In an early P.G. Wodehouse novel from around 1910, the author, who was living in New York at the time, refers to several contemporary street gangs , but mostly disguising their names.
The East Side Gang is mentioned; I think that was a real gang. Their leader Monk Eastman was certainly real, but he’s only mentioned in passing. Much of his character and physical appearance is transferred over to the fictional Bat Jarvis, who like the real Eastman runs a pet shop, but this is located not on Broome Street, but the fictional Groome Street, and is also the headquarters of the equally fictional Groome Street Gang.
The “Three Points Gang” is obviously standing in for the Five Points Gang.
Finally there’s the “Table Hill Gang”, and that’s the one that puzzles me. Can anyone tell me what that name would have been alluding to? Was there a Murray Hill Gang? Is there some Manhattan neighborhood called Table Hill?
There’s a Charlie Rose interview with Martin Scorcese and Daniel Day-Lewis in which a number of gangs from that era and area are mentioned. More importantly, Scorcese refers to an author or book as a source of such information, if I’m not mistaken. You should have no trouble finding it on YouTube.
I’m eagerly waiting for several books by Asbury to enter the public domain, since I doubt they’re likely to be republished otherwise. I’m also waiting for Old Bowery Days but since that was published in 1930 I have seven more years to wait. Thanks Mickey and go to hell.
True, but the Asbury book on which the movie was very loosely based covers the period from before the 19th century all the way up to the early 1920s; every gang from before the Dead Rabbits up to the Hudson Dusters is mentioned.
The Herbert Asbury book I mentioned, covers an even longer stretch of time, from New Amsterdam up to the time it was published. This book also devotes considerable space to the NYC gang scene of the 19th and early 20th centuries. A couple of my distant ancestors from the 1600s are mentioned in it, though not as gangsters.