HOME

TheInfoList




The Five Points Gang was a criminal street
gang A gang is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be repres ...

gang
of primarily
Italian-American Italian Americans ( it, italoamericani or ''italo-americani'', ) are Americans Americans are the and of the .; ; ''Ricketts v. Attorney General''897 F.3d 491, 494 n.3 (3d Cir. 2018) (" and are not ous. While all citizens are nationals, ...
origins, based in the Five Points of
Lower Manhattan Lower Manhattan, also known as Downtown Manhattan or Downtown New York, is the southernmost part of , the central for business, culture, and in . Lower Manhattan is defined most commonly as the area delineated on the north by , on the west by t ...

Lower Manhattan
,
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
, during the late 19th and early 20th century.
Paul KellyPaul Kelly may refer to: Academia * Paul Kelly (mathematician) (1915–1995), American mathematician * Paul Kelly (journalist) (born 1947), Australian journalist * Paul Kelly (lawyer) (born c. 1955), American lawyer and former NHL Players Associati ...
, born Paolo Antonio Vaccarelli, was an Italian American who founded the Five Points Gang. It included some who later became prominent criminals in their own right, including
Johnny Torrio John Donato Torrio (born Donato Torrio, ; January 20, 1882 – April 16, 1957) was an Italian-American mobster who helped build the Chicago Outfit in the 1920s. It was later inherited by his protégé Al Capone. Torrio proposed a National Crime ...
,
Al Capone Alphonse Gabriel Capone (; January 17, 1899 – January 25, 1947), sometimes known by the nickname "Scarface", was an American gangster A gangster is a criminal who is a member of a gang A gang is a group or society A ...

Al Capone
and
Lucky Luciano Charles "Lucky" Luciano (, ; born Salvatore Lucania ; November 24, 1897 – January 26, 1962) was an Italian-born gangster A gangster is a criminal who is a member of a gang A gang is a group or society A society is a Social g ...
.


Five Points

The area of Manhattan where four streets – Anthony (now Worth), Cross (now Mosco), Orange (now Baxter), and Little Water (now nonexistent) – converged was known as "The Five Points".
Mulberry ''Morus'', a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, viruses. In ...
, notorious for slum tenements, was one street down from the Five Points. This area, now the present-day location of
Chinatown A Chinatown () is an ethnic enclave File:India Square JC jeh.JPG, India Square in Jersey City, New Jersey#Demographics, Jersey City, New Jersey, one of 24 Indian American, Indian ethnic enclaves in the New York City Metropolitan Area. In ...
, lay between
Broadway Broadway may refer to: Theatre * Broadway Theatre (disambiguation) * Broadway theatre, theatrical productions in professional theatres near Broadway, Manhattan, New York City, U.S. ** Broadway (Manhattan), the street **Broadway Theatre (53rd Str ...
and the
Bowery The Bowery () is a street and neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English, Hiberno-English, Hibernian English, Australian English and Canadian English) or neighborhood (American English; American and British English spelling differenc ...

Bowery
. By the 1820s, this district had been a center of settlement for poor immigrants and was considered a "
slum A slum is a highly populated urban Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the culture of towns and cities. Urban may also refer to: Gen ...

slum
" area of run-down wood frame and brick dwellings, warehouses and commercial enterprises dating from the late 18th century colonial era and early 19th century populated by mostly poor English and Scots-Irish with increasing torrents of waves of
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...
,
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
and Irish refugees by the 1840s.
Gambling Gambling (also known as betting) is the wagering something of Value (economics), value ("the stakes") on an Event (probability theory), event with an uncertain outcome with the intent of winning something else of value. Gambling thus requires ...
dens and
brothels Image:Pascha Köln.jpg, 250px, The former Pascha (brothel), Pascha brothel in Cologne, Germany was the largest brothel in Europe.mugged Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take anything of value by force, threat of force, or by putting the victim in fear. According to common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently depr ...
, particularly at night. In 1842, famous British author
Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (; 7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian e ...

Charles Dickens
visited the area and was appalled at the poor living conditions in substandard housing. In the pre-civil war era, Catholic immigrants often dealt with ethnic prejudice and class discrimination from the Nativist
White Anglo-Saxon Protestants White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs) are upper-class Upper class in modern societies is the social class composed of people who hold the highest social status, usually are the economic inequality, wealthiest members of class society, and wiel ...
, as a result, many Irish immigrants had formed local street gangs such as the
Kerryonians The Kerryonians were alleged to be the second oldest criminal street gang in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With ...
, Forty Thieves, Shirt Tails, and Chichesters, to rebel against their low social status but the members soon turned to crime to relieve their frustration and make money to support themselves, and their families. Shortly before the American Civil War, these gangs began to dissipate with remaining members joining powerful gangs such as the
Dead Rabbits The Dead Rabbits was the name of an Irish American criminal street gang active in Lower Manhattan Lower Manhattan, also known as Downtown Manhattan or Downtown New York, is the southernmost part of Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally ...
and the Whyos. Eventually the influence and numbers of these Irish gangs gradually started to wane. By the 1870s a new wave of now Italian and Eastern European Jewish immigrants were settling into the area. Criminal gangs of Irish, Jewish and Italian criminals began competing for control of the territory, rackets and revenue to be made from illicit activities.
Monk Eastman Edward "Monk" Eastman (1875 – December 26, 1920) was a New York City gangster who founded and led the Eastman Gang in the late 19th and early 20th century; it became one of the most powerful street gangs in the city. His aliases included Jos ...

