Friday, July 29, 2011

666 Cough Syrup

666 Cough
I was curious about the sign showing 666 Cough Syrup in this Batavia/New Chambers Street photo
shorpy had a picture with 666, here are some comments
Roberts Remedies No. 666
I stumbled upon your website while researching a bottle that I found recently. It is an old bottle with a cork stopper and the label (mostly intact) for Roberts Remedies No. 666 from the Monticello Drug Co. It sold for 50 cents. I found the "General Directions" interesting:
One teaspoonful in water every three hours until it acts well, then three times a day. As cure for Malaria, One Tablespoonful in water every three hours for three days, then three times a day for eight weeks. CHILDREN IN PROPORTION TO AGE.
You may scoff at the name, but 666 cough syrup is still hugely popular in the black community. A lot of white people have no idea what it is. The first time someone asked for it at the drug store I work for, I had no clue
Uh, it was actually, uh, probably around the early 1900s, and, uh, one of the founders of the company, apparently they used to write a number of prescriptions at that time, for quinine in Florida for malaria and things, and it was a prescription number, that's all.

An Early Jewish Family With Roots In The Fourth Ward

from an excellent site on early nyc history

1865 Sanitary Conditions On Vandewater Street And Old Merchants Of The Swamp

from a great site on the 4th ward by peter baldwin
Serious health problems and overcrowding in the Vandewater and Cliff street area.
the stars indicate where there was typhus and smallpox.
from old and old
Poor Charles Leupp, who died suddenly not long ago, belonged to the hide and leather merchants, whose sphere of action is called "The Swamp." Alluding upon one occasion to the great men from that locality—such as Jacob Lorillard, Abraham Bloodgood, Israel Corse, David Bryson, Gideon Lee, Peter McCartee, William Kumbel, Abraham Polhemus, Richard Cunningham, Hugh McCormick, Shepherd Knapp, Thomas Everett, Jonathan Thorne, the Brookses, James, George and Thomas, Peter Bonnett, Henry Orttery, Daniel Tooker, and other lights—the lamented Charles (who was also a great leather merchant, and had been at one time a partner and son-in-law, of Gideon Lee and Shepherd Knapp) said:
"The Roman mother, Cornelia, when asked to display her jewels, pointed to her sons. So can we, to these (leather and hide) fathers, and claim them as ours. Let us cherish their example, and emulate their noble qualities, so that hereafter our successors may, in like manner, be not ashamed of any of us, but exclaim :
"He, too, was a Swamper !"
That Swamp is a wonderful place. I can remember it well, when it was all a lot of tan vats. I have seen some of those great names above alluded to. They were great in their day and generation. But long before their time tanneries existed in the "Swamp."
A couple of hundred years ago, when people talked Dutch in the small town, they called that part of the town "Greppel Bosch," which means in English a "swamp or marsh covered with wood." The trees were cut down long ago, but the name "Swamp" is retained to this day.
The land adjoining the Swamp, extending to Pearl and Rose, including what is now called Vandewater Street, belonged in 1683 to Balthazar Bayard. A part of it afterwards in 1783—a hundred years later—was sold to the widow of Hendrick Vandewater, after whom that street was named.
I cannot tell how early the tan-yards were commenced there, but in 1744, Van Hook, Anthony & Stevens, and Becine & Rips, all had tan-yards in the "Swamp."
Jacob Street and Skinner Street existed at the time, and the other boundaries of the "Swamp" were Gold, Frankfort, Ferry, and Queen (Pearl). Frankfort only came to Skinner Street (one part changed to Cliff and the other part to Hague Street). Flack Street ran from Skinner to Queen (now Pearl). Flack is now changed to Frankfort Street.
Jacob Street was named after Gov. Jacob Leisler, whose farm or estate adjoined the "Swamp," and extended as far as Chatham Street, half way from Frankfort to Pearl, on that line. It was confiscated in 1691, upon conviction of his attainder, and afterwards re-stored to him by the act of parliament, reversing his attainder. Poor Jacob was hung and buried in his own garden. The grave was about fifty feet from Chatham, near the spot where French's Hotel now stands. No houses stood nearer than Beekman Street to the spot as late as 1732. About that time his body was dug up and removed to the Dutch Reformed church burying ground in Garden (Exchange Street), where Dr. Mathews, who still lives, preached so many years (1863).
These streets were all in the "Montgomerie Ward" in 1744.
Within the recollection of many of our readers, the space bounded by Jacob, Gold, Ferry and Frankfort streets was nothing but tan-yards or vats. There were no houses. The houses on the opposite sides to the vat square were small buildings. There was not a three-story house in that vicinity. How changed now!
Among other great men of the Swamp, was Jacob Lorillard, tanner, currier and hide dealer. He died about twenty-two years ago, a man about sixty-eight or seventy years old. He had brothers who were in the tobacco business in Chatham Street, and their sons are still so. I believe there were three brothers in the tobacco business—George, Peter, and another whose name I forget. I have a faint recollection that Peter was wounded in Chatham Street, near the Hall of Records. The old debtor's jail stood there, and one night the prisoners tried to make their escape. Peter Lorillard came over from the tobacco store to assist in securing them, and was shot.

