A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 08, 2006
Hanging for murder is played out in New York
"Hanging for murder is played out in New York" is a phrase associated with the Tombs prison in early 1870.


2 April 1970, Punchinello, pp. 3-4:
PUNCHINELLO will only add that he would at any time rather suspend the public plunderers than habeas corpus, and that he means to take the gloss off the grim joke that "Hanging for murder's played out in New-York."

October 1870, Old and New, "The Lessons of the MacFarland Trial," pg. 477:
In fact, because of the uncertainty as to the character of the punishment, and because of the still greater uncertainty as to conviction, to which we shall refer more particularly in a moment, in some of our great cities (notably New York and Brooklyn) murder has rapidly grown to be a crime of appalling frequency. It was scarcely an idle boast that was made by Reynolds recently, in the former city, that "hanging for murder was played out in New York."

26 February 1881, National Police Gazette, "THE TOMBS/ Its History, Romances and Mysteries/ CHAPTER XVII HANGING NOT PLAYED OUT," pg. 3:
"Hang him! hang him!" shouted the mob.

Then Reynolds turned round and said sneeringly, "Hanging is played out in New York!"

(...)
Mr. William F. Howe was assigned as counsel for Reynolds. He made a masterly defence, striving to prove that his client was insane; but it was of no avail. The trial lasted three days, and Reynolds was found guilty of murder in the first degree. He was sentenced to be hanged on the 8th day of April, and was taken back to prison amid the execrations of the mob. He found that hanging was not played out in New York on the day set, and went to the gibbet whimpering like a flogged hound.


Posted by Barry Popik
Names/Phrases • (0) Comments • Sunday, January 08, 2006 • Permalink