"He must have done something. They don't kill you for nothing." - Chicago Gangster Ted Newberry. Rubbed out January 7, 1933

Friday, July 29, 2011

Johnny gets Droppered

Wow, time flies. Seems like only a year ago we were discussing the demise of Johnny Spanish on this date back in 1919. But here we are again. Yep it was ninety-two years ago today that Spanish was hanging at restaurant with his wife and pal when who should appear but his old crony Nathan Kaplan (Caplin for you enthusiast) also known as Kid Dropper.

The Kid had a bit of business with Spanish. "Hey John, step outside for a minute?" Kaplan didn't say. "Sure thing." Spanish didn't respond. So Johnny went outside and began to chit chat with Spanish. As they talked over gang business some of the gang loitered about. One of the loiterers casually strolled behind Johnny and then Bang! Bang! a car back fired. "They really need to invent unleaded gas." Spanish didn't say. "Agreed." Kaplan didn't respond. It was the last thing Spanish didn't say for after that a bullet flew into the back of his brain.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dempsey gets KOed

Ninety-eight years ago this morning around 1:00am there was some shooting taking place. Apparently some I-talian fellers, Jim Monico and Jim Scaraco, said to be linked with Paul Kelly, had the audacity to venture over into Gopher i.e. Irish territory and Ed Dempsey and Charlie Smith didn't like it.

Bang, bang went the Irish and Messrs. Monico and Scaraco hobbled down the street and into the arms of a cop. "They winged us!" Monico said, grabbing his leg. Scaraco concurred as blood dripped from his coat. "Serves you right for coming into our neighborhood." Said the cop, no wait thats not what happend. What happened was bullets began to richochet around the trio as Dempsey and Smith took potshots from the roof of a nearby building. Silly Gophers, tricks are for kids.

Another cop responding to the shots ran past the trio and into the building, where at this time Dempsey and Smith were on their way down the stairs. As the officer started to climb the steps he saw a flash and felt a bullet whiz by his head. He fired towards the flash and heard a thump. Then he heard Charlie say, "Did they get you Eddie?" Then he heard no more. Eddie was got.

Charlie surrendered and was forced to carry Eddie outside. An "auto-ambulance" was summonded and under its headlights the three wounded men were prepped for the ride back to the hospital. It proved to be Eddie last ride.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Bad Luck for Chuck

Ninety-nine years ago Chuck Jow, a former member of the On Leong Tong who had switched allegiances to the Hip Sings, was sitting in the rear of a restaurant peeling potatoes. (Damn it feels good to be a gangsta.)

How did the On Leong feel about a member switching sides? Not good. Across the way was a man with a rifle. As Jow peeled the gunman took aim. Five shots rang out. Two hit Jow in the neck and third went into his head. Taters were off the menu.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

She was a V-A-M-P, vamp!

At around 4:00 am ninety-years ago this morning. Marguerite McDonald, a singer by trade, woke up when she heard somebody rifling the bureau drawer in her living room. Peering through the darkness she saw a man standing over the bureau.

"What are you doing there?" she called, following up with, "Mother , get the revolver!"

This was a bluff on Ms. McDonald's part as they didn't have a gun,but mother ran to the window and yelled for somebody to call the police which was done.

In the meantime Marguerite slipped on a kimono and went into the the front room to confront the intruder who was 18- year old John Bjorkman. Instead of jumping back out the window in which he entered Bjorkman simply through up his hands. (chances are the fact that he was 18 and a woman in a kimono was a few feet away probably played a part in his not wanting to flee)

Marguerite started a dialogue with the Bjorkman who insisted this was his first criminal venture and the only reason he did it was because he was out of work and living on the waterfront and...

After about twenty minutes a cop showed up and punched Bjorkman in the face twice knocking him out (If we said it once we said it a thousand times, when in old New York, never make a cop have to do his job.)

Bjorkman was dragged to the station and pleaded guilty to burglary. When asked why he didn't try to escape the apartment he said, "I must have been vamped by the girl."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Big Curly gets KOed for good

Big Curly Guargadatti was known as a boxer in Little Italy but may have dabbled in some nefarious enterprises. Early in the evening on this date back in 1913 Big Curly, like the rest of the neighborhood, was lounging outside. The stoops were full of people, the sidewalks crowded and children ran about playing.

As all this took place somebody walked up to Big Curly and fired two bullets into his heart. Big Curly went to the boxing ring in the sky and the killer escaped through the myriad of pedestrians who would later swear to police that they neither saw nor heard anything.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Rise and shoot

Ninety-one years ago this morning Edward Cassidy, an off duty police officer, escorted a young lady to her apartment at 2077 Eighth Avenue after what one can assume was a night of frolics and gaiety. Then, perhaps because he was a romantic, or creepy, or simply tired, or a combination of all three he layed down on her stoop and went to sleep.

His dreams however were interupted when two guys stuck a pistol in his face and demanded any valuables he had on his person. Cassidy handed over his gold watch and $37 in cash but held onto his own shooting iron.

After the two hoodlums took off down the street Cassidy drew his revolver and fired a shot over their heads. When the didn't stop he lowered the barrel and sent a pill through one of the robber's, Tommy Malone's, back. He stopped although his pal got away with the goods.

Lesson; never try to rob a cop who is sleeping on the stoop of the woman he walked home a few hours before.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Rules are rules

"Chu On did wrong," claimed Chung Sam Lok, head of Chu On's Tong, the Four Brothers, "He knew he mustn't go on Mott Street. He knew he would get shot. He went there a few days ago. He got a warning, but he did not need a warning. He knew they would shoot him."

But go on Mott Street Chu On did. One hundred and one years ago this day. On was suspected of a murder the previous year and had been hiding out in Albany making periodic visits to the city and it was on one such visit that he broke Tong rules by crossing the street into rival Tong (in this case the On Leong) territory.

Chung Sam Lok assured the authorities that the Four Brothers would not be seeking revenge for the murder of their chum since he broke the rules. "This shooting today means nothing," Lok coninued, "There is no new quarrel between the On Leongs and the Four Brothers. It's just the rule, On Leongs keep off Pell Street or get shot; Four Brothers keep off Mott Street or get shot."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I have returned. I am tan, rested and ready to carry on and by that I mean that the DGIS Institute has a new batch of inturns eager to please. They get to comb the DGIS archives looking for gangster goodness to post while I do new important research.

Though things have been slow on the blog front work has been progressing on the Legs Diamond book. Currently creating an index and doing some final editing. Hopefully it will be in your library around Labor Day.