The New York underworld was made up of thousands of gangsters, racketeers, bootleggers and Mafioso. There is a reason why there are so few biographies written on early 20th Century gangsters. Most were killed before their 35th birthday. Where as we congratulate those few who were wily enough to make the system work for them and managed to die of natural causes, we will profile those who just didn't have what it took to make it to the finish line. Plus we just like talking about tommy guns, one way rides and dead guys in suits.
To that end we choose to bring to light the likes of Dutch Schultz. A titan in his time who couldn't get along with the other CEO's of crime and paid the price. As well as Legs Diamond, many will recognize the name, but few people actually know the story.
Then there are the men who have been forgotten altogether. Men like Peg-Leg Lonergan. Peg-Leg was once found innocent of murder by reason of self-defense. He had rolled up his pant leg to expose the bullet "wound" to his prosthetic limb, and that was enough to get him off.
There is Vincent Coll, who is now marginalized as a footnote in the Dutch Schultz story. He rivaled Al Capone for front page news coverage in the second half of 1931, until he was machine-gunned to death in a phonebooth, in February 1932.
The list goes on. In the Profiles section of Gangster City, it is our attempt to bring to light the lesser known denizens of the New York Underworld whose careers, though brief and bloody, helped make up New York City's dark side.