by flailing about. His killers then loaded him in a car and tossed the sack over a fifteen foot embankment.

The following day two Eastchester farmers were traveling on the same road as they headed for market. They noticed some discarded car parts in the ravine and headed down to take a look. One of them noticed the sack. Opening the top he saw Louis's head and, this not being something he could sell at market, proceeded to call the police.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mad Men

Eighty-five years agao today Samuel Raplansky, a thirty-year old member of a gang called the Madison Street Boys, was hanging out at the mobs HQ, aptly named, the Madison Street Boys club. At about 10:00 pm Sam split for a while. He returned around midnight and as he entered the foyer a number of shots rang out. The club was crowded and a number of the Madison Street boys, including Sam's brother Harry, rushed into the hall and found Sam in heap with bullet wounds to the left eye, chin and body. Harry and some others put Sam in a cab and rushed him to the hospital. All was for naught however as Sam had been killed instantly.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Fat lady sings for the fat man

Twas this day in 1929 it was that NYC gangster Thomas Walsh was knocked off in Coral Gables, Florida.  "Fatty" or "Fats" as he was called, was a former employee of Arnold Rothstein. As such he was pals with guys like Legs Diamond and Lucky Luciano.

Walsh, who was thirty-three at the time of his death, moved to Florida a few weeks after Rothstein's death. In the Sunshine State Walsh and another New York gangster, Arthur "Chick" Clark, owned a piece of a gambling room ran out of the Biltmore Hotel. A guy named Eddie Wilson was also a partner.

At 12:20 a.m., as Walsh and Clark were seated amongst the gamblers watching the nights play when Wilson appeared in the doorway brandishing a pistol. Once he sighted Walsh he raised the gun and fired five times. Two of the bullets hit the stout gangster in the abdomen and one nicked Clark in the arm. Walsh tried to get on his feet but fell forward on his face dead. The first reaction of the press and the police was to say that the killing was some how related to the Rothstein murder from the previous November but as the investigation went on it was determined that Eddie Wilson was unhappy with Walsh because the latter was trying to shake down Wilson's share in the gambling enterprise.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bienvenue, Willkommen,Benvenuto, Bienvenido, Jolly Good Show!

The Kindle edition of Legs Diamond: Gangster is now available for kindles here and abroad.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Look four ways before crossing

Alphonse Respivo was said to be a small time racketeer who divided his time between the Big Apple and Chicago.

In 1921 Respivo was arrested for robbery and did six years in prison. He was also arrested in Chicago in 1931 for carrying a gun, an offense that cost him six months in jail and a $100 fine.

By the mid-1930s Restivo had returned to New York City and at 4 p.m. on this date in 1935 he was crossing the street when two men came up from behind and shot him in the back numerous times. The gunmen then tossed their guns (a .38 and a .45) in the street and ran in opposite directions.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

Today's victim, Louis DeMaria, was considered by police to be a small time racketeer. That may have been true but he also may have some how been involved with Vincent Coll or his murder five days before.

DeMaria had been shot three times and his body dumped on a road, where it was spotted by a bus driver. Oddly, earlier that day the car used for the murder was found just a hundred feet away, wrecked, with bloodstains and a pistol missing three shots. Apparently the killers tossed DeMaria's corpse out of the car and then crashed moments later. No one inspecting the car however, found the dead man.

Interestingly, a number of newspaper articles pertaing to the Coll murder were found around DeMaria's body. Police were unable to place the dead man in either Coll's or Dutch Schultz's gangs so weren't able to say with any certainty whether his death was a result of the murder. Perhaps he was some how involved either as a spotter or as the mystery man who entered the London Chemist drug store with the "Mad Dog" only to walk out moments later when Coll's killer entered. If in fact DeMaria was involved with Coll then there are three possible motives for his murder.

One, he was a Coll guy who simply liked to carry around news clippings of his boss and was a natural target as all Coll guys were.

