Click here to read Part I of The Death of Arnold Rothstein
Location: 135 2nd Avenue, Stuyvesant Polyclinic
As he lay dying in a private three-room suite in the Stuyvesant Polyclinic, Arnold Rothstein, the Brain of Broadway, financier of the underworld, writhed in his hospital bed and groaned in delirium as police detectives peppered him with questions.
“Who shot you,” they asked and Rothstein snarled:
My mother. You stick to your trade and I’ll stick to mine.
A team of five surgeons led by Dr. E.I. Kellog dug the .38 caliber slug from his stomach, and Rothstein’s estranged, law abiding, family drew around the mortally wounded gangster, and waited with the rest of the world. Broadway ground to a standstill. Would Arnold Rothstein finally name names?
With his ex-wife on her knees sobbing and his father Abe “the Just,” a deeply religious, millionaire philanthropist towering over his son’s clammy, feverish body, the family drew together in prayer.
After a blood transfusion, house Dr. Alexander O’Hare pressed a stethoscope to Rothstein’s chest and pronounced alleged fixer of the 1918 World Series dead at 10:17AM, November 6, 1928, and hoodlums of Broadway went wild.
In the words of the Brooklyn Eagle:
“Rothstein did not keep documents which might tend to incriminate himself. But he kept documents which would tend to incriminate others.”
The Big Bankroll Arnold Rothstein
There wasn’t a man of any importance who hadn’t borrowed money from the Big Bankroll. Lucky Luciano, Legs Diamond, Dutch Shultz, NYC Mayor Jimmy Walker, and Frank Costello all had been aided by Rothstein on their crawl to the top, and the vultures raided Rothstein’s posh 5th Avenue apartment and looted his financial documents, stealing the files for the letters C, B, G, M, Mc, and T.
The police confiscated the remaining 56,000 pieces of paper left behind in two steel filing cabinets, and began sorting through the avalanche of incriminating papers that would lead to a seizure of two million dollars worth of dope the next day.
Some of the scraps left behind would provide fragmentary evidence that Rothstein had loaned Judge Joseph Force Crater, Tammany Head James Curry, and Mayor Jimmy Walker money.
Fiorello LaGuardia Investigates
Nearly a year later, Fiorello LaGuardia would also discover that City Magistrate Albert Vitale had repaid Rothstein a Loan for over $19,000. Lottie Pickford, the sister of famous actress Marry Pickford, also appeared in the documents. The names of Bobbie Winthrop, Dorothy King and Louise Lawson, a trio of dead showgirls used as narcotics smugglers, were also unearthed.
An international manhunt for Rothstein’s killers would ensue, resulting in the gangland trial of the century, but George “Hump” McManus, Rothstein’s probable killer, would walk free, and the murder remains unsolved.
With Rothstein dead, the twenties roared a little less loudly.