Archive for the ‘Arnold Rothstein’ Category


Murder at the Metropole: The Charles Becker Herman Rosenthal Case 147 West 43rd Street

Address: 147 West 43rd Street

Status: The Casablanca Hotel


By the summer of 1912, every gangster, gambler and politician in New York City wanted Herman Beansie Rosenthal dead. The pro-gambler had upset the apple cart, spilled the beans and went to the press, revealing a massive web of police corruption after the coppers smashed up Beansie’s casino- a casino that was under the paid protection of NYPD Lieutenant Charles Becker.


Charles Becker, Charley Becker, Herman Rosenthal, Arnold Rothstein, Big Tim Sullivan, Tammany Hall, NYPD, Lefty Louie, Gyp the Blood, Big Jack Zelig, Hotel Metropole, Gangs of New York, Harry Horrowitz, Satan’s Circus, Tenderloin, 147 West 43rd Street, Tony DeNapoli’s, Hotel Casablanca, Damon Runyon, Bat Masterson, Abe Attell, Bill Consindine, Becker Rosenthal Case, Rosenthal Murder, Fanny Brice.

Owned by Tammany Hall powerbroker, Big Tim Sullivan,The Metropole boasted a 24 hour liquor license and a casino managed by Arnold Rothstein.


Murder at the Hotel Metropole:

The Becker Rosenthal Case

Just after Midnight, July 12, 1912, Rosenthal strolled into the Metropole Café, now Tony DeNapoli’s, with an arm full of newspapers plastered with headlines of his allegations against Lt. Becker. At 4 AM a gray Packard taxi roared up to the Metropole with a cargo of gunmen, coked to the gills, from the dreaded Lenox Avenue Gang.



1-The Gray Murder Car which carried the gunmen assassins. 2-Herman Rosenthal, The Gambler, whose murder is charged to the New York Police System. 3- The brightly lighted streets of the murder. Rosenthal was shot under the big electric sign in the center of the picture. 4- Rhinelander Waldo, New York’s police commissioner. Mrs. Harry Vallon, Wife of the Murder Council member Frank Vallon. 6,7– Gyp the Blood and Lefty Louis, Two of the gunmen held for the murder. 8-Sam Schleps


There in the blinking electric lights of Times Square, Lefty Louie Rosenburg, Harry “Gyp the Blood” Horrowitz and Dago Frank Cirofici waited for their prey. When Rosenthal exited the Metropole, the gunmen opened fire. According Historian Mike Dash:


“… Investigation would eventually establish that at least three rounds were fired. The first bullet had missed its target and embedded itself at head height deep in the wooden frame of the Metropole’s front door. But the second had struck Rosenthal in the face, passing through his cheek and jaw…” Mike Dash, Satan’s Circus.


The murder would go on to become the crime of the century, adding yet another gritty layer to the Hotel’s gangland history.



A popular gangland resort and casino, the Hotel Metropole was located at 147 West 43rd Street. It was the scene of the murder of Herman “Beansie” Rosenthal in 1912.


Up in the Old Metropole

Located a dice roll away from the Big Street, Broadway, the Hotel Metropole opened in 1910 at 147 West 43rd Street and became a nightlife nexus of the Tenderloin district known as Satan’s Circus. The first hotel in New York City with running water in every room, a pair of pro-gamblers known as the Consindine Brothers (George and Bill), operated the hotel on behalf of Tammany Hall powerbroker Big Tim Sullivan. The Metropole became the sparkling diamond of Big Tim’s hustles. Now called the Casablanca hotel, the building is one of the most storied gangland hotels in all of Manhattan.


Charles Becker, Charley Becker, Herman Rosenthal, Arnold Rothstein, Big Tim Sullivan, Tammany Hall, NYPD, Lefty Louie, Gyp the Blood, Big Jack Zelig, Hotel Metropole, Gangs of New York, Harry Horrowitz, Satan’s Circus, Tenderloin, 147 West 43rd Street, Tony DeNapoli’s, Hotel Casablanca, Damon Runyon, Bat Masterson, Abe Attell, Bill Consindine, Becker Rosenthal Case, Rosenthal Murder, Fanny Brice.