Two, if DeMaria was the mystery man then the remaining members of the Coll mob figured out that he was the double crosser who set up their leader and meted out their own justice.

Three, since DeMaria took to carrying around souvenirs of the murder chances are he was talking about it to anyone who would listen as well, perhaps bragging in his neighborhood to show that he was more than the petty racketeer the police considered him. If the killers of Coll did use him in some capacity they probably decided that his loose tongue was liability and rubbed him out.
Then again it could have been something else entirely.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gotta pay your dues if you wanna...

Eighty- four years ago today, Joe Galas aka John Romano, an ex-convict who had served time for larceny, was found on the street with a couple of extra holes in his head. Shaking the magic eight ball, the police determined he was a victim of a bootleggers feud.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gotta pay your dues if you wanna sell the booze and you know it don't come easy.

Four score and six years ago today, a cop was making the rounds when he found what he figured to be a drunk face down in the snow. He went to rouse him and discovered that the man had been doing shots of a different sort, four to be exact. He rushed the guy to hospital, but all was for naught as the man was DOA (and the D didn't stand for drunk). Finger prints showed that his name was Vincent Matoli and, according to police, he was associated with a gang of bootleggers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Eighty-years ago today, a mere week after the bloodbath in the Bronx where some of his gang was decimated [see Feb. 1], the New York City underworld ridded itself of Vince "the Mick" Coll, or "Irish" as his contemporaries also called him (It was the press that dubbed him Mad Dog.) after he and an associate entered a drug store on Manhattan's W. 23rd Street. The victim of a double cross, Irish entered a phone booth to make a prearranged call to underworld powerhouse Owney Madden (the Englishman, ok he was of Irish descent but he was born in England) while his pal took a seat at the counter. While the Mad Dog and Englishman were conversing a car containing a hit squad pulled up front and gunmen got out and covered the store's door. Coll's pal was allowed to leave as a machine-gun toting hoodlum made his way back to the phonebooths. Finding the booth containing Coll, the gunman lined himself up and blasted the Mick into gangster history.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday night is all right for fighting

Nintey-one years ago tonight a large group of guys and dolls were lining the stairwell of a lower eastside building waiting to get into a night club on the third floor. As the band was getting ready to play, a couple of shots rang out and the throng of people ran helter-skelter into the streets. One man, Michael Dimesci, traipsed across the street and dropped dead with a bullet in the heart.

The police sent officers to all the hospitals in the area to see if anyone else showed up. Within the hour Brooklyn mobster Frankie Uale stumbled into one with a bullet wound to the lung. Uale said he just happened to be walking by the club when the shooting took place and had no idea what it was about. Police later asserted that they believe the Brooklyn Mafioso was the intended target and that Dimesci may have been an innocent bystander.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Owney earns a nickname

Owney Madden, one of the top New York City mobsters of the prohibition era picked up the moniker "Killer" in his younger days as leader of the Gopher gang.

One-hundred years ago today he lived up to his nom de guerre. Twenty-one year old William Henshaw was preparing to board a streetcar when two men came up and shot him. He didn't die outright and was taken to the hospital. On his death bed, he identified Madden as his killer but for some reason the police didn't try to hard to find him, which confounded the dead man’s father, who told the press, “It seems queer to me that the police can not catch the murderer of my boy. This band of Gophers had it in for my boy for some time. I don’t know why they wanted to kill him but he often told me he was afraid of them.”

A little more than a week after the murder police captured Madden on the Westside after a brief chase. The cops could have saved their breath however as he was released and never called to trial for the murder.

* DGIS President, Founder & Grand Poobah Pat Downey made us check the facts twice. He is having a hard time accepting the fact that when he started researching those profiled on this site, "One hundred years ago" meant the 1800s. He is now consoling himself with an 18-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon and will be out for the rest of the day.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


In June of 1930 Leo Noto, said to be an olive oil dealer, and some accomplices kidnapped the son of a wealthy Brooklyn baker that lived just down the street from him. The kidnappers demanded $10,000 and released the boy after $7000 was paid with the promise to make up the $3000 in the near future. In the interim the baker went to the police and a trap was laid to catch the gang when they came to claim the additional $3000. The trap worked and six members of the kidnap gang were apprehended.