The 1853 Riot On Vandewater Street And More On Vandewater History

from freepages genealogy
Hendrick and his wife Grietje Vermeulen were listed as members of the Bergen, NJ Dutch Church on 20 May 1667, but if they lived there at all it was probably only briefly, as all the children save one were baptized in the New York Dutch Church and Hendrick was described in the court records of New York as a Skipper as of March 1674 (RNA 7:70). In 1686 Margareta was listed as the widow of Hendrick (SelLM 13) living in Smith's Valley, which was along the East River north of Wall Street. In 1695 the Widow Vandewater was taxed on a house in the East ward, New York City, assessed at 30; with her son John, assessed ar 3, and her son - in - law John Pauleson, Assed at 5 (NYHS Coll. 1910:69,110,140).
Their property in Manhattan was located where Vandewater Street now runs beneath the Brooklyn Bridge approaches. In her will dated 9 April , 1724 and probated 5 March 1725 (WNYHS 2:310 ), Margaret listed the children designated with an asterisk below, in addition to Hendrick, Cornelius, and Petronella, Children of her deceased son Albert, and her deceased daughter Elizabeth, late wife of Johannes Poinselles (pauleson); the ececutors named were her surviving sons, her daughter Aryantje Bennet, and her son -in law- Teunis Tiebout.
Source: NYGBR 1967, Vol. 98, p. 27
The story states that James received land in Chesepeake Bay prior to the Rev. War. This has not been confirmed and needs to be checked.
The Family states that James served for the revolutionists under Geo. Washington. According to Ledley he served "in Col. Jacobus Swartwouts Rgt. of Minute Men, also in 2nd & 6th Rgts. of Dutchess Co. Mil. (Hasbrouck, op. cit)". This basically confirms the statement. However, Jacobus is not in the DAR/SAR patriot Index, which only means that no researcher has a yet confirmed his patriot status.

More On Vandewater Street And Its Name Origins

Vandewater Street ran from Frankfort to Pearl Streets one block east of Rose Street. It was closed about 1970 for Murry Bergtraum High School and the adjoining Verizon building.
Jacobus Vandewater and Rachel Van Kleek are most likely the pioneer settler family that moved from Poughkeepsie to Hay Bay around 1795 as referred to in the Pioneer Life on the Bay of Quinte.
"The many descendants of the Vandewater family to be found in Prince Edward County, Hastings and Lennox counties are of Dutch descent. The family came from Holland and settled in New York when that place first became a British possession. They removed to Boston, where they carried on a large printing business, some of the members being known as the "King's Printers." They must have been persons of considerable standing, for Vandewater street in New York City was named after the family; and for services rendered to the British Government, James Vandewater, who was afterwards the Canadian pioneer, received a grant of land on Chesepeake Bay, in the State of Maryland, to which State he removed prior to the War of Independence. When the colonies pronounced their allegiance to the crown, James threw in his lot with the revolutionists and served under George Washington. He sent his family to Poughkeepsie as he found his home unsafe for them owing to the proximity of the coast and of the indians, who were in sympathy with the British. As he did not return to Maryland until peace was declared, it is to be assumed that he remained with the army till the conclusion of war. But on his return home he found his land taken up by squatters, whom he was unable to dispossess owing to the unsettled state of the country and the law. It is narrated how that, in a fit of anger at finding his property in such a plight, he burned his deeds to the land and left the country, because he thought there was no justice to be obtained in it.
James Vandewater made his way from Poughkeepsie to Oswego, thence to Hay Bay, where he settled about 1795. He died in 1833 (sic - probably 1823); the homestead at this place being still in the possession of one of his descendants. His sons, John and Peter, made their way up the Bay as far as Sidney, where John bought lot 30, 2nd concession, and Peter, lots 29 and 30 in the 6th concession of Sidney."
Source: Pioneer Life on the Bay of Quinte (PLBQ), 1904, pp. 841/2.

Why There Was A Vandewater Club At PS 114

Because that was its name!
Along with its proximity to the now gone Vandewater Street, it was probably named after this early mayor.
Jacobus Benjamin Van de Water was born in 1643 to parents Benjamin Jacobus Van de Water, and Eisjbet de Maersman. Jacobus’ Dutch parents from Rotterdam immigrated to America in 1651. They settled in New Amsterdam, now known as New York City. Jacobus soon followed, immigrating in 1658. Once settled Jacobus married Engeltje Jeuriansz and had seven children (Lysbeth, 1667; Benjamin, 1669; Cornelius, 1673; Jacobus, 1676; Johanna, 1678; Jeuriaen, 1684; Neeltje, 1687). Jacobus established his family’s name in New Amsterdam in 1674 when he was elected as one New York City’s first mayors. Jacobus also served as the Clerk of the King's Court from March 28, 1700 until June 11, 1702. Jacobus died on November 16, 1710.

