The Gangs of New York: Book Review Essay

Submitted By lexifollas
Words: 1115
Pages: 5

The Gangs of New York included : The Chichesters, Roach Guards, Plug Uglies, Shirt Tails and The Dead Rabbits. The books setting pertained basically in the area of the Five Points before and after World War 1. The Five Points was in Central Lower Manhattan at the intersection of Baxter, Worth and and Park Streets. There were three administration buildings were put in the old five points section they were called (The Tombs, The Criminal Courts: The New County Courthouse). The Tombs were a prison that was erected in 1838, and its official name was The Hall of Justice but was called the Tombs because of its Egyptian like architecture. The city was surrounded by a swamp and a lake. Everything was peaceful and good in the first ten to fifteen years of The Five Points, everything changed for the worse around the year 1820.
Many people lived in tenements during this time, and the tenements were starting to deteriorate or sink into the swamp. There was a place called Mulberry Bend, which was where business houses could be placed and were bought by the city. People of all ethnicities lived in Mulberry Hill, it was a place high in poverty which almost subjects it to be a place high in crime. Another building at the heart of the Five Points was called the Old Brewery.The Old Brewery was a place of housing for many people. The people who lived here usually had kids that never saw the sun until their late teens. During the 1850s a investigator discovered that in a room with 26 people not one person in that room had been outside it for more than a week. Lewis Morris Pease made renovations on The Old Brewery building and made it a safer place to live in. Dancing was one of the fun things people could do in their free time, mainly because dancing was a thing people could do for free. The Bowery Theater was another place that people went to for enjoyment. River Pirates of this time were terrible gangsters, that would murder people on ships throw them off the side and take their money and leave. One of the river pirates name was Andrew Hicks, he did exactly that, and was caught. He went to the tombs, then was convicted for murder, afterward he was sent to an island to be hung on the 13th of July. Thousands of boats filled with people came to watch him be hung, he was one of the more famous of the gangsters of this time. Another famous gangster was Bill the Butcher, or William Poole, and he got in a fight, was shot in the heart and he died 14 days later. His doctors found that a miracle because most people don't live that long with a bullet in their heart, in his last dying words he said the famous phrase “Goodbye, boys... I die a true American.”
President Lincoln released the Emancipation Proclamation during this time, which then led to The Draft Riots of 1863. The Draft Riots of 1863 were many violent outings made by working class people, because they didn’t like the new rules. Well during this time the rioters went into this colored organization called the Colored Orphan Asylum and children rarely ever left that place, but when the angry, screaming rioters came in and destroyed all the asylums furniture and killed a little black girl it was evacuated. The city of New York was utter chaos, during The Draft Riots of 1863. Knock-outs were very common during this time, because they could easily knock-out a victim, hence their name, and then the thieves could pickpocket the victim and leave before they woke up. The practice of using knockouts became so common that large groups of male and female thieves were formed. Marm Mandelum was a New York Entrepreneur, who sold things to many of the gangs. Marm stole about 1 to 5 million dollars worth of other peoples property. (Please note that 1 million dollars then is like 20 million dollars today).Most of the things she sold were stolen property. Jack Mahaney was another known criminal of this time, he was a man who lead a gang of his own and was able to escape every eastern prison he was in,