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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A bump off auld lang syne

Just as 1931 came to an end so to did the life of of lower Eastside gambler Louis “Crooked Neck” Levine. Ah, the simplicity of yesteryear. If you had red hair your nickname was "Red", if you had freckles you were "Spot" if you had a deformed neck, you were "Crooked Neck".

Levine was hanging out at a club known as the Pups Kennel Yard, which was basically a private speakeasy where members, who needed a card to enter, could drink and gamble. Not sure what time Levine showed up but through out the evening he was called away from his poker table three times to take a phone calls.

During his last call he was over heard saying, “No, I won’t meet you. I’m going to stay here.” “Crooked Neck” returned to his table and once again commenced playing cards. At about 4:00am as Levine sat behind his approximately $400 in chips three men arrived at the club. The men were not members and in lieu of cards showed the doorman their noise makers. Since their noise makers also spat bullets they were granted immediate entrance. Recognizing Levine from behind, the men walked up, counted down from ten and brought 1932  in early by firing three bullets into the back of Levine's head.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Little shop of horrors

In the fall of 1926 Eugenio Orgento opened a quaint little shop. It wasn’t stated what Orgento's store sold but most customers were interested in what could be found behind the counter as opposed to the shelves.  In the four months that he was in business Eugenio received numerous liquor violations.

Ah, but competition can be fierce in the racket they called alky and, on this date, eighty-seven years ago Eugenio was put out of business for good. The building’s janitor was making his rounds and as he performed his duties in Orgento’s  quaint little shop, there, in the rear, he found Eugenio's body in pool of blood as the proprietor had been stabbed to death.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dishonest Abe

It must have been a tough holiday season for Waxey Gordon’s family back in 1933. The month started off with Waxey being sentenced to ten years in prison and ended with the murder of his twenty-two year old nephew Abraham Volk, whom police called “A small time racketeer and a cheap petty-larceny thief.”

Waxey put Abe to work washing barrels in one of his New Jersey breweries. He had been arrested six times since 1926 for vagrancy and theft but always managed, probably because of his Uncle’s pull, to receive a suspended sentence or have the charge reduced. Since the fall of his Uncle’s empire he tried to cash in on his relations by organizing “social” clubs in the Bronx and shaking down businesses for protection money.

As the clock struck midnight ushering in Christmas Eve 1933 Volk entered a Bronx candy shop and spoke with the proprietor for a bit telling him he that he had an appointment to keep. Volk left and moments later the proprietor saw him crouched over running back towards the store. Five shots rang out and Volk dropped.
Waxey’s nephew was rushed to the hospital where, even though only a small timer, he kept true to the gangster code and died without telling the cops anything.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rest in Peace? I think not.

It would appear that graveyards were dangerous places back in the days when girls were girls, men were men and the old La Salle ran great.
First we have a well dressed man pushing another well dressed man into a grave. Seeing that the man is bound and gagged we will assume that he was buried alive and died a horrible death.
This one isn't so easy to figure out. Apparently Leslie Nielsen rose from the grave only to be machine gunned; Frank Drebin: Dead And Not Loving it. How and why he got there we don't know. Perhaps the Shadow does, or at least the Phantom Detective who seems to watch bad things happen to men in cemeteries without helping. The good old days weren't all good my friends.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Mr. Diamond, clean out your desk

Twas eighty-two years ago this morning that Gangland Inc. gave Legs Diamond his walking papers. One of the more colorful characters of the Prohibition Era his fellow colleagues decided that they had had enough of his shenanigans and it was time for him to go. Actually, they tried to dismiss him numerous times but he had good contacts in HR so managed to hang on to his position longer than the powers that be intended.

If you want to know the full story, and you do, click on the book to the left. You can get an old fashioned hand held paper model, or one of them new fangled electronic doohickeys. You can also read an interview I did over at Nobody Move! as well as an article Here.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

One door's open slay

T'was just about 6:00a.m. on this date back in 1927 when Richard Lubey crossed the threshold into his apartment after a long night of managing his speakeasy. At the ripe old age of six and twenty years Lubey had many a crime attributed to him, crimes like gun possession, robbery and counterfeiting.

Anywho-ville, his wife who slumbered in the next room, heard him enter and begin to disrobe. First his coat and then his vest. But before anymore articles of clothing could be removed there was a rapping, some might say a gentle tapping, a tapping at the apartment door. "Tis some gangster," Lubey muttered, "tapping at my apartment door. Only this and nothing more."

