Museum of American Gangster
It is a place that many native New Yorkers don't even know exists. And now we are bringing it to you. Step into the Museum of the American Gangster and explore artifacts, guns, smuggling tunnels and much more in this exclusive travel video.
This Mobster Museum Was Once One of New York City’s Most Notorious Speakeasies
Lorcan Otway, owner and operator of the Museum of the American Gangster, was 10 years old when he used to dig out the basement of 80 St. Mark's Place. He and his father, who had bought the property from gangster Walter Sheib, were exploring the new house at that time.
In a space next to the beer cooler they found a safe. When they opened it, surprise: there was US$2 million in cash. The family kept none of the money. Sheib hauled it away in a duffel bag to launder through Eastern Europe. However, this brush with the wiseguy life kicked off Otway's obsession with lawlessness.
The Gangster Museum deals with violent scoundrels and the cops who chased or helped them. There's the death mask of Dillinger, bullets from the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Tommy guns, scale models of rum runner speedboats and race cars.
Get to know this museum is an interesting activity. With luck, you might get a personal tour of the rest of the building where the museum's owner has lived for decades. Downstairs is the theater his father created, and the Cuban mahogany bat that made Walter Sheib filthy rich in the 1920s. Further down are the ancient foundations of a Dutch farmhouse.
"For people who worry that the East Village has lost its flavor, Lorcan Otway is your man," says T.M.Rives, author of the book 'Secret New York – An Unusual Guide.'