Historical Reprints History Danger! A True History of New York City's Wiles and Temptation

Danger! A True History of New York City's Wiles and Temptation

Danger! A True History of New York City's Wiles and Temptation
Catalog # SKU1783
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Howe & Hummel



A True History of New York City's
Wiles and Temptations

The Veil Lifted, and Light Thrown On
Crime and Its Causes,
Criminals and Their Haunts.

Howe & Hummel

Most of the world has an idealic view of New York City, promoted by television and the propagandists. This ideal NYC has been promoted even more since the 911 tragedy allowed by the US Government. This manuscript reveals a 'not so pretty' side of this New Babylon of Trade.

From the Authors:

It may not be amiss to remark, in explanation of the startling and sensational title chosen for this production, that logic has not yet succeeded in framing a title-page which shall clearly indicate the nature of a book. The greatest adepts have frequently taken refuge in some fortuitous word, which has served their purpose better than the best results of their analysis. So it was in the present case. "Danger!" is a thrilling and warning word, suggestive of the locomotive headlight, and especially applicable to the subject matter of the following pages, in which the crimes of a great city are dissected and exposed from the arcanum or confessional of what we may be pardoned for designating the best-known criminal law offices in America.
So much for the title. A few words as to the motif of the publication. Despite the efficiency of our police and the activity of our many admirable reforming and reclaiming systems, crime still abounds, while the great tide of social impurity continues to roll on with unabated velocity. Optimists and philanthropic dreamers in every age have pictured in glowing colors the gradual but sure approach of the millennium, yet we are, apparently, still as far from that elysium of purity and unselfishness as ever.

Whenever the wolf and the lamb lie down together, the innocent bleater is invariably inside the other's ravenous maw. There may be-and we have reason to know that there is-a marked diminution in certain forms of crime, but there are others in which surprising fertility of resource and ingenuity of method but too plainly evince that the latest developments of science and skill are being successfully pressed into the service of the modern criminal. Increase of education and scientific skill not only confers superior facilities for the successful perpetration of crime, but also for its concealment. The revelations of the newspapers, from week to week, but too plainly indicate an undercurrent of vice and iniquity, whose depth and foulness defy all computation.

We are not in accord with those pessimists who speak of New York as a boiling caldron of crime, without any redeeming features or hopeful elements. But our practice in the courts and our association with criminals of every kind, and the knowledge consequently gained of their history and antecedents, have demonstrated that, in a great city like New York, the germs of evil in human life are developed into the rankest maturity. As the eloquent Dr. Guthrie, in his great work, "The City, its Sins and its Sorrows," remarks: "Great cities many have found to be great curses. It had been well for many an honest lad and unsuspecting country girl that hopes of higher wages and opportunities of fortune, that the gay attire and gilded story of some acquaintance, had never turned their steps cityward, nor turned them from the simplicity and safety of their country home.

Many a foot that once lightly pressed the heather or brushed the dewy grass has wearily trodden in darkness, guilt and remorse, on these city pavements. Happy had it been for many had they never exchanged the starry skies for the lamps of the town, nor had left their quiet villages for the throng and roar of the big city's streets. Weil for them had they heard no roar but the river's, whose winter flood it had been safer to breast; no roar but ocean's, whose stormiest waves it had been safer to ride, than encounter the flood of city temptations, which has wrecked their virtue and swept them into ruin."

By hoisting the Danger signal at the mast-head, as it were, we have attempted to warn young men and young women-the future fathers and mothers of America-against the snares and pitfalls of the crime and the vice that await the unwary in New York. Our own long and extensive practice at the bar has furnished most of the facts; some, again, are on file in our criminal courts of record; and some, as has already been hinted, have been derived from the confidential revelations of our private office. With the desire that this book shall prove a useful warning and potent monitor to those for whose benefit and instruction it has been designed, and in the earnest hope that, by its influence, some few may be saved from prison, penitentiary, lunatic asylum, or suicides' purgatory, it is now submitted to the intelligent readers of America,


From old Dutch and Knickerbocker records it appears that as far back as the year 1600 there existed a place for the confinement of malefactors in the City of New York. At that early date in its history the town must certainly have been restricted to a half dozen or so of narrow, crooked streets, in the immediate vicinity of what is now known as the Bowling Green. The population did not, probably, number more than a few thousands; but, nevertheless, we find from these same records that, even in that small community, criminals were so numerous and crime so rife that a jail or Bridewell had already been established for the safe-keeping and punishment of evildoers, and a system of citizen-police inaugurated for the preservation of the local peace.

It was not, however, until some years later, 1642, that the "Staat Huys" was built, a municipal building, with a portion of it erected especially for the housing of dangerous criminals. Thus it would seem that for upwards of two centuries crime and criminals have had their haunts in this city, and, it is safe to say, while the more ancient cities of Europe have, unquestionably, originated more felons of every grade, there are few places that can rival New York in the number of actual crimes committed during its comparatively brief existence on the earth's map.