Today, the Metropole is called the Hotel Casablanca.


The murder would leave an indelible mark on the annuals of American criminal history, even appearing in the Great Gatsby:


“The old Metropole,” brooded Mr. Wolfsheim gloomily.  “Filled with faces dead and gone. Filled with friends gone now forever. I can’t forget so long as I live the night they shot Rosy Rosenthal there.”-F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


Bat Masterson, Damon Runyon and Nicky Arnstein

A human stew of Broadway characters called the Metropole home because of its 24 Hour liquor license, making the hotel’s cafe a hotspot for showgirls, gunmen, boxers, newspaper reporters and gamblers.

Wild West gunfighter turned New York newspaperman, Bat Masterson and his protégé Damon Runyon were regulars. Bat lived upstairs near noted cardsharp Nicky Arnstein, future husband of Ziegfeld Girl, Fanny Brice. Cole Porter would immortalize the wiseguys and cardsharps of the Metropole in his song, Ace in The Hole.



Arnold Rothstein’s Casino

Arnold Rothstein, the Brain of Broadway, managed Big Tim’s gambling parlor on the second floor. The opulent casino featured faro tables and roulette wheels. Some of the biggest crap games New York City history went down in the Metropole. It was also in the Metropole where Abe Attell, a former champion featherweight boxer, caught the attention of Arnold Rothstein becoming The Brain’s bagman and enforcer. Attell served Rothstein well during fixing of the 1919 World Series, insulating the gangster from criminal prosecution, serving as a go between for Rothstein and the Chicago White Soxs.


Arnold Rothstein

 Arnold Rothstein. the Brain of Broadway, managed the Metropole’s casino.


Enter Herman Rosenthal

A small time gambler with big dreams, Herman Rosenthal became a regular at the Metropole’s all night card games. With the help of Big Tim Sullivan’s bankroll, Rosenthal set up a lavish gambling den a few blocks north at 104 West Forty Fifth Street where the gambler lived with his wife Lillian. After a police raid smashed the joint, Rosenthal turned to police Lieutenant Charley Becker, cutting the corrupt police officer in on 1/5 of the house’s take. Unfortunately for Rosenthal, letters to Mayor Gaynor’s office reported the operation. The raids on the casino continued and Beansie Rosenthal went to the Newspapers to squeal.


The Jewish Mob:

Lefty Louie, Gyp the Blood, and Big Jack Zelig

By this point Rosenthal’s enemies led by a powerful syndicate of gamblers, gangsters, and police Lieutenant Charley Becker wanted the canary dead. With the help of Lower East Side Jewish Mobster Big Jack Zelig, a contract was placed on Rosenthal’s head to be carried out by Lenox Avenue Gang members Lefty Louie and Gyp the Blood. According to Herbert Asbury:


“Gyp the Blood was a sheriff and gorilla at the cheap dances of the East Side…He possessed extraordinary strength, and frequently boasted that he could break a man’s back by bending him over his knee.”-Herbert Asbury, Gangs of New York


The triggermen struck on July 12, 1912 and all of New York reverberated in the wake.


Lefty Louie gyp the blood

Two eastside gunmen (seated), Harry “Gyp the Blood” Horrowitz and Lefty Louie Rosenburg, were sentenced to death for the slaying of Herman Rosenthal.


The Chair For Charley Becker

Lt. Becker and the Lenox Avenue gang were found guilty of the crime and were sent to the electric chair at Sing Sing. The Metropole Hotel still stands today and is known as the Hotel Casablanca.

 Charles BeckerNYPD officer Charles Becker was sentenced to death for the crime.

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Arnold Rothstein Death Site

After being shot at the Park Central Hotel, Arnold Rothstein would die in the Stuyvesant Polyclinic.

