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

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday morning mystery

I wonder if the passing gentleman is A) The guy who hung up the "Swinging Corpse" or B) Is a jaded New Yorker laughing off yet another stiff strung up to a street sign?

Having lived in NYC for a number of years I am quite familiar with 5th Ave and 42nd Street so I have to go with B. The reason being that, that intersection is always busy, so I'm sure the killers were seen by numerous passersby who assumed it was simply gangsters taking care of business.

I also wonder if  the deceased was considered a "Swinging Corpse" because A) He was a jazz musician or B) He and his wife...

Though a long shot, the dead guy may have been an obnoxious patron at the NY Public Library which is located at that intersection. Librarians can only take so much.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

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 in Newark, NJ, across town a small time New York City hood named Al Stern, was found dead in a cheap boarding house.
Since he was found in the same city where the Schultz massacre took place, right away it was assumed that he some how played a part in it. Some papers said that he was the gunman who mowed down the Dutchman and his confederates while others said that he may have been the man who acted as a spotter for the killers and was killed himself afterwards. I however believe otherwise. What do I think? Well, the full story on Stern can be found here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Breaking Bad Part II

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

Monday, October 21, 2013

Breaking Bad never works

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Little Augie's turn

Twas eighty-six years ago this night that Little Augie Orgen went the way of all gangster flesh. You see, he and John Diamond, (that's Legs to you and me) were walking together on the lower East Side. Why were they meeting? Personally I think it was to discuss costumes for the upcoming 1927 city wide gangster Halloween party. Though it should be mentioned that Diamond was a bootlegger, drug dealer and loft thief & the former a labor racketeer. They became pals, most likely through Arnold Rothstein and let each other in on their crimes.  
     Orgen gave Diamond a labor contract which caused strife within his own gang. His two lieutenants, Lepke Buchalter and Gurrah Shapiro, decided that they should be running the show and that Orgen had to go.  So, as Messrs. Orgen and Diamond strolled together that night so long ago, a sedan containing a handful of gunmen came drifting through the street until Orgen and Diamond were spotted. It slowed down behind them and a couple of gunmen stepped out and made their ways up behind the duo. One placed his gun behind Orgen's head and pulled the trigger, the gang leader's hat flew three feet into the air while its owner dropped to the sidewalk. Diamond turned at the sound of the explosion and was shot in the stomach lest he try to intervene in any way. You see they didn't want him dead, just his pal. And they succeeded in both.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Who's the boss?

On this date in 1928 Mafia boss Salvatore D’Aquila, said by his family to be a cheese importer, was at a doctor’s office in the East Village. While his family was inside, he returned to the street to inspect the engine of his car. According to a witness, D’Aquila was looking under his hood when three men approached him. The quartet conversed for a number of minutes. The conversation escalated into an argument. Suddenly, the three men drew pistols and fired a total of nine shots into the gangster killing him.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A ride ends in the Bronx

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

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Checking out at the Harding Hotel

Tony Marlow was a bootlegger who lived in mid-town Manhattan next door to the Harding Hotel. On this date in 1928 he was standing in front of the hotel smoking a cigarette at 10:30pm apparently waiting for someone.

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 Tony never got well.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Shot in the dark

Just 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. Suddenly, 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 and then he 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.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Case of the murdered money collector-booze brewer-funeral parlor worker.

Angelo Lapi was an ex-con, who served sentences for both felonious assault and carrying a gun. Out of jail, forty-five year old Lapi took a job as a nightman at his brother in-laws funeral parlor. In addition to his duties at the parlor, Lapi made wine and home brew, which he in turn sold to a local speakeasy. Rumor had it he was also a money collector for the local policy racketeer.

The funeral home was connected to a tenement where Lapi lived with his wife, Maria, who also happened to be the janitress of the building. On the evening of the October 2, Maria was with her husband in the funeral parlor until midnight and then she went up to bed. The following morning as she started her daily chores she walked through the undertaking parlor and found her husband’s body on a couch in the back room. Lapi had been tied and gagged with a handkerchief. Then he was stabbed eleven times in the back.

Police were at a loss for a motive. So what was it? Did Lapi pocket some of the policy earnings? Did he fail to heed warnings not to sell his own spirits to the local speakeasy? What say you?