tagNon-Erotic PoetryEarly New York City Gangs

Early New York City Gangs

byUncle Pervey©

Back in the 1850's in old New York City,
There were lots more than the ones here, it's a pity.
Battle Rows, Baxter Street Dudes, Chitchisters, and Day Breaks,
Dead Rabbits, Plug Uglys, and it's sure no mistake.

We sure can't forget about the Fourth Street Tunnels gang,
Butcher's Cart, Hell's Kitchen, and the Shirttails not the same.
These gangs of desperados were pure evil unbound,
And fed just like parasites on old New York town.

All these gangs mentioned and others caused the rioting,
They were pillagers, murderers, raping law breakers,
They kept the "Draft Riots" going by exciting.
Every one of these varmints were really takers.

These gangs would fight the law all over old New York town,
The police were helpless against these attritions.
They would beat honest citizens into the ground,
Because they got protection from the politicians.

In the 40 plus years leading to 1900,
These gangs were responsible for hundreds of dead.
Out of all of these gangs of the psychopath insane,
Five of the evilest became the gangs that led.

The Eastman gang had about fifteen hundred members,
The Bowery down to the East River was their beat.
Their leader was Monk Eastman who's still long remembered,
Their territory was Monroe to Fourteenth street.

The "Five Pointers" were the enemies of the Eastmans,
Their leader was an Irishman named Paul Kelly.
They battled over the "boodle" of the river front,
And the "Tenderloin" district of New York's belly.

The Five Pointers had just about 1200 members,
They had a constant disputation with the Eastmans,
Both the gang's actions made them both constant defenders.
Their evil acts worked out to be about even.

There was a smaller vicious gang called the "Gas Housers,"
It only sported about 200 members.
Their base of operations was on Third Avenue,
Their acts of crime went from the First to December.

The Gas Housers gang were so vicious and rightly feared,
The records show 30 hold-ups each single night.
And these hold-ups were every day of the whole year,
They were so mean they even gave the cops a fright.

The "Gofers" held about a 500 membership,
With Willie Jones to lead them on with all their crimes.
And Hell's Kitchen" was their main base of operation,
Seventh, Eleventh, fourteenth and forty second lines.

The Battle Row Ladies Social Club were the females,
They gave support to the Gofers against the rest.
These ladies of easy virtue were unprincibled,
But their fighting abilities passed every test.

The "Hudson Dusters" gang were aligned with the "Gofers,"
They covered from below Thirteenth to East Broadway,
And that included East Manhatton's Greenich Village,
With very little disputations in those days.

Now for your entertainment and ellucidation,
As you know gang members tend to have funny names.
These are things I've always found very interesting,
The really weird and strange monikers of these gangs.

There was a gang called the "Pansys" led by Rags Riley,
And the "Red Pepper" gang and the Duffield" gang's song.
Johnny Spanish, Eat Em Up Jack, and Ipsky Joe Hickman,
There was Kid Twist and Ike the Blood and the Ding Dong,

We should all recognize some of these real fierce ladies,
Like our Battle Annie the Queen of Hell's Kitchen.
There was Sadie the Ghost, and there was Hellcat Maggie,
These females more vicious and cunning than the men.

Onnie the Killer Madden to round out a few more,
Then Googoo Knox, One-Lung Kurin, and Greedy Jake Rand.
And Little Johnny Torrio led all the James gang,
Til he slipped off to Al Capone in Chicago land.

Every act of criminality was committed,
By every single one of these five vicious gangs.
The atrosities they committed caused their downfall,
And the ones that didn't get away all got hanged!!

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