Friday, March 12, 2010

Izzy Epstein: 117 Ridge Street

Izzy (Isidor/Isadore) Einstein (ca. 1880 or 1883–17 Feb 1938) and Moe Smith (ca. 1887–1961) were American police officers, specifically agents of the US Prohibition Unit, during the first years of the alcohol prohibition era (1920–1925). They were well known for successfully shutting down illegal speakeasies and similar drinking establishments.
Izzy and Moe operated between 1920 and 1925 in New York. They were known for using disguises and made 4,932 arrests, of which 95% ended in convictions (around 4,680). When in 1927 Izzy was "offered" a transfer to Chicago, he quit. In the 1930 US census, his occupation is listed as "broker/insurance"
Isidor Einstein was born in Austria to Austrian parents ca. 1883[2] or 1888[1] and was a native speaker of Yiddish. He emigrated to the United States ca. 1901. He married Esther Einstein (b. ca. 1888, Austria/Galicia; imm. ca. 1891) ca. 1906, and they had at least seven children: two deceased by 1910, Joseph (ca. 1910), Charles (ca. 1912), Edward (ca. 1914), Albert (ca. 1916, not the famous theoretical physicist Albert Einstein), and Milton (ca. 1927). In April 1910, he was a retail merchant in a general store in Conyngham, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. In January 1920, he was a mail sorter in a post office in Manhattan.
Einstein's obituary in the magazine Time: "Died. Isidore ('Izzy') Einstein, 57, most famous Prohibition agent; ten days after amputation of his right leg; in Manhattan. With his partner Moe Smith, Izzy operated so successfully on what he called the "Einstein Theory of Rum Snooping" that as direct result of his raids 4,932 bartenders, bootleggers, speakeasy owners tripped to jail. Izzy liked to "play" streetcar conductor, gravedigger, fisherman, iceman, opera singer. He walked into the Democratic National Convention of 1924 (Manhattan) with a goatee glued to his chin, announcing himself as a delegate from Kentucky, found only soda pop." He is buried at Mount Zion Cemetery, Queens County, New York.

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