A Look Into New York’s Seedy Past
Author Richard Zacks on his new book, “Island of Vice”.
- Duration 8:16
- Date Mar 14, 2012
Author Richard Zacks on his new book, “Island of Vice”.
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-- -- So island -- buyers alone there's about one.
It's about Teddy Roosevelt trying to clean -- sin city New York in the 1890s I mean we think Vegas.
Is kind of an evil place New York just puts -- to -- or 30000 prostitutes were walking around opium dens gambling parlors all of it illegal.
Mostly Irish cops taken kickbacks in order Politico it would it was an amazing place that's different than now.
Yeah I think the processor counts down a little the casinos are legally OT big you know.
The stolen so what was the roosevelts rolled -- -- -- -- board position that he hold them.
And he was police commissioner or -- there yeah he was police commissioner and he thought to.
That he would enforce all the laws breakdown -- ever there was a five mile per hour speed limit for horses man Roosevelt was enforced there was -- -- littering I mean it was it's almost like a -- take a Harvard educated guy impediment to new York and and haven't -- enforce all the rules it's.
-- so what were some of the things are going on.
Some of the some of the vice has gone on.
Well first it's a glory side we think of condition is -- all this kind of stuff and non Jewish immigrants.
That was the discount brothel section of the city you know you could save money on cancer could save money I don't want -- you know there were 150 brothels and -- nine square block area fifty cents was the price then.
I'm madam -- Cohen on 478 -- and street and then there was the -- -- -- section of this it would today's NYU was the French brothel section.
And they had -- French circuses which were sex acts in -- sex shows -- sure and tenderloin.
You know so -- wanted to claim an open -- declines pushed short.
To have done or drama symposium and elsewhere sports and other than a table -- -- in his various activities.
What's kind of a perfect timing for Saint Patrick's Day he was doing pretty well shutting down some of these things for awhile.
And then he decided to enforce a law against drinking in saloons on Sundays.
And it was a law on the books that known and enforced for literally since -- civil war and Roosevelt decided I'm gonna stop the corruption by enforcing it.
The city went nuts there were parades against Roosevelt 30000.
In the streets holding banners send send Roosevelt back to Russia and the police are back to Russia.
Because they wanted to do they work six days away they wanted to be -- on Sunday so where is America to.
William L strong he was a reform -- That saw Doug did did he appoint to.
When did he appoint -- Roosevelt and he expected to you know reform the city rose I was very popular in the beginning -- midnight ramble with -- -- they.
They woke up cops I mean -- these great cartoons of Roosevelt swing -- -- night stick to the bottoms of the -- the cops -- Romero.
Cops could -- the arrest anyone for disorderly conduct could -- a woman for soliciting.
The city was really ready for someone to defy these bullies these cops they love the idea of five foot eight inch Roosevelt stand and up to the cops the problem was.
That he took it too far with were taken away the Vieira on Sunday and you know it's too much I -- delay on Tyrone Russian -- -- not -- There's an immortal island of -- -- instinct.
Pol wanna fascinating.
Historical figure Roosevelt -- because.
We're talking with doctor Franklin has bought the world.
Which -- a whole -- Norman talk about overdone.
Obama then just -- insanity included -- are although some authors are different anointed wanna mention although alters.
And embarked on -- firemen the bond market and our archive betterment some of these things into an election -- -- -- There was also -- system.
In relation pretentious or more pretentious people and -- -- doctors.
And our site harbor for example or Jonathan rushed to come -- New Orleans that a book fair -- And then Doris Kearns Goodwin should -- -- -- Morgan.
-- runs -- Theodore Roosevelt what now all right right now as we speak but having probably enough -- of those you -- you know dorsal and now and -- -- -- -- collection.
A so what ultimately happened here.
Well we're what every which emerged -- -- -- -- It's a good story -- there's has got a big build every -- polish and Irish tough police guy any calls like that trans the guys who cross dressing gulls and degenerates and the he says you ever get caught you know nothing.
-- looks like he's been indicted four times looks like he's not gonna get anywhere he gets reinstated into the police department Roosevelt.
Basically starts campaigning for McKinley -- goes on to be assistant secretary of navy.
And every comes in and just opens the city reopens the city device completely and the little bit -- trivia that I love about every.
Is he was a co-founder.
Of the New York Yankees.
Along with a bookie name frank Farrell demery bought the struggling team in 1903 Baltimore -- York the union have a name.
And eventually became the New York Yankees -- -- -- thrown out you know the first -- What what got your -- soon in this particular aspect.
Well I got a -- came at a more from vice than Roosevelt in knowing there 1890s vice I mean these brothels -- circuses gambling joints all that and then when I found -- he was commissioner.
-- the standard wisdom and most biographies is the Roosevelt succeeded that he came and he he cleaned up the corruption he taught them how to shoot he.
He just purified new York and then the more you look into -- you find out that it's been a big white wash.
So when he left to cities opened up again.
Completely all the golden rule who who'll ultimately -- and.
I'd say LaGuardia gets gets a big credit and our.
But the city doesn't ever really get -- think about it we go through cycles we got Serpico and mollen commission and we just have cycles of vice I mean New Yorkers don't wanna be cleaned up former got a big prosecutors -- -- -- right columnists are -- -- Manhattan madam.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- It's the same thing happen in the 1890s -- to every when he got the eleventh precinct down -- -- -- what did he -- He visited all the -- -- said any 500 bucks up front.
I want fifty bucks a month you'll do it through my bag man -- this thinks plan and battle of the -- Specter and the sphinx.
And -- it's -- same -- in this story only broke because of -- IAD investigate system break as a brothels as brokers the police were caught.
You know messing around.
Others say much of some.
Go on on all the homeless woman.
Hello Rikers Island terminal bond.
Yeah I think it's excessive and I think.
There's a huge ship -- receive about prostitution mean -- you -- do is get the back page dot com of the village voice that I'm given them -- -- but.
Though prostitute ads are there -- -- the police cracking down every single make in the phone calls.
We do they allow.
But because you know about all -- -- What do you suspects up to bottom of this.
Two million dollar bond of this woman -- some some -- worker and as the -- and there's a bigger fish -- -- Maybe it's a bigger fish maybe it's to scare her about the black book you know they always talk about black books and all her client list -- assist with -- fair gun her not to release -- -- not to even think -- releasing and all eyes sanction that is some.
Meant to go up to -- -- announced commissions and interest -- can -- 2000 dollars a thorough.
You know could be produced from high ranking Saudi officials and -- to thank when -- governor Paterson maybe.
-- -- Our daughter Paris and -- and I've got to money causing.
Hopefully not -- on now bottle burning but never -- -- we're gonna radio local radio show here in New York City yes.
On front of remember -- blocking minority -- -- -- -- all are some.
Yes he has his management L Walton nobody's listening to -- on the oatmeal -- status while all -- device.
Commercial Zacks insults -- -- thanks you know what -- -- -- -- an 1890s there was ten dollars per night that was really expensive when it was so.
Well -- -- so what do you plan down.
How and my wife's in the studio thanks a lot of Richard is actually author of it was a Barbara called our home buyer -- they're dead -- number three room and this is a fascinating American account on vice and it tonight -- -- there are sitting.