Batavia Street 1938

Doll Rescue Batavia

Thursday, July 28, 2011

76 Catherine Street: Site Of The New Catherine Theater, prt 2

76 Catherine Street: Site Of The New Catherine Theater

Catherine Movie Fire
Seeing the mention of a movie theater on the 1921 map lead me to seek info on a theater at 76 Catherine.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

PS 114, 1927

I wonder what that Vandewater Club was all about?

Fourth Ward, Before The Smith Projects: 1921

Clicking to enlarge will make the bath house/gym visible on Cherry and Oliver Street.
Also visible in the middle is PS 114, which would later become Metropolitan Vocational High School. There's also a moving picture studio on 76 Catherine Street, a Salvation Army at 94 Cherry Street and a Horton's Ice Cream place on 28 Oak Street.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Glimpse Of "The Gym" On Cherry Street In A 1951 Aerial View

As mentioned by Larry Sweetster in the previous post.

Batavia Street And "The Gym"

from Larry Sweetster
Hello David
I have read the recent article of Batavia St. The first photo is Batavia St. looking towards the school (The wards map will confirm this) Actually my brother pointed this out to me.
The second photo is a 1945 photo of what we knew as "The Gym".. where we go as kids to play checkers and other board games.. on the 2nd floor the older kids played basketball. Also you might remember from that  1951 aerial photograph of Smith houses if you looked closely just to the right of 10 Catherine slip you will see a piece of gym.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Batavia Street And It's Nearby Six Triangles

Block Six Triangles 4th Ward Batavia

More On Batavia Street And The Batavia Street Gang

From the bowery boys
Another local gang of the Lower East Side, the Shirt Tails of Corlear's Hook, most likely fought with the Cherry Hill gang, the Batavia Street gang, or maybe even both
We're finally stepping away from the grime of the late 19th century, but not before giving a little shout-out to possibly one of my favorite gangs of the era, the Cherry Hill Gang.
Not much is known about them -- street gangs don't traditionally leave exhaustive archives about themselves -- but current descriptions usually use one word to describe them : dandies.
Cherry Hill was the decrepit neighborhood near the waterfront in the Fourth Ward, lined with tenements as awful (and sometimes worse) as the ones in Five Points. Its resident mix of Jewish and Italian suffered the same conditions as those in other poor neighborhoods, and hard times dealt its share of saloons, prostitution, crime and ruffians.
An early variation of the gangs of Cherry Hill included young William 'Boss' Tweed as their leader. According to an early bio on Tweed, the Cherry Hills rivals were the boys on Henry Street, just three blocks away. According to author Denis Tilden Lynch, it was important to stay clean on your turf and spar on somebody elses:
"A gang, to survive, must be peaceful in its own neighborhood. Its petty offenses are invariably directed against peaceful citizens of distant streets. Piracy would never have been an honored profession if the black flag flew only in home waters."
By the 1890s, the "roughs" of Cherry Hill had literally re-tailored themselves. To rob the rich, one must be able to mingle with them convincingly. So the Cherry Hill gang was known for their impeccable dress sense, their stolen funds apparently used to acquire elegant, dressy outfits of the day. Topping these foppish costumes were walking sticks tipped in metal to better thwack an unsuspecting victim.
The Bowery Boys of the 1850s and 1860s were also known as sharp dressers; however their dress sense reflected their well established reputation and political power. The Cherry Hills meanwhile dressed for success merely to infiltrate rich neighborhoods and rob unsuspecting gentlemen. And apparently to intimidate local rivals.
The primary rival of the Cherry Hill gang was the local Batavia Street gang. Batavia Street was a former street in the same area, "in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge" and apparently in one account was "the most [Charles] Dickensy street in New York." (It's also referred to in some accounts as Batavia Lane, but the Batavia Lane Gang doesn't sound very menacing, does it?)
Like some Gilded Age variation of West Side Story, the Cherry Hill gang and the Batavia Street gang were set to meet on the dance floor of New Irving Hall (once located on 214 Broome Street). Lower East Side balls in the late 19th century were modeled after their upper class variations, but were far rowdier and certainly more fun.
The Cherry Hill gang were set to dazzle in their finest ensembles, certainly intending to steal the show (if not steal more material things in the process). The Batavias would not be outdone but were desperately broke. After the pawning of a stolen gold watch from Herman Segal's jewelry shop failed to produce enough cash for fancy new threads, the jealous gang returned to the jewelry store and simply smashed the window in, running off with 44 gold rings "worth from $3 to $45 dollars apiece.
The Batavias were eventually captured -- while trying on their newly bought suits, no less, on Division Street -- and thrown in the Tombs. Apparently the Cherry Hill gang attended the ball as planned. They would eventually go on to influence the dress sense of other street gangs. New York has changed so drastically in the 110 years since the New Batavia ball, but it's nice to see that the superficial love of fashion has never been altered.
You can read more about the Batavia's foiled robbery in the The American Metropolis. The Tweed bio referenced above is called "Boss Tweed: The Story of a Grim Generation."

