Looking Back


Looking Back: December 28, 2012

100, 75 and 50 Years Ago in the ForwardRead More


Looking Back: December 14, 2012

100 Years Ago

1912 Chicago police arrested Samuel Kramer, the famed New York City pickpocket who was arrested months ago with gangsters “Lefty Louie” Rosenberg and “Gyp the Blood” Horowitz but managed to escape, after an anonymous tip informed them that Kramer was holed up in a local brothel. He was in bed when five police detectives burst into the room. Kramer reached for his revolver, but he was too slow: The detectives pounced on him and beat him badly — so badly that he was taken to the hospital before they took him to police headquarters. An opium pipe and a quantity of opium were found on the table next to the bed that Kramer was occupying. The owner of the brothel was also brought in for questioning. Kramer is currently being held until New York City police detectives come and pick him up. When asked why he ran away in the first place, he responded with a curse. Read More


Looking Back: November 30th 2012

1912 Morris Lustig, who in 1910 poisoned his wife in order to collect $3,000 in insurance money, has been freed from Sing Sing prison’s death row. Read More


Looking Back: October 12, 2012

1912 Speaking from the witness stand, Jack Rose dropped a bomb at the Charles Becker trial. Rose, a New York City gambler, said Becker told him that Herman “Beansie” Rosenthal had to be killed. Rose then recounted the story of Rosenthal’s murder in vivid terms. Making matters worse for Becker, a Jewish gambler named Morris Luban was brought to the stand, ostensibly in Becker’s defense. He said that he, Becker and Rose were sitting in a Turkish bathhouse on Lafayette Street a week before the murder, when he heard Becker tell Rose that if his gang didn’t kill Rosenthal, he would have to do it himself. Becker’s lawyers immediately jumped up and started screaming at Luban that he said he would testify on Becker’s behalf. Luban replied that he didn’t know what they were talking about.Read More


Looking Back: October 5, 2012

1912 The infamous gangster Big Jack Zelig, was shot Saturday, October 5, at 8 p.m., on the corner of 14th Street and Second Avenue, as he sat in his car. Zelig, who was scheduled to testify as a major witness in the trial of vice cop Charles Becker, slithered to the floor of the car and died instantly. Immediately, a huge crowd surrounded the car, trapping the shooter, who jumped on the hood and yelled, as people tried to grab him, “Get back or I’ll shoot you, too!” The crowd backed off, and the killer leaped from the car and took off running down 14th Street. He ran right into a policeman who, after a short struggle, arrested the man and brought him into the precinct. There the shooter gave his name as Philip Davidson and claimed that he shot Zelig because he’d robbed him a few weeks ago on the corner of Eldridge and Grand Streets. Most suspect, however, that the murder has to do with the Becker trial.Read More


Looking Back: September 28, 2012

1912 Seven young Jewish girls stood before the magistrate in Essex Market Court, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, on charges of running an illegal gambling ring out of Mrs. Rays’ Hairdressing Parlour, located on Second Avenue between Houston and First Streets. The police raid on the hairdressing parlor caused a huge sensation because it was done at the exact time that both Yiddish theaters, on each side of the parlor, were letting out. As a result, the arresting officers had an audience of at least 3,000 people, and reserves had to be called to the scene. The arrestees made a huge commotion, screaming and howling as they were put into the patrol wagon. Two of the women were further charged with disorderly conduct. Avrom Treibetz, purported to be the ringleader, was also arrested.Read More


Looking Back: September 21, 2012

1912 Louis Budinsky, a resident of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, went straight to the police after having received a letter stating that if he didn’t come up with $100, all his horses would meet an ugly end. Budinsky then received a phone call from the horse poisoners, and he told them that he couldn’t afford $100 dollars. He negotiated the extortion rate to $30. The extortionists told him to meet them at a nearby restaurant with the cash. Budinsky showed up — with three marked $10 bills supplied by the police and two undercover detectives. During the meeting, the extortionists got cold feet and asked Budinsky to come with them to the West Side. As they were heading there, the detectives pounced on and arrested Zev Cohen and Sam Kuper for extortion.Read More


Looking Back: September 14, 2012

1912 Real estate magnate Harris Diamond, recently retired, had become depressed and pessimistic after the death of his wife. His children tried to cheer him up, but without success. Recently he was found dead in his Manhattan apartment, on Lexington Avenue. His death was a suicide. Diamond had closed all the windows and doors, pulled a small bed next to the gas pipe and put his mouth on the pipe. After his children discovered his body, they also found a note he had written to them. It read: “Dear Children, I apologize for this act. I would like to wish all of you a Happy New Year. You will fi nd money in an envelope on the table, and also my bank book and my jewelry. Your loving father.”Read More


Looking Back: September 7, 2012

1912 Everything was set for the forthcoming wedding of Rose Mann and Isadore Schwartz. But then, tragedy struck: Mann was found dead in the Brooklyn apartment she was setting up for the young couple to reside in after their wedding. She had taken her own life by turning on the gas and asphyxiating herself. But a question remained: Why? Apparently, just a few days before her suicide, Mann had received a letter from an unknown woman who claimed to be Schwartz’s former lover. The letter warned her not to marry him. These words had a devastating effect on Mann, and although her family said she didn’t act strangely, she had apparently sunken into a deep depression, deep enough that she thought suicide was the answer.Read More


Looking Back: August 24, 2012

1912 According to New York City District Attorney Charles Whitman, detectives have located Louis “Lefty Louie” Rosenberg, who is one of the suspects wanted for the murder of casino owner Herman “Beansie” Rosenthal. The DA told reporters that he anticipates that “Lefty” will be in police custody by the next week. Reporters have conjectured that Rosenberg will appear of his own volition, while others claim that detectives are tracking him. In the meantime, Whitman said that the first trials related to this case will be that of Charles Becker. He was the New York City Police captain who was indicted after Rosenthal went public with allegations that he extorted money from casino and brothel owners.Read More





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