Monk Eastman
's Eastman Coin Collectors originally had many Irish members. The 2002 film ''
Gangs of New York ''Gangs of New York'' is a 2002 American epic historical crime film that was directed by Martin Scorsese Martin Charles Scorsese (, ; born November 17, 1942) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. One of the ...

Gangs of New York
'' is set in Five Points based on
Herbert Asbury Herbert Asbury (September 1, 1889 – February 24, 1963) was an American journalist and writer best known for his books detailing crime during the 19th and early-20th centuries, such as ''Gem of the Prairie: An Informal History of the Chicago Und ...
's historical novel portraying the strife from the 1840s to the
Civil War A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
draft riots The New York City draft riots (July 13–16, 1863), sometimes referred to as the Manhattan draft riots and known at the time as Draft Week, were Riot, violent disturbances in Lower Manhattan, widely regarded as the culmination of working-clas ...
of 1863 between old line Americanized
Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants originating in the Reformation reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of , but disagree among themselves ...
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...
and
Scots-Irish Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish may refer to: * Ulster Scots people, an ethnic group in Ulster, Ireland, who trace their roots to settlers from Scotland * Scotch-Irish Americans, descendants of Ulster Scots who first migrated to America in large number ...
immigrants and newly arrived persecuted
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...

Roman Catholic
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...

Irish
with riots, crime, poverty and exploitation by political machines like
Tammany Hall Tammany Hall, also known as the Society of St. Tammany, the Sons of St. Tammany, or the Columbian Order, was a New York City political organization founded in 1786 and incorporated on May 12, 1789, as the Tammany Society. It became the main loc ...
.


Origins

Italian American
Paul KellyPaul Kelly may refer to: Academia * Paul Kelly (mathematician) (1915–1995), American mathematician * Paul Kelly (journalist) (born 1947), Australian journalist * Paul Kelly (lawyer) (born c. 1955), American lawyer and former NHL Players Associati ...
(born Paolo Antonio Vaccarelli), formed the Five Points Gang, then made up mostly of Italians. The gang would then gain more power and members when Kelly recruited the remaining members of other Five Points gangs, such as the
Dead Rabbits The Dead Rabbits was the name of an Irish American criminal street gang active in Lower Manhattan Lower Manhattan, also known as Downtown Manhattan or Downtown New York, is the southernmost part of Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally ...
and Whyos, into his growing gang. As time went on, Jewish, Polish and Eastern European immigrants would also be brought within the ranks of the Five Points Gang, making them even more powerful and influential. During the gang's later years, Kelly's second-in-command
John Torrio John Donato Torrio (born Donato Torrio, ; January 20, 1882 – April 16, 1957) was an Italian-American mobster who helped build the Chicago Outfit in the 1920s. It was later inherited by his protégé Al Capone. Torrio proposed a National Crime Sy ...
, helped form a
National Crime Syndicate The National Crime Syndicate was the name given by the press to the multi-ethnic, loosely connected American confederation of several criminal organization Organized crime is a category of transnational organized crime, transnational, national, ...
in the United States. The Five Points Gang had a reputation for brutality, and in battles with rival gangs, they often fought to the death. Kelly and Torrio often recruited members from other gangs in New York to join the Five Points organization.
Al Capone Alphonse Gabriel Capone (; January 17, 1899 – January 25, 1947), sometimes known by the nickname "Scarface", was an American gangster A gangster is a criminal who is a member of a gang A gang is a group or society A ...

Al Capone
came from the James Street gang, and would later lead the Chicago Outfit. Torrio was the first to establish his style of racketeering in Chicago, and recruited Capone to join him there.
Charles "Lucky" Luciano Charles "Lucky" Luciano (, ; born Salvatore Lucania ; November 24, 1897 – January 26, 1962) was an Italian-born gangster who operated mainly in the United States. Luciano started his criminal career in the Five Points gang and was instrumental ...
, also joined the Five Points Gang in his younger years, and was later considered the most powerful criminal in the country.


Rise to power

As the Five Points Gang became more experienced, Kelly and his lieutenants saw the money to be made by supporting corrupt politicians in their election bids. By threatening voters, falsifying voter lists and stuffing ballot boxes, the gang aided city officials of the
Democratic PartyDemocratic Party most often refers to: *Democratic Party (United States) Democratic Party and similar terms may also refer to: Active parties Africa *Botswana Democratic Party *Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea *Gabonese Democratic Party *Democ ...
political machine like in the era of
Tammany Hall Tammany Hall, also known as the Society of St. Tammany, the Sons of St. Tammany, or the Columbian Order, was a New York City political organization founded in 1786 and incorporated on May 12, 1789, as the Tammany Society. It became the main loc ...
to retain power. At the turn of the 20th century, the only competitors to the Five Pointers were from
Monk Eastman Edward "Monk" Eastman (1875 – December 26, 1920) was a New York City gangster who founded and led the Eastman Gang in the late 19th and early 20th century; it became one of the most powerful street gangs in the city. His aliases included Jos ...