Batavia Street And The Batavia Street Gang

Joseph Giuga, perhaps an ancestor of Linda, living at 19 Batavia in 1910 probably had to watch out for these guys
Batavia Street Gang was a New York independent street gang based in the Fourth Ward during the 1890s. Affiliated with the Eastman Gang during the turn of the century, they were rivals of the Cherry Hill Gang throughout the previous decade. During one incident, five members of the gang were arrested for breaking into Seigel's jewelry store in order to purchase costumes for the Sullivan ball at New Irving Hall in an attempt to out do their rivals, who were known to be "dandies", had announced they would be attending in extravagant evening clothes.
Stealing a gold watch from Seigel's jewelry store, Duck Reardon and Mike Walsh organized a raffle with the Sullivan Association at Coyne's saloon and, arranging it so that fellow gang member James Leary would win the watch. However, as neither the income from the raffle, nor the watch failed to raise enough money to purchase suits for the other gang members, their leader Duck Reardon, and several others, smashed in the front window of a local jewelry store and stole 44 gold rings ranging from $3-$45 in value.
After reporting the robbery to police, detectives from the Oak Street Police Station arrested several members of the Sullivan Association including Reardon, Arthur Hassett, George and Jerry Leary and Chuck Conners (not related to the ward boss of the Bowery and Chinatown), as well as tug boat hand Mike Walsh, who had purchased one of the stolen rings from Reardon (reportedly while they were trying on suits at a local Division Street tailor shop).
Held at the Center Street Police Court, the five were tried before a Magistrate Cornell who ordered Reardon, Hassett, Connors and Walsh to pay $1,000 while George Leary was charged $300 for stealing the gold watch. However, no charges were brought against Jerry Leary and he was later released.

Harry Golden On Firing Line

from May 23, 1966
Harry is previously mentioned here
Harry Lewis Golden (May 6, 1902–October 2, 1981) was an American Jewish writer and newspaper publisher. He was born Herschel Goldhirsch in the shtetl Mikulintsy, Ukraine, then part of Austria-Hungary. His mother was Romanian and his father Austrian.
In 1904 his father, Leib Goldhirsch, emigrated to Winnipeg, Manitoba, only to move the family to New York City the next year. Harry became a stockbroker but lost his job in the 1929 crash. Convicted of mail fraud, Golden served five years in a Federal prison at Atlanta, Georgia. In 1941, he moved to Charlotte, where, as a reporter for the Charlotte Labor Journal and The Charlotte Observer, he wrote about and spoke out against racial segregation and the Jim Crow laws of the time.
From 1942 to 1968, Golden published The Carolina Israelite as a forum, not just for his political views (including his satirical "The Vertical Negro Plan", which involved removing the chairs from any to-be-integrated building, since Southern Whites didn't mind standing with Blacks, only sitting with them), but also observations and reminisces of his boyhood in New York's Lower East Side. He traveled broadly: in 1960 to speak to Jews in West Germany and again to cover the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann in Israel for Life. In 1974, he received a presidential pardon from Richard Nixon. Calvin Trillin devised the Harry Golden Rule, which states that, according to Trillin, "in present-day America it's very difficult, when commenting on events of the day, to invent something so bizarre that it might not actually come to pass while your piece is still on the presses."
His books include three collections of essays from the Israelite and a biography of his friend, poet Carl Sandburg. One of those collections, Only in America, was the basis for a play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. He also maintained a correspondence with Billy Graham.
Harry attended PS 20 on Rivington and Eldridge.
In 1916, he was living here
Leib Goldhirsch (his father)
Address: 216 E. Houston St.

63 Years Ago: Fistic Fiesta At PS 160 On Suffolk Street

This was just up the block from me (at 76 Suffolk Street) at that time. I tried searching for traces of any of the people mentioned. Linda Giuga is listed in Seward Park HS alumni sites. She graduated in 1958. There was a possible Giuga ancestor living at Batavia Street, in the Fourth Ward in 1910. 171 Eldridge Street, an address no longer with a tenement, is mentioned. That building was an address of Harry Golden.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

KV As Seen On White Collar Episode

A h/t to the Schume/aka "The Cutter" for making me aware of this episode which originally aired on 6/28/11. It was entitled, The Dentist of Detroit.
When a mobster from Mozzie's Detroit childhood surfaces in Manhattan, Neal and Peter must help their friend rework a scam from his past to take down the ruthless gangster and prevent a mob war.
A sinister part of Mozzie's past rears its head when Edward De Luca, a major player in the Detroit mob, comes to town in search of a legendary criminal known as the Dentist of Detroit. Little does anyone know that this mythical crook is none other than Mozzie himself!
Of course, when Peter gets wind of this he immediately puts Mozzie into protective custody and, despite the little guy's protests, sends Neal to meet with De Luca as the Dentist's 'associate.' It turns out that De Luca wants The Dentist to run a familiar scam on the shady DA who sent his father to rot in prison. And just to make sure he has full cooperation, De Luca has threatened to kill one of The Dentist's known associates - Andrew Jeffries, the headmaster of Mozzie's old Detroit group home!
Seeing a chance to nail De Luca and protect both Jeffries and Mozzie, Neal and Peter decide to run the scam on their own. However, when Mozzie learns that Jeffries has hopped a plane to New York to warn his old ward, he escapes from lockdown to take matters into his own hands...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Joe Bruno's New Book: Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps- NY City-Volume 1

