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.

Recent entries:
“What does the military use acid for?"/"To neutralize the enemy base.” (5/24)
“If I had a dollar for every time someone over 40 told me my generation sucks…” (joke) (5/24)
“Smoking will kill you. Bacon will kill you. But smoking bacon will cure it” (5/24)
“Don’t be yourself. Be a pizza. Everyone loves pizza” (5/24)
“Of course I talk to myself. Sometimes I need expert advice” (5/24)
More new entries...

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Entry from November 15, 2015
Bandits’ Roost (59 Mulberry Street)

"Bandits’ Roost” was located at 59 Mulberry Street. It was destroyed in the 1890s to create Mulberry Bend Park, now known as Columbus Park.

The name “Bandits’ Roost,” after Neapolitan bandit mountaineers, dates from at least 1884.


Wikipedia: Mulberry Bend
Mulberry Bend was an area in the notorious Five Points neighborhood in lower Manhattan, New York City. It is located in what is now Chinatown, Manhattan, on Mulberry Street.

Boundaries
It was bounded by Bayard Street in the north, Cross Street (changed to Park in 1854) in the south, Orange (changed to Baxter in 1854) Street on the west and Mulberry Street on the east. The “Bend” in the street layout was due to the original topography of the area. Orange and Mulberry Streets headed from southeast to northwest then turned north at the “Bend” to avoid the Collect Pond and surrounding low-lying wetland. The present-day Columbus Park occupies The Bend.

Description
Mulberry Bend was one of the worst parts in the Five Points, with multiple back alleyways such as Bandit’s Roost, Bottle Alley and Ragpickers Row. In 1897, due in part to the efforts of Danish photojournalist Jacob Riis, Mulberry Bend was demolished and turned into Mulberry Bend Park. The urban green space was designed by Calvert Vaux. In 1911 it was renamed Columbus Park.

21 January 1884, New York (NY) Herald, pg. 10, col. 3:
KNIFE STABS AND PISTOL SHOTS.
A PITCHED BATTLE OF ITALIANS IN THE “BANDITS’ ROOST.”
In an Italian quarter known as the “Bandits’ Roost,” located in the rear of Nos. 31 to 37 Crosby street, a lively battle took place last night between a number of Italians, which resulted in the probably fatal wounding of one of the combatants and the serious wounding of several others.

8 February 1884, Muscatine (IA) Daily Journal, pg. 4, col. 3:
An Italian quarter in New York ia called the Bandits’ Roost. On account of the fowl air, probably.

Google Books
How the Other Half Lives
By Jacob A. Riis
New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons
1890
Pg. 63:
BANDITS’ ROOST
(Illustration.—ed.)

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
9 June 1895, The World (New York, NY), pg. 3?, col. 1:
PASSING OF THE “BEND.”
Rapid Destruction of the Rookeries Once the Glory of Mulberry Street.
WHERE MURDER WAS ONCE RAMPANT.
Moloney’s Alley, Bandits’ Roose and Bottle Alley Soon to Be More Memories of the Past.
(Co. 2—ed.)
Between Nos. 57 and 59 Mulberry street there is a dark, frowning alley which leads into what is known as Bandits’ Roost. This is surrounded the most dilapidated structures. In the basement of every one of them there was once a stale-beer dive, and it was from there that Capt. McCullagh, by frequent raids, was able to make his record of 8,000 arrests in fourteen months’ service in the Bend.

Bandits’ Roost is the most malodorous spot in all the district, and that it is to be blotted out is a blessing to the neighborhood. It has a record of many murders and robberies.

Chronicling America
16 July 1895, Wichita (KS) Daily Eagle, pg. 7, col. 1:
GOOD BYE, THE BEND
NEW YORK’S WORST SLUM SOON TO BE DEMOLISHED.
Mulberry Bend’s History of Bloodshed. The Unsavory Record of Bandits’ Roost. Its Latest and Most Horrible Crime—A Park Will Take Its Place.
(...)
And here at 59 is Bandits’ Roost, so named in all seriousness after the Neapolitan bandit mountaineers who found refuge there when driven across the sea. They are gone now. The last one died in his boots, like most of his comrades. No particular record was ever kept of their fights.
(...)
Bandits’ Roost is trying to do what it can to atone for its bad past in those last days of its existence. For the moment, with its dark cellar ways and filthy stable lanes, it has actually turned itself into a church. An altar has been erected at the end of it, in honor of the feast of St. Rocco, and made with gaudy soiled ribbons, colored paper and a dozen tallow dips stuck in bottle necks and tin candlesticks.
(...)
-- New York Sun.

Chronicling America
10 July 1898, The Sun (New York, NY), pg. 8, col. 1:
BOTTLE ALLEY’S CRIMES.
THE ALLEY NOW PART OF MULBERRY BEND PARK.
(Col. 3 illustration.—ed.)
PASSAGE LEADING TO THE BANDITS’ ROOST.

Google Books
May 1899, The Atlantic Monthly, “The Battle with the Slum” by Jacob A. Riis, pg. 631:
We bought the slum off in the Mulberry Bend at its own figure. On the rear tenements we set the price, and it was low. It was a long step. Bottle Alley is gone, and Bandits’ Roost. Bone Alley, Thieves’ Alley, and Kerosene Row, — they are all gone. Hell’s Kitchen and Poverty Gap have acquired standards of decency; Poverty Gap has risen even to the height of neckties.

Google Books
Early New York Houses:
With Historical & Genealogical Notes

By William Smith Pelletreau
New York, NY: Francis P. Harper, Publisher
1900
Pg. 168:
Bandits Roost “ was a wretched locality, it was an opening between Nos. 57-59 Mulberry street. Never a week passed but that an arrest for some heinous crime was made in “Bandits Roost.”

Google Books
A King in Rags
By Cleveland Moffett
New York, NY: D. Appleton and Company
1907
Pg. 150:
“And there were slaughter-houses everywhere; and fat-boilers; and such vile tenements that— They’re all gone now, “Bone Alley,’ and ‘Kerosene Row,’ and the ‘Big Flat,’ in Mott Street, and ‘Bandits’ Roost,’ but I tell you it was worth a man’s life to go past them at night. Now you can go anywhere.”

Google Books
Eyes of a Gypsy
By John Murray Gibbon
Toronto, ON: Methuen
1926
Pg. 89:
It was idle to argue with him that conditions were not so bad as they used to be, that now there was less crime — that Kerosene Row, Mulberry Bend, Cat Alley, Mott Street Barracks, Murderers’ Alley, the Bandit’s Roost and a dozen other dens of vice have been wiped out—that the Big Flat and the Jersey Street Rookeries were now converted into factories — that Suicide Hall and the Bucket of Blood were only memories.

Google Books
Men Along the Shore
By Maud Russell
New York, NY: Brussel & Brussel
1966
Pg. 97:
The colorful, if unflattering, names of slum streets — Bottle Alley, Bone Alley, Bandits’ Roost, Thieves’ Alley, Kerosene Row — were being given more sedate and probably less accurate titles.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityStreets • Sunday, November 15, 2015 • Permalink