During the earlier history of the embryo city, the nature of the offenses perpetrated on the then small community, and the type of men who boldly executed the crimes, were undoubtedly of the same pattern as those which obtain among us to-day, but with this difference, that with the onward march of Improvement, hand-in-hand with the progress of Science and Civilization, have also grimly stalked fashionably-clothed and modernly-equipped Crime and the scientifically-perfected law-breaker, with his modern and improved methods. Man's villainies, like his other passions, remain the same to-day as when the murderous club of Cain crushed the skull of his brother Abel, and the maiden earth was crimsoned with the first blood that appealed for vengeance. They differ only in the manner of commission, and the commission would appear to be assisted by modern invention and appliances.

To expect large civilized communities dwelling together to be free from crime would be to imagine an elysium on earth, for where poverty exists crime will assuredly be found, and poverty will never be divorced from civilization. It would also appear that, in accordance with the growth and expansion of the young city in other respects, vice and crime kept pace, while youthful depravity early began to trouble the good people then as it worries the same class of persons to-day, for in 1824 we find that a House of Refuge, for the reformation of juvenile delinquents, was built, ostensibly superseding the old "Society for the Prevention of Pauperism." To follow in detail the history of crime in this city, from so early a date, would be of very little service here, but a simple chronicle, referring to the periods at which prisons were found to be necessary, may be briefly touched upon as tending to show how crime increased and criminals multiplied, as the city grew in wealth and population.

The new "Staat Huys," before alluded to, was erected on the corner of Pearl street and Coenties Slip, a locality then considered the most central in the infant town, and as offering the best facilities for securely keeping prisoners. It served its double purposes of jail and city hall until 1698, when it was decided by the authorities to build another-a larger and more commodious structure; while, in the meantime, the old military block-house in the immediate neighborhood of the Governor's residence was conscripted and made use of, additionally to the "Staat Huys," for the accommodation of the constantly-increasing number of culprits.

The new building-City Hall-was erected on Broad street, on the ground now covered by the sub-treasury building, and was finished in 1699, but was not used as a jail until five years subsequent. In the winter of 1704 the sheriff was required to have the city jail prepared for the reception of felons. Crime, however, would appear to have become a monster of terrible mien in those days, far exceeding all the efforts of the authorities to restrict or even to limit the number of malefactors, aside from the apparent impossibility of diminishing them, for again, in 1758, another new jail was found absolutely necessary to the needs of the inhabitants, and was erected on what was then known as "The Fields," now City Hall Park, and where, tradition has it, the prisoners were most barbarously treated. This new place of confinement, together with those previously in use, served their purpose very well until 1775, when the new Bridewell was erected, when all were converted into military prisons during the occupancy of the city by the British. The frightful cruelties that were then practiced upon the patriot soldiers, unfortunate enough to be inmates of those prisons, are too familiar to every one to need mention here.

Shortly after the Revolution, the Penitentiary was established at Bellevue. In 1816, a portion of the almshouse was set apart for the punishment of felons, by the institution of the treadmill. This was on Twenty-sixth street, near First avenue, the present site of Bellevue Hospital, and its part occupancy as a prison somewhat relieved the overcrowded condition of the jail. The city jail still continued in City Hall Park, and was used as a debtors' prison, remaining so until 1832, when it was entirely converted into the Register's Office, the present Hall of Records, and is such to this day. It stands opposite the Staats Zeitung building in old Tryon Row.

The Penitentiary was soon found to be too small for the keeping of the greatly-increased number of prisoners, and so, in 1836, the buildings on Blackwell's Island were constructed, and two years later, again, the Tombs, the sombre, miasmatic, Egyptian edifice on Centre street, was completed; which latter had been in course of construction for some years.

In addition to the prisons previously alluded to, there was begun, in 1796, a state prison, which was erected in the Village of Greenwich, about West Tenth street, near the North River, and which is still in existence to-day (1886), being occupied by, and known as, the Empire Brewery. It was used as a state prison until the completion of the present extensive buildings at Sing Sing, on the Hudson.


Topical Chapter Outline
Chapter I. Ancient and Modern Prisons.
Chapter II. Criminals and Their Haunts.
Chapter III. Street Arabs of Both Sexes.
Chapter IV. Store Girls.
Chapter V. The Pretty Waiter Girl.
Chapter VI. Shop-Lifters.
Chapter VII. Kleptomania.
Chapter VIII. Panel Houses and Panel Thieves.
Chapter IX. A Theatrical Romance.
Chapter X. A Mariner's Wooing.
Chapter XI. The Baron and "Baroness."
Chapter XII. The Demi-Monde.
Chapter XIII. Passion's Slaves and Victims.
Chapter XIV Procuresses and Their Victims.
Chapter XV. Quacks and Quackery.
Chapter XVI. Abortion And The Abortionists.
Chapter XVII. Divorce.
Chapter XVIII. Black-Mail.
Chapter XIX. About Detectives.
Chapter XX. Gambling and Gamblers.
Chapter XXI. Gambling Made Easy.
Chapter XXII. Slumming.
Chapter XXIII. Our Waste Basket.
Miss Ruff's Tribulations.
Astounding Degradation.
Fall Of A Youthful, Beautiful And Accomplished Wife.
A French Beauty's Troubles.
Life On The Boston Boats.
An Eighty-Year-Old "Fence"
Shoppers' Perils.

Softcover, 8" x 10¾", 155+ pages
Perfect-Bound - Large Print 12 point font

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