Looking Back


Three-Timing Jewish Hubby Faces the Music

By Eddy Portnoy

A century ago, New York cigar maker Charles Weiss got in trouble for having three wives. Nazis were on the march 75 years ago and Jews fled Asian pogroms in 1963.Read More


Looking Back: January 18, 2013

50, 75, 100 Years Ago in the ForwardRead More


Lower East Side Dad Has Daughter Arrested For Dating Local Gangster Boy

By Eddy Portnoy

Herman Weinberg accused his own teenage daughter, Flora, of hanging around with unsavory characters in their lower East Side neighborhood.Read More


Looking Back: January 4, 2012

1912 After hearing screams coming from a hut on the lake in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, a boy ran to a nearby police officer and told him something was wrong. Read More


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


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