Available from Amazon
From Joe:
The price is 99 cents. Right now, it's available for Amazon Kindle only, but if you don't have a Kindle, you can download a free Kindle reader for your computer right on my book page. That's what I did. I don't own an actual Kindle. In about a month, the book will be available for other ebook readers like the Nook. The Introduction for "Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps- NY City-Volume 1", written by long-time criminal attorney Mathew J. Mari, and the preface written by me, are below:
Introduction: by Mathew J. Mari
I have been a criminal defense lawyer in New York City for 34 years, specializing in organized crime cases. Like Joe Bruno, I was born in New York City's Little Italy. Also, like Joe Bruno, I lived in Knickerbocker Village for more than three decades. Our neighborhood was filled with unforgettable characters, most of whom were criminals, and many of whom were in the Mafia. Joe got to meet and see many famous criminals during his years in Little Italy (in the 6th Ward), and in Knickerbocker Village (in the 4th Ward). It is no surprise to me that Joe was fascinated not only with the mafia characters, but with the entire history of Lower Manhattan, and New York City in general.
Joe Bruno's book, “ Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps-Volume 1- New York City" is a composite of characters and events, that weaves the denizens of New York City's underworld with the rich history of New York City, from the early 1800's, through the early 1900's. Although Italian-American criminals are covered, this is not just another Italian mafia book. The book covers the Jewish gangsters as well (who truly were the pioneers of organized crime) and the Irish gangs, who were one of the first ethnic groups to run the New York City rackets. Joe even presents a few "lady gangsters" too.
Most of all, “ Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps-Volume 1- New York City" is easy to read. The short-chapter format is a stroke of genius. It is interesting, informative, entertaining, and to the point. You won't be bored reading it.
Joe Bruno has hit the mark in presenting Old New York the way it really was. Rough and bloody! 
Having grown up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, I've always been fascinated by my neighborhood's history. I spent the first years of my life living in Brooklyn, but when I was six, my parents moved to 134 White Street, the corner of Baxter, about 50 feet from the city prison called The Tombs: a wretched place which is mentioned frequently in this book.
I spent the years before I went into the military service hanging out in Columbus Park (originally Mulberry Park), which was built in the late 1890s. Before Columbus Park existed, the area, and the streets surrounding it, were the site of the notorious Five Points, which was formed by the intersection of Cross (first Park, now Mosco), Anthony (now Worth), Little Water (no longer exists), Orange (now Baxter), and Mulberry streets.
In 1825, the Five Points is where the first known street gang was formed. It was called the Forty Thieves, named after “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.” The Forty Thieves originated at Rosanna Peers' produce store on Centre Street, just south of Anthony. Rotting vegetables were sold out in front of the store, and there was an illegal speakeasy in the back, where Ms. Peers sold rotgut liquor at discount prices. Soon the store, under the rule of Edward Coleman, became a haven for pickpockets, murderers, burglars, and thieves.
After the Forty Thieves, other gangs sprung up in the Five Points area, like weeds sticking out of a rotted landfill. Gangs with names such as the Bowery Boys, the Dead Rabbits, and the Roach Guards plundered, robbed, and sometimes even murdered. Not only did these gangs accost unsuspecting sailors or people from other areas who just happened to wind up in a Five Points dive but these thugs committed crimes against their neighbors. No one, and nothing, was sacred to the Five Point Gangs. If you had something of value, they wanted it, and took it by force. Their reign of terror ended after the Civil War, mainly because most of the gang members were drafted into the army. Some died miserably on the battle fields of the south, and others came home wounded and maimed, hardly in any condition to resume committing their previous crimes.
Starting in the late 1860's, new gangs, the most prominent of which was called the Whyos, started cropping up again in the Five Points Area. In the late 1880's, the most prestigious gang in the area was the Five Pointers led by Paul Kelly, real name Paulo Vaccarelli. Kelly's chief nemesis was a crude, guerrilla-like individual named Monk Eastman, who ran a mob called the Eastman Gang. Kelly was a former boxer, who changed his name so that he could get more fights (being Italian was not very popular in those days).
One day, Kelly, at the urging of Tammany Hall, challenged the hulking Eastman to a fist fight, to determine who controlled the rackets in the Five Points area. Even though Eastman was 50 pounds heavier than Kelly, the two men fought to a brutal draw. When the fight was over, both bosses returned to their gangs, and continued doing exactly what they were doing before, as if their fight had never taken place.
The New York gangs were not confined to the Five Points Area. To the south of the Five Points, was the Fourth Ward (where I lived for 32 years - in Knickerbocker Village, the same place where the Rosenbergs lived, and were arrested). In the 1840's – 1850's, the notorious Daybreak Boys prowled the streets of the Fourth Ward, and the nearby piers on the East River, killing people with the utmost viciousness and enthusiasm. Approximately one mile to the north of the Five Points, a gang called the Gophers fought with the Hudson Dusters, for control of the West Side docks on the Hudson River, and the area called Hell's Kitchen, which runs north from 23rd St. to 57th St, and west from Eighth Avenue to 12th Ave.
Not all crimes were committed by gangs, but also by individual gangsters, some of whom formed organized crime syndicates. Men like Lucky Luciano, Joe “The Boss” Masseria, and Salvatore Maranzano, fought for control of the Italian mobs. They were joined by such notorious Jewish gangsters like Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, and Louis “Lepke” Buchalter. Then there were the brutal Morello brothers, who along with Ciro Terranova, and Ignazio “Lupo the Wolf” Saietta, formed the vicious Black Hand, which robbed, tortured, and killed other Italian immigrants, who did not pay the extortion money the Black Handers had demanded.
