Posts Tagged ‘Depression era New York’

A Depression-era gang on Bedford Street

February 20, 2012

Another wonderful etching from Martin Lewis, this one titled “Bedford Street Gang” and dating to 1935.

The theater wall says “44th Street,” but this corner looks an awful lot like the intersection where Bedford Street ends at Christopher Street. The Lucille Lorton Theater is there today.

“Petty city thug” Francis “Two Gun” Crowley

April 28, 2010

Francis Crowley, nicknamed “Two Gun” because of the number of weapons he carried, had been in trouble with the law as a poor foster kid in Queens.

But he really amped up his bad-boy rep in February 1931, when he was 19, by shooting a couple of guys at a dance in the Bronx, then shooting a detective who tried to arrest him days later.

Over the next few months, Two Gun robbed a bank, burglarized the West 90th Street home of a wealthy real estate broker, and killed a dance-hall hostess.

His final crime: murdering a Long Island police officer. Days later, while hiding out with an accomplice in an Upper West Side apartment, hundreds of cops descended on the block, hell-bent on capturing Crowley.

After a two-hour gun and tear-gas battle at West End Avenue and 90th Street (above) witnessed by 15,000 New Yorkers, the police got their man. Crowley was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

His anti-police antics made him a popular national figure. But newspapers reported that he was a stupid street punk, “undersized, underchinned, underwitted” as a 1932 New York Times article states.

Only 20 when he was strapped into the chair at Sing Sing, his last words were reportedly, “You sons of bitches. Give my love to mother.”