Charles Becker moved in 1888 from Sullivan County to NYC where he first worked as job as a Bowery bartender and bouncer. Through friendship with gang leader Monk Eastman, Becker met Tammany boss Big Tim Sullivan who in 1893 facilitated Becker joining NYPD.

In 1910, when Police Commissioner Rhinelander Waldo set up task forces to break up Lower Manhattan street gangs, Becker headed one of those squads. It duties were expanded to crack down on West Side gambling houses. Instead, Becker shook down casino operators and put one of Eastman's successors, Jack Zelig, in charge of collections. Zelig's "boys" included Harry "Gyp the Blood" Horowitz whose close buddies included "Lefty Louie" Rosenberg, "Dago Frank" Cirofici and Jacob Seidenshner aka Whitey Lewis.

With Big Tim Sullivan's blessing, Herman “Beansy” Rosenthal in 1912 Rosenthal a gambling house called The Hesper Club at 104 W. 45th St. When illness put Sullivan out of the picture, Rosenthal and Becker's relationship turned hostile with Beansy complaining to Tammany Hall about the corrupt cop's greediness.

After a Becker-led raid shut down the Hesper Club, Rosenthall gave the New York World newspaper the lowdown on Becker's graft operation and began talks with the office of Manhattan DA Charles Whitman. Two days after publication of the story and only hours after meeting with DA investigators, Beansy was gunned down in front of the Cafe Metropole on W. 43rd St. at 2 a.m. July 16, 1913.

On Oct. 5, 1913 Zelig, who reputed arranged the hit at Becker's behest, was murdered on a 2nd Ave. streetcar a few days before he was supposed to testify at the disgraced cop's trial. Lt. Becker was convicted of ordering the hit on Rosenthal. Early the following year Gyp the Blood, Lefty Rosenberg, Dago Frank and Whitey Lewis were convicted of carrying it out.

On Feb. 24, 1914, the state's top court overturned Becker's conviction, citing bias by trial judge John W. Goff and ordered a new trial. But Becker was reconvicted at the second trial presided over by Judge Samuel Seabury, known for his fairness.

The four shooters of Beansy were executed at Sing Sing April 13, 1914. The cop who contracted for the hit was executed there July 15, 1915. Ironically, it was the same chair Becker had joking sat in during a visit to Sing Sing years before.

Lt. Charles Becker image from promo card for Ron Arons' lecture The Jews of Sing Sing at Temple

NYCHS webmaster notes beneath image.

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NYCHS board member Judy Berdy, who is administrator at the Skirball Center for Adult Jewish Learning at Temple Emanu-El, suggested NYCHS website readers might be interested in the subject matter of Ron Arons' April 25 lecture sponsored by the Bernard Museum of Judaica & Stettenheim Library at Temple Emanu-El.

Judy also is president of the Roosevelt Island Historical Society.

This presentation is a follow-up on her suggestion.

Elizabeth F. Stabler, Temple Emanu-El librarian, provided the photo postcard announcing the lecture.

Ron Arons, who designed the postcard, took the photos of the guard tower and Cell Block A. He credits the "illustrations of the various tortures" and the electric chair photo to "the Ossining Community Center."

The format for this web presentation was designed by the NYCHS webmaster whose own research notes appear on the left below the image.