New York City was dominated by male gangsters, but there were a also few females who were just as vicious as the men. Take Gallus Mag for instance. This hulking 6-foot British woman was a bouncer in the notorious Hole-In-the-Wall Tavern, which was located on Dover Street, near the docks of the East River, in the Fourth Ward. Mag patrolled the inside of the bar with a pistol in her belt, and a small bat attached to her wrist. She dispatched unruly patrons, by dragging them to the door, then throwing them out by the scruff of their necks. If a rowdy drunk resisted, Mag bit off their ear, and put it in a jar filled with alcohol, which she kept behind the bar. Patrons called this display “Gallus Mag's Trophy Case.”
One day, a female thief named Sadie the Goat made the mistake of getting drunk in Mag's establishment. Mag asked Sadie to leave nicely, but Sadie refused. Miffed, Mag dragged Sadie to the front door, and when Sadie resisted being flung outside, Mag bit off her ear, and threw Sadie onto the pavement. Mag immediately placed Sadie's ear in a jar behind the bar, to join her other trophies.
Years later Sadie returned, and apologized to Mag. Her heart suddenly warmed, Mag went behind the bar, retrieved Sadie's ear, and returned the ear to its rightful owner. Rumor has it that Sadie wore her severed ear in a locket around the neck, for the rest of her life.
In “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps – Volume 1 – New York City,” I also describe several riots, and natural disasters, that occurred in New York City. In 1835, The Great New York City Fire decimated the entire financial center, in downtown Manhattan. It remains the worst fire in New York City's history. When the three-day conflagration ended, 17 blocks and 693 buildings were entirely destroyed. Amazingly, only two people died, but the damage was estimated at $20 million, almost $1 billion in today's money. A year later, the area was rebuilt with stone buildings, much more resistant to fires. Some of these buildings exist to this day.
There were also The Anti-Abolition Riots of 1834, The Grain Riots of 1837, The Astor Theater Riots of 1848, and The Police Riots of 1857. Yet the worst of all, was The Civil War Draft Riots of 1863.
To fight the war down south, President Abraham Lincoln had called for the drafting of all able-bodied men between the ages of 20 to 40. But if a man had $300, he could buy his way out of the draft. Of course, only the rich could afford the $300, so it was the lower class Irish people who were the ones being drafted into the war, against their wills. This did not sit too well with them, and they decided to do something.
On Monday, July 13, 1863, the second day of the draft, which had started Saturday, tens of thousands of the irate poor Irish congregated in the Fourth Ward slums of the Lower East Side. They marched uptown, gathering fellow rioters along the way, including thousands of Five Point gang members. The mob's initial purpose was to storm several draft headquarters in uptown Manhattan, to destroy those buildings, and all the draft records.
Then things got out of hand.
The ever-increasing mob burnt down the draft buildings, while beating up scores of police officers in the process, including the Police Superintendent of New York City, John A. Kennedy. Then the mob, which grew to be anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 people, turned their anger on every Negro in sight. The reason for their despicable actions, was that the Irish blamed the Negroes for the Civil War, and for their present predicament in particular. Some Negroes were beaten to death. Others were hung from trees and lampposts, then tortured by female rioters, using knives to carve up their victim's bodies. While singing bloodcurdling songs, these screaming banshees mutilated the Negroes, until they finally succumbed to their wounds.
After four days of rioting, Mayor George Updyke wired the War Department in Washington for help. The Federal Government sent in 10,000 armed and trained members of the United States Militia to quell the riots. And that they did, using guns, bats, and bayonets, to beat the angry mob back to the slums of the Five Points, and the Fourth Ward.
There is no way to correctly estimate the number of people who were killed during the Civil War Riots of 1863. Under the blanket of darkness, the dead bodies of many rioters were shipped across the East River, and quietly buried in Brooklyn. Police Superintendent Kennedy put the dead at 1,155 people, but that did not include those rioters buried secretly at night.
“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps - Volume 1 - New York City” starts in the period around 1825, and ends at approximately 1940. It is my plan that “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps - Volume 2 - New York City,” will pick up at that point, and continue until the present time. Yet, there may be some miscreants that I didn't write about in the time period covered in “Volume 1,” that may find their way into “Volume 2.” Due to the abundance of New York City criminals, there is a distinct possibility I may write “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps - Volume 3 - New York City.”
The reason being, the more research I do on New York City criminality, the more felons I find.
After finishing “Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps - Volumes 1 and 2 – New York City” (and possibly “Volume 3 – New York City”), I will write several more volumes, which will cover mobsters, gangs, crooks and other creeps in disparate parts of the United States of America.
Of course, New York City, having the most concentrated population in the country, has more than its share of ne'er-do-wells. Yet, areas of upstate New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Massachusetts, have their share of lowlifes too. Cradles of criminality also exist in Midwestern cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, and Kansas City. And don't forget, Texas, and California are teeming with hooligans too.
“Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks, and Other Creeps - Volume 1 - New York City” is written in alphabetical order, starting with “Ah Hoon - The Murder of Chinese Comedian Ah Hoon,” and ending with Max Zwerbach (Kid Twist).
I hope you enjoy mingling with some of the worst human beings God has ever created.
I know I enjoyed writing about them.
Joseph Bruno
Author of:
"Mobsters, Gangs, Crooks and Other Creeps-New York City-Volume 1" - 2011
"Find Big Fat Fanny Fast" - 2010
"Angel of Death" - 2000