Mrs. Lubey heard him answer the door but paid no attention to the conversation he had with the early morning visitor. Ah, but she would from here on remember what happened next in that bleak December, when from the underworld came forth a member who came to settle a bootlegging score. A bullet lodged above her bed which first passed through her husband's head, her husband who now lay dead, dead upon the foyer floor.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

He talked the talk but died on the sidewalk.

If there is one thing we here at DGIS keep harping on it's; don't mess with the police. Especially if you're in the early Twentieth Century. 24 year old James Stevens, a member of Brooklyn's Sanford Street gang did not heed this advise.

It started two weeks previously when off duty police officer Francis Walsh was on his way home from a friends house. Hearing a gunshot he ran to the scene and arrested a young man named James Rubianto. Rubianto's friend, the aforementioned James Stevens, was on hand and verbally taunted Walsh. Walsh told Stevens to butt out. Stevens then threatened to "plug" the officer.

Two weeks later, this date in 1913, Walsh stepped out of his building an started on his way to work. A guy approached him and told him that Stevens was in a doorway a couple of blocks away and further more, the punk declared that he was going to get Walsh that night.

Walsh decided to settle things that morning. He went to the building where Stevens was but was met at the door by Rubianto. The latter tried to bar his entrance so the officer arrested him. As they were exiting the building Stevens fired two shots from inside.

Rubianto made a break for it and Walsh gave chase. Meanwhile Stevens ran from the building. Another cop, responding to the shots, turned the corner and saw Stevens taking aim at Walsh and yelled to his brother officer. Walsh spun around, gun in hand, and plugged Stevens in the abdomen. Steven's ran a half dozen steps and dropped dead.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Somebody's getting coal for Christmas

Twas eighty-seven years and one day ago this morning at 3:00am when a patrolman was walking his beat in Harlem and a large touring car sped past him. He immediately blew his whistle and the car came to a stop. As the officer approached the auto the door opened and what looked like a bundle of laundry was tossed out. As the cop ran up the car sped off. What looked like a bundle of laundry turned out to be thirty-four year old Dominick Alvero. in addition to two other bullet holes elsewhere he had been shot four times in the head.

After the dumping of Alvero, the gangsters went to an all night diner where they explained to the driver that one of the perks of being a gangster is that you don't have to stop the car just because a cop blows his whistle. Especially when you have a dead guy in the back seat.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Unlucky Luciano

Eighty-three years ago last night, Nick Luciano, called “Cheeks” because of a long scar on the right side of his face, was invited to a small dinner party at a “grimy” lower Eastside restaurant. After nearly a year of seclusion in Bayonne, NJ Luciano gladly accepted the invitation. The party, consisting of four other men and three women, was going well and all seemed to be having a good time when at 4:00am the next morning an undetermined number of men entered the restaurant and made their way to the back room where Luciano and his cohorts were having their fun. The men approached the party and pulled out pistols. Knowing Luciano’s history, the men and women who were a moment before partying with him all quickly vacated the premises and left “Cheeks” to his fate. Once they had him isolated the gunmen opened up and perforated Nick with twenty bullets.

Why was Cheeks in seclusion? What was his history and why did someone want him dead? All the answers can be found in the book Bad Seeds in the Big Apple

Thursday, December 5, 2013

pulpy goodness

Long time DGIS readers know our fondness for some good old fashioned pulp art. Here's a dandy. There are countless mag covers with hand gun wielding gangsters and dames. Some are toting Thompsons others daggers but I don't recall ever seeing a body being dumped over board.  This cover is definitely up for the prestigious;

DGIS Corpse Being Dumped Overboard on the Cover of an Old Detective Magazine Award.

As an aside, you'll notice both killer and victim are wearing suits and are well kempt. Nowadays your lucky if a guy has his pants pulled all the way up.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Ending an era with a bang

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,

Monday, December 2, 2013

We know who but why?

Peter Gioe is one of those mystery victims. Other than he was an importer there is nothing else known about him. Somebody however, wanted him out of the way and succeeded in this quest back on this date in 1925. It appears that Peter was set up by somebody he knew because as he pulled up in front of a building and was getting out of his car, two men emerged from a doorway and shot him in the head killing him.