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

Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

Meet Kiki

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gangsters on a Bender

Eighty–eight years ago today somebody(ies) picked up Harry Bender at the hotel he was living in and an hour later somebody(ies) dumped Harry in an empty lot in Queens with two bullets in his body and one in his head. Miraculously he was still conscious when taken to the hospital but refused to tell the police anything. Even when his wife knelt at his bedside and begged him to tell the cops who shot him he responded by saying, "Never mind, that will be taken care of." Was it "taken care of"? Who knows, but there is no shortage of dead guys in suits so if you want to believe so I ain't gonna talk you out of it.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pierced ear

Police called twenty-year old Leon Goldstein a "small time racketeer". His domain was the East New York section of Brooklyn where he extorted money from brothels, ran some smaller rackets and took part in a number of shootings. Since he was such a braggart his nickname around his neighborhood was "Ear bender" and he often boasted that he would kill anyone for $50. Speaking of ears Leon caught a bullet behind his left one eighty-two years ago today and was dumped in Queens. He also took one to the chest. Police suspected that the murder was revenge for the killing of another hoodlum from the previous fall.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Yegg heads

Now I did a few things during my college years that in retrospect probably weren’t to smart. I suspect most of us have but getting shot in the head by cop because of my own stupid actions wasn’t one of them. Anyone else who can say that please step forward... Not so fast Edgar Cook.

On this date way back in aught eight (of the previous century that is) eighteen year old Edgar Cook and his pal, twenty-one year old Howard Cole, both students of Columbia University decided that some collegiate nonsense was in order. So instead of getting drunk and paddling each others asses or going on a panty raid they figured it would be funsies to break into a small sundries booth that sold soda, tobacco and candy located at 123rd Street and Riverside Drive.

So there the brainiacs were trying to break into this kiosk when a cop, officer Hurton, shows up. They see him and run off. Hurton fires a shot into the air and Cole freezes. Hearing the shot another cop runs up and grabs Cole while Hurton chases Cook. Hurton fires another warning shot. College boy continues to run. Hurton ends both the chase and Cook’s semester by drilling him in the back of the head with a third and final shot.

“It’s my fault,” Cook admitted while laying in his own blood. “I was a blamed fool to run.”

Yes you were Cook. As any hoodlum worth his salt would have told you. Cops back then would just as well shoot you as chase you.

Monday, May 19, 2014


At 4:30 am on this date in 1930, Patrolman Henry Steger was walking his beat in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. He approached the police box at Gardner and Meeker Avenues to report in to his station and there waiting for him, one on top of the other, were the bodies of 26-year old Anthony Calderone and 29-year old Salvatore Tavolino. At first he thought they were victims of a hit and run but his flashlight soon showed the bullet holes in their backs and necks. There was no blood at the scene and both men were from Manhattan so police determined that they had been killed in the city and brought over to Brooklyn to be dumped. At some point prior to his murder Calderone had done some shooting himself because a gun was found on his person with three shots missing. One reason for the shooting may have been revenge. Calderone and Tavolino were involved with six other men in a robbery and both men were released while the others were convicted so they may have been put on the spot for possibly squealing

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Twisting the night away

Has it been 106 years already? Well, well time does fly, anyways as it turns out, on this evening back in '08 (1900 and that is) 'Ol Kid Twist Zweifach himself went out to Coney Island for opening day with his pal Cyclone Louie. In tow were a couple of dames who worked as singers in the Coney Island resorts. The girl with Kid Twist was the former twist for an Italian hood named Louie the Lump. To make a short story shorter Louie caught up with Kid Twist on the boardwalk and perforated both him and Cyclone Louie but good. If memory serves, once the Kid and Louie got their shares of lead they stumbled into a hotel's grand re-opening day flower display and bunting and expired from this life. I guess they didn't see the sign in the lobby that read: No Spitting, No Cursing, No Getting Killed.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Two barrels for a two timer

Steve Spano was thirty-one years old, lived with his wife, three kids and his mother and was known as a leader of Italian voters. While walking down the street on this date in 1921 Spano was cut down by a blast from a sawed off double barrel shotgun. Two men ran from the building where the shots came from and there police found the weapon.
While searching Spano's affects the police came across a picture of a woman in his pocket watch but it was not Mrs. Spano. When confronted with the photo Mrs. Spano, who said she was unaware that her husband carried around another woman's picture, said, "There was no other woman. No, no. Steve was a good man. We were married fifteen years. We were happy oh, so happy."

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

Chivalry is dead, well actually the guy who practiced it is

Thirty-three year old “Big” John Comstock, who police described as a “Notorious swindler at the wire tapping game.” was killed on this date back in 1904 as a result of his coming to the aid of young lady.

During the evening of May 4, another West side gangster named William “Lefty Donnelly” Donlon, attacked a young woman and Comstock, along with a few other men came to her aid. Afterwards, Comstock retired to a saloon for the evening. At 8:30 the following morning Comstock was still sitting at the bar ( an enviable life) when “Lefty Donnelly” entered and shot him twice. Unfortunately for “Lefty” two cops were nearby and arrested him as he tried to leave. Fortunately for "Lefty" “Big” John adhered to that old gangster code and died later that evening refusing to name Donlon as his killer.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A bungled burgal

On this date a long long time ago. A hundred and thirteen years to be exact. Annie Gildersleeve (quite possible the coolest name mentioned in the history of this blog) looked out of the back window of her Brooklyn apartment and saw two Manhattan burglarts, John Delaney and Joseph Fischer, on the roof of an apartment house across the way trying to break in.

Annie ran around the block to alert the apartment's dwellers and soon a group was in front of the building waiting to see if the burglars tried to come out. In the meantime two cops, John Bennett and William Gunn (grandfather of Peter), were summoned.

Delaney and Fischer made their way into the house only to realize they weren't surprising nobody. They ran out the front door and right past the cops. Gunn followed Fischer, Bennett Delaney.

Bennett wasn't keen on running so yelled, "Stop or I'll wing you!" Delaney continued to run until a bullet bounced off his skull and knocked him down. Miraculously he wasn't seriously hurt he was in fact only winged. If a head shot could be called a wing...anyways Gunn was more game and followed Fischer over numerous fences and out into traffic where the yegg jumped onto a a moving streetcar and ran the full length before leaping off, the officer hot on his heels. Another fence was scaled and Fischer ended up in a nursery. He ran across to the next fence which was unclimbable and there Gunn caught him.

The price for making an officer from the 1901 NYPD chase you over hill and dale was sound thrashing with the night stick. Both yeggs also had two guns apiece but this was pre-Sullivan law so no big deal, except for a beating and bullet wound to the head. The burglars from Manhattan were taken in, probably wondering why they thought pulling a job in Brooklyn was a good idea.

Friday, May 2, 2014

check Craig's list

"Chimes on the hour and you can hide a dead body." From Murphy's Grandfather Clocks catalog 1933. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bad luck Chuck

Charles Rosenhaus was 35 years old and had three arrests under his belt. He was proprietor of a number of Bowery newsstands and part owner, with Albert Meyer, of a cabaret known as Green's Restaurant. Early in the morning on this day back in 1925, while his partner Meyer was across the street, Rosenhaus was approaching the cabaret when a man walked up and fired three shots into his chest. Charles dropped to the ground as his assailant got away. The police said that Rosenhaus knew his life was in danger and pointed out that he was wearing a holster equipped with a fully loaded revolver. The ghost of Rosenhaus in-turn pointed out that a fully loaded revolver is of no use when in a holster.