Over the years, gang related violence and unexpected killings have become a part of New York’s history. Many of these have been well publicized, even though the killers may never have been brought to justice, and include:
The Murders at The Park Sheraton Hotel
Now known as Park Central Hotel, The Park Sheraton was a hotspot for many known gangsters, with at least two meeting their demise on the hotel’s grounds. In 1928, as he was entering Room 349, Arnold Rothstein was shot in the stomach. The Jewish gangster is reported to have seen his killer clearly, but refused to name him. Rothstein died two days later, leaving behind over $300,000 in gambling debts.
In October 1957, founder of the Gambino Crime Family, Albert Anastasia, was in the hotel’s barbershop getting a shave. The afternoon’s peace was shattered when four men entered and riddled him with bullets. Even though it was rumoured that the hit had been ordered by rival gang member, ‘Crazy Joe’ Gallo, nobody was ever charged with his murder. The hotel barbershop has now been converted to a Starbucks.
The Assassination of Joey ‘Crazy Joe’ Gallo
While celebrating his 43rd birthday on April 7, 1972, at Umberto’s Clam House in Little Italy, Joey Gallo was attacked and shot five times by members of a rival gang. After the shooting, a gunfight between Gallo’s bodyguard and the assassins continued in the streets. Gallo dragged himself outside and collapsed on the sidewalk, later dying in hospital. The shooters escaped in a waiting vehicle and nobody was ever arrested for the crime. Gallo’s assassination became the inspiration for Bob Dylan’s song ‘Joey,’ and the site has become home to another restaurant.
The Kew Gardens Killing
A quiet suburb in Queens, Kew Gardens became the scene of a random criminal act one night in March 1964. As 28 year-old Kitty Genovese was returning home from a busy day, she was stabbed in the back by a stranger. Her screams alerted her neighbours, and scared off the attacker. Shortly after, however, he returned to finish the gruesome murder.
A New York Times article, published a couple weeks after Genovese’s death, stated that there were at least 38 witnesses to the murder without one person attempting to intervene. The circumstances surrounding the death became a popular case study for social scientists, and they are now referred to as the ‘Genovese Syndrome’ or bystander effect.
Killing of a Classic Stalker
When Lucien Carr moved to New York, he was followed by his former friend turned stalker, David Kammerer. As Carr began socialising more, Kammerer became desperate to win the object of his desire’s affection. On August 13, 1944, as he and a couple friends were taking a walk through Riverside Park, Kammerer made unwanted sexual advances towards Carr. The victim stabbed him with a boy scout knife, and dumped his body in the Hudson River. Carr later confessed to the killing and dumping of the body, and spent two years in jail for the crime.