Some Veteran KVers We Met At The 5th Annual Reunion

Pfister And Vogel Leather Company

Their building can be viewed in the 1918 photo of the area

Those Fabulous Harper Brothers: 1893

Images Of Cliff Street In Ward 2

Cliff Street
from the mcny collection

More About Harper & Brothers On Pearl Street

Harper Brothers in 1855, A Treasure Trove of Images
From exilebibliophile

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Charles A. Schieren Company and Harper & Brothers 1891 Map

The Harper Brothers factory can also be viewed on Pearl Street.
About Harper & Brothers:
James Harper and his brother John, printers by training, started their book publishing business J. & J. Harper in 1817. Their two brothers, Joseph Wesley Harper and Fletcher Harper, joined them in the mid 1820s. The company changed its name to "Harper & Brothers" in 1833. The headquarters of the publishing house were located at 331 Pearl Street, facing Franklin Square in Lower Manhattan (about where the Manhattan approach to the Brooklyn Bridge lies today).
Harper & Brothers began publishing Harper's New Monthly Magazine in 1850. The brothers also published Harper's Weekly (starting in 1857), Harper's Bazar (starting in 1867), and Harper's Young People (starting in 1879).
George B. M. Harvey became president of Harper's on Nov. 16, 1899.
Harper's New Monthly Magazine ultimately became Harper's Magazine, which is now published by the Harper's Magazine Foundation. Harper's Weekly was absorbed by The Independent (New York; later Boston) in 1916, which in turn merged with The Outlook in 1928. Harper's Bazar was sold to William Randolph Hearst in 1913 and is now Bazaar, published by the Hearst Corporation.
In 1962 Harper & Brothers merged with Row, Peterson & Company to become Harper & Row. Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation acquired Harper & Row in 1987, and William Collins & Sons in 1990. The names of these two national publishing houses (Harper & Row in the United States and Collins in Britain) survive in the newly formed HarperCollins, which has since expanded its international reach with further acquisitions of formerly independent publishers. The Harper imprint began being used in place of HarperCollins in 2007.

