374 Water Street
Of all the Shanghaisters of Water Street, Tommy Hadden was the best. The barkeeps in the business of shanghaiing sailors called this salty little man with a wandering eye the Lime Juicer, because he could drug drinks with chloral hydrate as easily as squeezing a wedge of lime into a mug of grog.
In his twenty-five-year-long career, the police figured that Hadden had kidnapped at least 1,000 sailors, but in addition to shanghaiing, Tommy excelled in both murder and evading the law. Like the time the Lime Juicer crushed a man’s skull with a slung shot in 1852 and walked away scot free. Hadden’s secret of how he stayed out prison was no secret at all.
The Man Who Ran Water Street
As the New York Tribune explained:
“The primary elections which he has controlled or broken up in the interests of Tammany may be counted by the score; the ballot boxes he has stuffed by hundreds; while the false votes he has cast and caused to be cast are simply innumerable.”
Although John Allen and Kit Burns often got the press, Tommy Hadden ran Water Street. Hadden’s Hotel at 374 Water Street existed as boarding house for sailors, which in the words of the New York Tribune, “…implies fleecing them; and in providing captains of ships with a man or two…” The club was little more than a filthy cellar strewn with a maze of lice infested beds that combined charm of a flop house with the stench of a saloon.
Hadden served two sentences for sailor-napping in New York, but the salty character overstepped his bounds in New Jersey in 1870 when the authorities sentenced him to ten years in state prison for an attempted shanghaiing. He was never heard from again.