NYPD Guided Tour: Crooks, Gangs and the Mafia
New York, New York, USA
- Insider info: You'll pound the streets guided by a retired NYPD officer or detective with great stories to tell – in a group small enough to make it easy to ask questions about life and crime in the city. You'll also get a personal take on crimes your group leader's own career put them in the middle of.
- The dark side: Learn the turbulent history of domestic and immigrant gangs – Irish, Italian, Chinese, and others – as you explore their home turf in Lower Manhattan.
- Get the full "crimeline": See how the stories fit together in time, from the Five Points Gang made famous in Gangs of New York to Mafia-controlled Little Italy, the blood-soaked turf wars in Chinatown, and the modern white-collar criminals of Wall Street.
About This New York Tour
Admit it, the very idea of prowling some of Gotham's meanest streets with an ex-NYPD cop packs a thrill.
Exploring neighborhoods once home to a who's who of notorious criminals, you'll be privy to expertly spun tales of Lower Manhattan's rule by a succession of bad guys spanning the full gamut of America's melting-pot history.
You'll see the tenements where immigrants lived in subhuman conditions. The most notorious concentration of all was in Five Points – a junction so infamous for gang crime that Dickens himself came to check it out, not believing it could live up to its reputation.
It did. Resourceful and ruthless, rival Five Points gangs warred constantly and made the streets a Wild West-style shooting gallery for decades. To gain advantage (and safe cover), some even operated from under-street burrows.
In the early 20th century, Little Italy's "Black Hand" syndicates took over the crime headlines as they put a choke hold on booze, drug, gambling, and other rackets – while selling expensive protection to mom-and-pop businesses just looking to survive.
Yet no matter how murderous things got among mafia families, those conflicts were modest compared to the bloody turf wars that raged in Chinatown a few decades ago.
Sure, the streets have been cleaned up considerably today. But that's just shifted the crime to other places. Like the trading desks of the Financial District, where modern thugs wreak havoc with buy orders, not bullets. (Think Wolf of Wall Street.)
Because in crime, as in so many things, New York refuses to be anything but the leader.
The tradition of criminality in Five Points goes all the way back to the early 1800s, when it was the Forty Thieves wreaking havoc down here. This gang of Irish thugs and pickpockets – led by one Edward Coleman, a cad later hanged for beating his wife to death – was reported to have daily theft minimums: Nick your quota or face expulsion. In a stroke of entrepreneurial foresight, the Thieves even created a mentoring program for juvenile apprentices.
Please make your way to the sidewalk in front of Fraunces Tavern, 54 Pearl St (at Broad St.).
As in many cities, keep your wallet or purse secured and leave the bling behind.
In need of retail therapy after your tour? Your guide can advise you where to go in search of that "must have" souvenir to take home. Be sure to have some local currency and a backpack for all your great buys.
Plan to stand or walk for the duration of the tour. You'll need to keep up with the pace of the group on busy sidewalks. This tour is not suitable for travelers with limited mobility or those who utilize a wheelchair.
Walking Tour, Cultural
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Recommended to travelers 10 years of age and older. This tour may not be suitable for young children, as subject matter may be graphic and disturbing. Parental guidance is suggested.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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