Click here to read Part I of The Death of Arnold Rothstein

Location: 135 2nd Avenue, Stuyvesant Polyclinic

Status: Landmarked


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?


Rothstein’s Family

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.


Stuyvesant Polyclinic

A historic plaque on the landmarked polyclinic today.


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.


Rothstein Death Map

Rothstein would die of a gunshot wound in the Stuyvesant Polyclinic, 135 2nd Ave.


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.

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Arnold Rothstein was shot here in 1928.

Location: 870 7th Ave., The Park Central Hotel

Status: Standing

Doubled over with blood trickling down his leg and his hand pressed over his bloodied groin, Arnold Rothstein, kingpin of the New York underworld made famous again by Boardwalk Empire, groped his way through the carpeted hallways of the Park Central Hotel before collapsing in front of the service entrance.


Arnold Rothstein The Brain of Broadway


Known variously as the Brain of Broadway, the Wolf and the Big Bankroll, Rothstein was the grease that made Broadway go. A tight lipped introvert who loved silence as much as he loved his bankroll, a two inch thick stack of hundreds, Rothstein was a pool shark, a card shark, a bootlegger and a multi-millionaire who mentored a legion of hoodlums, like Frank Costello, Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and Legs Diamond.


Arnold Rothstein

Gangsters called multi-millionaire Arnold Rothstein the Brain of Broadway for his sharp-calculating mind.


The Wolf produced Broadway shows and owned hotels and drove a Rolls Royce, but now he was nothing more than another sucker bleeding to death on 55th Street with a .38 caliber slug drilled through his crotch. The New York Times would call it “the Crime of The Century.”

As the ambulance rushed Rothstein to the Stuyvesant Polyclinic, the police began ticking through the list of suspects and quickly realized; the real question was who didn’t want Arnold dead.


The Mother of All Card Games: Rothstein’s Bad Day


The Brain’s troubles started on September 27th at a floating five card stud game hosted at 161 West 54th Street in Jimmie Meehan’s home in the Congress Apartments. The $500 anty high-stakes game was organized by George “Hump” McManus, a mobbed-up goon, with one brother in the clergy and another on the force. But unfortunately for Rothstein, the fix was in.


Map of the Death of Arnold Rothstein

Armold Rothstein was shot at the Park Central Hotel after failing to repay card debts for a poker game at 161 West 54th Street.


Golf hustling and poker playing legend, Titanic Thompson had setup the game and was planning to take Rothstein for a ride.  The play was fast and furious. 13 hours later the Brain of Broadway emerged from 161 West 54th bleary eyed and $350,000 dollars poorer.

He had no intention of paying his I.O.Us. As far as he was concerned, he had been swindled.

Arnold Rothstein Card Game

The thirteen-hour five card stud game that broke the Big Bankroll was held here at the Congress Apartments, 161 West 54th Street.

And How Rothstein Squawked


According to the game’s host, Jimmy Meehan:

He was not a good looser. He always wanted to win…he would clean up a million or maybe two million and say goodnight boys and blow. But, oh boy, when they took him over the jumps, how he squawked.


As the game’s organizer, McManus was responsible for the payment of the dough. After a month non-payment, the Hump holed up in room 349 of the Park Central Hotel with a small posse of gorillas.

He phoned Lindy’s Delicatessen, Rothstein’s official headquarters, demanding that the Brain come to the hotel at once. Damon Runyon reportedly overheard Rothstein bark:


McManus wants me over at the Park Central. This won’t take long.


The Hump’s Revenge

It would be impossible to know what really happened in room 349 that night, but a gun went off blowing a hole through Rothstein’s spleen and bladder. The Hump split town, and New Yorkers would wake up to the Crime of the Century.

Click to read part two of The Death of Arnold Rothstein.

Arnold Rothstein

Gangsters called multi-millionaire Arnold Rothstein the Brain of Broadway for his sharp-calculating mind.

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