Wow! American Gangsters!

May 24, 2016

1 Comment

It seems we are all fascinated
by tales of prohibition and
the mystique of the speakeasy.
Here’s an interesting way to take
a closer look at this historical era.


Recently, I was given a newsletter that is published by an elite Ivy League private club here in New York. As I was reading through the events section, I saw this, “Here’s Your Chance to Take a Tour of the American Gangster Museum.”


What on earth is that I said to myself?

It turns out that it’s located at 80 St. Marks Place -- near First Avenue. After a web search I came across a restaurant that was suggested for museum visitors. There was only one thing: the copy said that it was located on St. Marks near Avenue A.

Let me explain about Avenue A. Back in the day, saying you were walking to Avenue A was akin to saying you were planning to visit Mars. No one went there. And, if you said you were driving, you’d be asked who was riding shotgun.

All that has changed, so we decided on a 2:30 pm tour at the American Gangster Museum. The place itself is only two rooms: a back and front room where one enters, plus a speakeasy (with a bar that’s been there since 1922) and a cellar where one has to wear a plastic hardhat because the ceiling is so low.

The tour began in the back room where the tour leader, Jessica, gave us fascinating facts about Prohibition. For example, many believed “The whole darn world will go dry.” This feeling was so pervasive that the Yale Club bought a 30-year supply of booze.

From 1920 to 1933 you could not make, transfer or sell liquor BUT you could still drink it – if you could find and afford it. Before Prohibition a shot of whiskey was 15 cents, afterwards it was raised to 75 cents. You could also buy it from your doctor (like medical marijuana today).

Moving on, we all went into the front room that has photos of American gangsters. One wall is for famous Jewish ones, such as Arnold Rothstein who fixed the 1919 World Series and was the inspiration for Meyer Wolfsheim, the shady character that appears in Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

The other walls feature Italian and Irish gangsters such as Bugsy Siegal, Lucky Luciano, and Al Capone who, it is said, was behind the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929 where seven men were shot (as they lined up with their hands on the wall) by two gangsters who were dressed as cops.

The lineup of crooks in this room goes right up to Henry Hill, the mobster behind the Lufthansa heist at JFK in 1978 (which still stands as the biggest cash robbery on American soil). Hill, played by Ray Liotta, is one of the characters in the movie Goodfellas.

The gangsters’ weapon of choice

After getting the lowdown on all these crooks we headed to the speakeasy and the cellar. The tour lasts over an hour. When it ended, we went to St. Dymphnas, the restaurant I mentioned earlier, at 118 St. Marks Place, where we had a delicious dinner of fish and chips accompanied by two glasses of wine each.  This was a perfect end to a fun day.

By Shaun Nelson-Henrick


Our tops are perfect for spring – and going into summer. Check us out. You won’t be disappointed.

1 Response

Karen Armitage
Karen Armitage

May 29, 2016

Must visit this fascinating little museum on my next trip to New York.
Thanks for the tip.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Blog

The Invasion of the Brit Tabloid

October 22, 2020

I just read an article that sounded – to me at least – like “a canary in a coal mine” or an early warning of danger. This piece, written by Joe Pompeo, appeared in the May 2020 issue of Vanity Fair magazine with the title “The British Tabloid Invasion” and a subtitle that read, “How the Daily Mail is conquering American gossip.”

Invasion of the Brit Tabloid

The paparazzi horde, La Dolce Vita, 1960 – photo courtesy of Vanity Fair

Read More

Are You Sleeping Well?

October 14, 2020

Apparently the good old U.S. is a nation of “not great” sleepers. Really? And I thought I was the only one! According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it was revealed that one out of three Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. Yikes!

Sleep Study and Quiz

Read More

Magical Hermès

October 06, 2020

I think we’re all taken by the incredible mystique of the famous French fashion house, Hermès that has been with us for two centuries and is still owned and operated by the same family. From its beginnings in fine equestrian leather goods, they are – in the tumultuous year 2020 – best known for their handbags and many other items.

Hermès Catalog Cover

My image of Hermès has always been rarified products at equally rarified prices so imagine my surprise when I recently received a very stylish publication of theirs in the mail.

Read More

Size Chart

We use Italian lingerie sizing  for our bodywear and items tend to run small.

Because of the body-hugging nature of the fabric and our body conscious fit most women prefer to wear our layering tops as under-layers. If you are inclined to wear them on their own we suggest you size up. Please contact us. We're happy to help you get it right.

 Bodywear Size Chart

Net Orders Checkout

Item Price Qty Total
Subtotal $ 0.00

Shipping Address

Shipping Methods