Noto supposedly turned states evidence and made a deal with the authorities where he would testify against the rest of the gang but the gang made sure that Noto didn’t live to see the trial date. Eighty-one years ago today, twenty-nine year old Noto, who was out on $25,000 bail, left the house that he shared with his wife and four children. He stuck his hands in his pockets and began walking across a vacant lot. While still in the lot a Packard sedan containing three men pulled up. Two shotguns were fired with deadly accuracy. Noto pitched forward dead, his accomplices breathed a sigh of relief.
* Note to "Confused in Canada" - Puxatawney Phil is the groundhog. Pittsburgh Phil was the killer for Murder Inc.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

House call

In the spring of 1931 gangster Vincent Coll and a contingent of disgruntled gunmen broke off from Dutch Schultz's gang and waged war against their former boss. Over the course of the summer the Dutchman's boys started popping up dead. Eighty-years ago today however, Schultz gunmen delivered a crippling blow to their foe.

Coll gang members Louis and Fiore Basile and Patsy Del Greco (center of photo) were holed up in one of the gangs Bronx hideouts. With them was a man named Joseph Paronne (whether or not he was part of the gang is unknown) nad a couple of women and some children. At approximately 9:30pm the doorbell rang. One of the gang answered the door and four or five gunmen pushed their way into the apartment and sprayed the room with gunfire. Del Greco and the Basile Brothers were the main targets and took the majority of the lead. Patsy was killed with three shots and Louis Basile with four. His brother Fiore was severely wounded with bullets over the heart and in the left arm. Trying to escape, one of the women ran into the line of fire and was killed when a bullet pierced her head. The other woman and Paronne received non-life threatening wounds. The killer’s main target however had not been on the premises for two days. How the killers found out where the Coll gang was has never been ascertained but chances are there was a traitor in the midst.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ars gratia artis

One thing we all agree on here at the DGIS Institute (and by all I mean me, everyone else just nods their head for fear of being fired) is that pulp art is the cat's pajamas. A new intern suggested that I check out the work of Norman Saunders, so I did. Great stuff. Those of you artists out there probably already know him but for the rest of us, if you like pics of dames with guns (and a host of other cool stuff). Give him a Google. His son compiled his work into a nifty book I'll have to get. If you want to check it out yourself it's up there in the the book carousel.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Standing on the corner watching all the gangsters go bye

Eighty-five years ago today, twenty-eight year old Mariano Bennedetto, who had been arrested in 1923 for a carrying a gun, strolled up to an intersection in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. He loitered about, apparently waiting for someone. A few minutes later a large sedan containing two guys pulled up. One of the guys jumped out and shot Mariano four times. Bennetto fell to the ground dead while his kiillers escaped in the excitement that followed.

Friday, January 27, 2012

My way or the hallway

Eighty-years ago today a group of Harlem children were brought face to face with gangland when they encountered twenty-four year old Anthony Sancione in the hallway of a tenement. The young man had two bullets in his head. The kids fetched a policeman who came up and found that the gangster was still alive. An ambulance was called but the gangster died en-route to the hospital. His record showed that he had been arrested numerous times but never convicted.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Should have ordered in II

John Doyle, known as both Jocko Doyle and Jackie Doyle, was a career criminal with fourteen arrests and three convictions on his record. The three convictions were for burglary and assault with intent to kill but it was for moving into the drug trade that police believe he was put on the spot. The end came eighty years ago today, at 3:00 am, when two gunmen entered the restaurant where Jocko was dining and shot him, not once, not twice, but seven times. Hopefully they left a tip for the busboy who had to clean up the mess.