In George Appo's world, child pickpockets swarmed the crowded streets, addicts drifted in furtive opium dens, and expert swindlers worked the lucrative green-goods game. On a good night Appo made as much as a skilled laborer made in a year. Bad nights left him with more than a dozen scars and over a decade in prisons from the Tombs and Sing Sing to the Matteawan State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where he reunited with another inmate, his father. The child of Irish and Chinese immigrants, Appo grew up in the notorious Five Points and Chinatown neighborhoods. He rose as an exemplar of the "good fellow," a criminal who relied on wile, who followed a code of loyalty even in his world of deception. Here is the underworld of the New York that gave us Edith Wharton, Boss Tweed, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Timothy J. Gilfoyle is an acclaimed historian. His first book, City of Eros, won the prestigious Nevins Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians. He is professor of history at Loyola University in Chicago.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations xi Preface xiii The Trials of Quimbo Appo 3 Urchins, Arabs, and Gutter-Snipes 18 A House of Refuge at Sea 30 Appo on: Violence 41 Factories for Turning Out Criminals 42 The "Guns" of Gotham 59 Drafted 73 Opium Dens and Bohemia 81 The Old Homestead 98 The Dives 110 Appo on: Jack Collins 125 Tombs Justice 127 Appo on: Good Fellows 142 Fences 146 "That Galling Yoke of Servitude" 157 Danny Driscoll and the Whyos 178 Eastern State Penitentiary 196 Green Goods 204 Appo on: Jersey City 223 Poughkeepsie 226 Appo on: Stealing Guys 241 The Lexow Committee 243 In the Tenderloin 260 A Marked Man 271 Buried Alive 285 A Genuine Reformation 300 Epilogue: The Finest Crook 315 Acknowledgments 325 Appendixes 331 New York State Male Prison Populations, 1870-1900 331 New York State Prison Expenditures, 1866-1900 332 Sing Sing Death and Insanity Rates, 1870-1900 333 Auburn Death and Insanity Rates, 1870-1900 334 Clinton Death and Insanity Rates, 1870-1900 335 Notes 337 Illustration Credits 435 Index 439