The Charles A. Schieren Company: Cliff and Ferry Streets, Part 2

cont'd from part 1
Fig 2 shows one of the larger presses which has a table 8 feet wide and is designed for the largest belts used in textile mills or in dynamo driving To insure a neat joint and a straight belt great care is taken to bring the sides of the strips of belt to be glued in a straight line and when this is done and the scarfs are bought to the correct position a steel straightedge is placed on top of the lower belt and Fig 4 The Finishing Machine against the end of the upper belt which latter is then removed and the scarfed end of the lower belt is scraped off slightly up to the line of the straightedge thus making an accurately formed seat for the bevel of the upper belt This results in a joint with no ragged or projecting edges In cementing a stiff brush is used to rub the cement into the pores of the belt only a small quantity of the adhesive being applied and then the joint is placed under the press for several minutes while hydraulic pressure is applied and the cement allowed to set When a belt 50 or more inches wide Is required parallel strips of leather must be joined together and this is done by butting the pieces longitudinally and allowing the two thicknesses of leather or three thicknesses according to whether it is a double or triple belt to overlap and break joints as in Fig 3 After the required length of belt has been glued up It passes to the finishing machine The belt is here drawn between stationary knives which are set the required distance apart to trim the edges of the belt rounding them slightly and making the belt of a uniform width In its passage coiled is driven by a train of gearing and by this means the belt is drawn through the machine under tension Various kinds of belting are made to suit the requirements of customers A belt with cemented lap joints is considered to be as strong at the joints as at any other point but some customers prefer to have the joints riveted also Certain brands of the highest grade double and triple belts are stitched lengthwise with heavy thread to render them doubly secure against pulling apart The same object is also attained by screw fasteners The screws are originally in the form of a threaded wire wound on a reel mounted on top of the hollow spindle of the machine that inserts the fasteners The wire passes down through the center of the spindle and is gripped by a chuck at the lower end As the spindle rotates the wire screws itself into the belt a predetermined distance at which point it is cut off just beneath the surface of the belt by cutters or Fig 5 Diagram showing Mechanism of Finishing Machine through this machine the belt is stretched and it also travels under a large wheel in the rim of which is a numbering die the circumference of the wheel is 10 feet so that at each revolution a number is stamped on the belt indicating its length in feet The belt is finally coiled or wound on an arbor In Figs 4 and 5 are views of the finishing machine which are self explanatory The arbor on which the belt is Fig 6 General View of Finishing Room nippers controlled by the machine Belts which run in damp or otherwise unfavorable locations must be made water and oil proof Especially is this desirable in the case of belts for dynamos or other rapid running machinery where oil is likely to be thrown off the pulleys onto the belts Link belts are manufactured here round belts braided rope belts and other products of a like character The leather used by Charles A Schieren & Co comes from their own tannery at Bristol Tenn This is in the heart of the oak country since oak tanned leather should be exclusively used for a high grade product like belting The bark is stripped from the trees in the spring when the sap begins to flow up Into the trunk and limbs of the tree and is stored in sheds where it seasons for future use The hides which come from the slaughter houses of the West are washed in water to remove the dirt then placed in vats of weak lime water for several days until the hair has been loosened sufficiently to allow it to be scraped off with a blunt knife The hides are then saturated by a neutralizing solution called bate which removes the lime and then they are ready for tanning The bark is crushed and delivered to leach tubs where moisture is applied by means of rotary brass sprinklers The water filters through this mass carrying down the tannic acid which is collected and used in the tanning vats The process of tanning requires in all a period of 120 days after which the hides are oiled on the grain side then hung up in a darkened loft where they are kept at an even temperature and gain a clear russet color which characterizes leather prepared by this process The leather is finished by shaving and scouring part of this work being done at the tannery and the balance at the New York factory as mentioned above May 1906

The Charles A. Schieren Company: Cliff and Ferry Streets, Part 1

We viewed this building, located on 30 Ferry Street, near Cliff, in the previous post. 100 years ago this area, part of Ward 2, housed many manufacturing businesses. This particular one, evidently made Mr. Schieren quite wealthy
Charles A. Schieren & Co. Building
65-71 Cliff Street
New York City NY United States
Although leather belting is one of the most common factory supplies it is probable that few even of those who operate belt driven machinery every day of their lives are familiar with the different steps of manufacture required to convert the hide into the finished product.
At the plant of Charles A Schieren & Co New York there is an especially favor towns the inhabitants depended to a large extent upon products manufactured within the town limits there were tanneries in the swamp district and although these have long since ceased to exist the leather business is still centered in this section and many of the wholesale leather houses and plants for the manufacture of leather goods are located there.
For the manufacture of high grade leather belting only the butt portions of the hide are suitable and this is the only part used for belts by this company.
The flanks shoulders and necks are sold for shoe leather. The butts are received in the basement where the hides are cleaned and softened by washing in a large rotating tank containing water. They are then submitted to a scouring process during which they are laid one at a time flesh side up on a table where blunt reciprocating scrapers pass over the hide and squeeze out the water and dirt. The hide is then laid over a beam the flesh con side scraped by hand and the pieces of soft leather not suitable for belting are removed These pieces are not wasted however for they are sold and used for making a compressed leather that is employed for a variety of purposes among them the heels of shoes The final step in the preparation of the hide are its treatment with oil on the grain side and tallow on the flesh side to preserve the leather and make it pliable and at last stretching and drying The butts are carried from the basement to the sixth floor where the manufacturing begins They are first put through cutting and scarfing machines a view of which appears in Fig 1 The cutting machines have a rotary knife like a circular saw without teeth but the knife and its spindle are above the cutting table instead of below It The leather is run under the knife the width of the strips being gaged by guides and the strips then go to the scarfing lucting covering Power is furnished by an independent steam and electric plant and the elevator service facilities for shipping the lighting etc are in accord with the most modern ideas for city buildings The location of the building on Ferry street is in the section known as the swamp directly east of Post Office Square In the early days of New York when as in other small machines where the ends are shaved off on a bevel about three inches long for the joints Before gluing the joints however the scarfed ends are finished to a fine edge by hand shaving squared with the sides and matched for length The scarfs are also scraped to remove any irregularities produced by the cutters of the scarfing machines The belts are built up and cemented on tables made especially for this work.

A View Of The East River And The Brooklyn Bridge 1918

from the library of congress collection

5th Reunion Luncheon

Our usual luncheon destination, Forlinis, was booked for the date. We had a great meal at an old time KV favorite, Wo Kee, at 21 Mott Street. btw it scored an "A" in NYC health ratings.

KV Reunion 2011 Slide Show

From June 26, 2011. The 5th reunion was a small, intimate affair. Only 15 ex KVers attended.