Monk Eastman
's gang. The rivals disputed claims to a strip of territory of the
Lower East Side The Lower East Side, sometimes abbreviated as LES and sometimes referred to as Loisaida, is a neighborhood A neighbourhood (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English language English is a Wes ...
in
Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as ''The City'', is the most densely populated and geographically smallest of the five boroughs 5 is a number, numeral, and glyph. 5, five or number 5 may also refer to: * AD 5, the fifth year of the AD era ...

Manhattan
. In 1901, a Five Pointer shot Eastman in the stomach, but he survived. Soon after, one of his crew killed a Five Pointer in retaliation. By 1903 the feud escalated, and the two gangs openly engaged in warfare. In one incident, Kelly, Torrio and 50 Five Pointers were in a gun battle with a similarly sized force of Eastman's gang. City Police called to the scene had to retreat from the battle, which lasted several hours. Three men were killed, and many were wounded in the battle. When the police finally gained control of the situation, they arrested Eastman, but he spent only a few hours in jail. A Tammany-controlled judge released him after Eastman swore that he was innocent. The general public was angered about warfare in the streets. A Tammany Hall deputy named Tom Foley brought Kelly and Eastman together and told them that neither would receive any political protection if they did not resolve the border dispute. They restored peace for a short time, but within two months, violence had risen again. Officials brought together the two leaders, but asked them to take on each other in a boxing match with the winner's gang to take the disputed territory. On the appointed day, hundreds of men from both sides met at an abandoned house in the
Bronx The Bronx () is a Boroughs of New York City, borough of New York City, coextensive with Bronx County, in the U.S. state of New York (state), New York. It is south of Westchester County, New York, Westchester County; north and east of the New Yor ...

Bronx
. Eastman and Kelly fought each other viciously. Kelly had been a boxer in his younger days, and was said to make a better showing in the earlier rounds, but Eastman was a larger man and fought ferociously. The fight lasted two hours and by the end of the match, both had suffered heavy punishment, but neither man had been knocked out and the match was declared a draw. The gang leaders told their men that they were still at war. At this point, the Tammany Hall bosses decided to back the Five Points crew, and to withdraw any legal or political help to Eastman and his gang. In 1904 Eastman was beaten unconscious by a policeman who had foiled a robbery in progress. Eastman was convicted of the crime and sentenced to a 10-year term in
Sing Sing Sing Sing Correctional Facility, formerly Ossining Correctional Facility, is a maximum-security prison operated by the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision The New York State Department of Corrections and Community S ...

Sing Sing
prison (Ossining Correctional Facility) in Ossining, New York. His successor Max "Kid Twist" Zwerbach was murdered in 1908 by
hitmen Contract killing is a form of murder Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification (jurisprudence), justification or valid excuse (legal), excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human with malice afore ...
of the Five Points Gang, allegedly at the behest of Paul Kelly, and the Eastman crew began to crumble.


Final years

Paolo Vaccarelli/Paul Kelly survived an attempt on his life, after being shot three times by two of his lieutenants, James T. "Biff" Ellison and Pat "Razor" Riley, in a gun battle inside one of his nightclubs.
Tammany Hall Tammany Hall, also known as the Society of St. Tammany, the Sons of St. Tammany, or the Columbian Order, was a New York City political organization founded in 1786 and incorporated on May 12, 1789, as the Tammany Society. It became the main loc ...
pressure made him keep a lower profile after this incident. He became more involved in the nascent labor union rackets. He died of natural causes in 1936. Gradually the
Mafia A mafia is a type of criminal organization whose central activity is the arbitration of disputes between criminals and the organization and enforcement of illicit agreements through the use of violence. Mafias often engage in secondary activities ...
gangs took over the rackets and criminal activities formerly controlled by the Five Points Gang. Former Five Pointers such as Torrio, Capone, Lansky and Luciano became the leaders of the new groups and, with mentoring from influential businessman and criminal genius
Arnold Rothstein Arnold Rothstein (January 17, 1882 – November 6, 1928), nicknamed "the Brain", was an American racketeer, businessman and gambler who became a kingpin of the Jewish mob in New York City. Rothstein was widely reputed to have organized corrup ...
, expanded their operations on a national and international basis. With the 18th Amendment and the
Volstead Act The National Prohibition Act, known informally as the Volstead Act, was enacted to carry out the intent of the 18th Amendment (ratified January 1919), which established prohibition in the United States Prohibition Prohibition is the ac ...
establishing Prohibition in 1920, profits from bootlegged liquor became a huge source of revenue for the Mafia families.


See also

*
List of identities in The Gangs of New York (book) This is a list of identities referenced in Herbert Asbury's 1928 book The Gangs of New York (book), ''The Gangs of New York'' including underworld figures, gang members, crime fighters and others of the History of New York City (1855–1897), Old ...


References


External links

Secret societies related to organized crime {{Organized crime groups in New York City