The last pirate of New York : a ghost ship, a killer, and the birth of a gangster nation / Rich Cohen.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: Documents the story of underworld legend Albert Hicks, chronicling his mid-nineteenth-century crime spree and the plot gone wrong that culminated in an onboard massacre and manhunt in 1860 Coney Island.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "The story of Albert Hicks, the most notorious criminal on the New York waterfront, unfolded in the course of three bloody months in the summer before the Civil War. There was a massacre, a flight, a manhunt, and a trial, all of which kept the nation riveted and remade Hicks, the last pirate of New York, into a celebrated antihero. Handsome and charismatic, Hicks had long been known in the dive bars and gin joints of the Five Points, the most dangerous neighborhood in maritime Manhattan. For years, he operated out of the public eye, rambling from crime to crime, working on the water in ships, sleeping in the nickel-a-night flops, drinking in barrooms where rat-baiting and bear-baiting were great entertainments. His criminal career reached its peak in 1860, when he was hired, under an alias, as a hand on an oyster sloop. His plan was to rob the ship and flee, disappearing into the teeming streets of lower Manhattan, as he'd done numerous times before, eventually finding his way back to his nearsighted Irish immigrant wife (who, like him, had been disowned by her family) and their infant son. But the plan went awry--the ship was found listing and unmanned in the foggy straits of Coney Island--and the voyage that was to enrich him instead led to his last desperate flight. Long fascinated by gangster legends, Rich Cohen tells the story of this notorious underworld figure, from his humble origins to the wild, globe-crossing, bacchanalian crime spree that forged his ruthlessness and his reputation, to his ultimate incarnation as a demon who terrorized lower Manhattan, at a time when pirates anchored off 14th Street."--Dust jacket.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: Over three months in the summer before the Civil War, New York suffered a massacre, a flight, a manhunt, and a trial, all of which kept the nation riveted and remade Albert Hicks, the last pirate of New York, into a celebrated antihero. For years Hicks operated out of the public eye, rambling from crime to crime. In 1860 he was hired, under an alias, as a hand on an oyster sloop. His plan was to rob the ship and disappear into the teeming streets of lower Manhattan. Cohen tells the story of this notorious underworld figure, the crime spree that forged his ruthlessness and his reputation, and his ultimate incarnation as a demon who terrorized lower Manhattan. -- adapted from jacket
    • Content Notes:
      Once upon a time -- The ghost ship --The shore line -- The trial -- The confession -- The execution -- Burial and resurrection.
    • Notes:
      Includes bibliographical references (pages [229]-235).
    • ISBN:
      9780399589928
      0399589929
    • Accession Number:
      2018049488
    • Accession Number:
      on1060178002
      1060178002
    • Accession Number:
      fay.655103

Reviews

Booklist Reviews 2019 May #2

A notorious nineteenth-century adventurer, Albert Hicks came to Lower Manhattan to make his fortune, and he decided that the quickest route to riches lay in crime. Today, it's hard to picture Manhattan with pirates prowling off Fourteenth Street, but 1860 was still a time when young men were drugged and dragged onto vessels to be literally shanghaied. Using an alias, Hicks, already known as a criminal-for-hire, signed on as an oyster boat's first mate. Hardly had the ship sailed when Hicks slaughtered the captain and crew, dumped their bodies overboard, grabbed the valuables, and escaped in a yawl, leaving the ship adrift in the fog. Eventually captured, Hicks was tried and hanged on Bedloe's Island, once New York City's public execution site, now home to the Statue of Liberty. Cohen skillfully narrates Hicks' background, criminal career, and the rough-and-tumble world of New York City on the eve of the Civil War. True-crime stories rarely get much better than this one. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2019 May

Cohen (The Chicago Cubs) presents the story of New York pirate and gangster Albert Hicks, and the teams who led his capture and execution, in rich detail. Hicks was arrested in 1860 for murdering an oyster ship crew; in his possession were artifacts from crew members and laundered money believed to be his motive for the crime. Hicks had attempted to sink the ship, thereby destroying evidence, only to discover later that the "ghost ship" had drifted into New York harbor, creating a fervor throughout the city. Following his trial, Hicks confessed to a life of crime and becoming hardened by the tough conditions he faced in prison as a young adult. Upon his release, he committed himself to a life of adventure and criminal activity, chasing the California gold rush, robbing and killing gold diggers, as well as pirating throughout Latin and South America and New Orleans before heading back to the East Coast where he started a family. The sensation surrounding Hicks enthralled New York and ensured his infamy as one of the city's leading gangsters. VERDICT A thoroughly researched and engaging tale; recommended as an additional purchase for true crime collections.—Mattie Cook, Flat River Community Lib., MI

Copyright 2019 Library Journal.