||New York| Gang - The East Monks Gang
Birth: Late 1890
Death: Early 1910
The Eastman Gang was the last of New York's street gangs which dominated the cities underworld during the late 1890s until early 1910s. Along with the Five Points Gang under Paul Kelly, the Eastmans succeeded the long dominant Whyos as the first non-Irish street gang to gain prominence in the underworld during the 1890s.
Originally formed under Monk Eastman, a well known bouncer and hired thug, he would spend the next decade establishing a criminal empire in Manhattan's Lower East Side through criminal activities, including prostitution and illegal gambling (specifically operating struss games) as well as later establishing political connections through Tammany Hall. Eventually, the gang became involved in a rivalry with the Five Points Gang warring over both territory and work as political sluggers for Tammany Hall. The Eastmans dominated the gang war during the first year as gang members rallied under Monk Eastman in pitched battles in the streets of New York reminisent of the gangs of the previos century. Eastman's charismatic leadership, who often lead his men into battle, caused many members of the Five Pointers to defect to the Eastmans including Richie Fitzpatrick and Max "Kid Twist" Zwerbach among others. However, as the gang war began to escalate, the gang leaders were forced by Tammany politicians to agree to a truce before losing control of the situation.
Reign of Kid Twist
After Monk Eastman's arrest for a street mugging in 1904, the gang threatened to disintegrate among warring factions all looking to assume leadership of the gang. and by the end of the year, the gang was split between former Eastman lieutenants Max Zwerbach and Richie Fitzpatrick. Threatened by civil war during their war with the Five Pointers, Zwerbach and Fitzpatrick agree to meet for a truce in late 1904. However, possibly while attending a peace conference, Fitzpatrick was found shot to death at a local neighborhood saloon near Sheriff-Chrystie Street on November 1, 1904. With the elimination of the remaining members of the Fitzpatrick faction by Zwerbach lieutenant Vach "Cyclone Louie" Lewis several weeks later, would leave the aptly named Max "Kid Twist" Zwerbach to assume leadership of the Eastmans. He would continue his war against the Five Points Gang on and off during his four year reign however, Paul Kelly was eventually able to arrange the deaths of Zwerbach and Lewis using an altercation with underling Louis "Louie the Lump" Pioggi to set them up for an ambush on May 14, 1908.
Zelig and the final years
Following the deaths of Zwerbach and Lewis, "Big" Jack Zelig took over what remained of the Eastmans. Dividing the gang into three separate factions, with the other two operating as satellite gangs under saloonkeepers Jack Sirocco and Chick Tricker, the two eventually turned on Zelig leaving him behind for the police during a failed armed robbery. The two factions were involved in gun battles throughout the city during the next year and, while a failed attempt on Zelig's life at the hands of Julie Morrell resulted in the assassins death in December 1911, both Sirocco and Tricker would assue control of what was left of the Eastmans after Zelig was killed by "Red" Phil Davidson shortly before his testimony against Charles Becker on October 5, 1912.
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