A Fine Man Once Said:

"Part of the 10 million I spent on gambling, part of it on booze, and part of it on women. The rest I spent foolishly."

- George Raft

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Man Uptown: A Jazz-Age Autopsy

Much has been written about the criminal mastermind Arnold Rothstein, his fondness for subdued but well-made clothing, as well as his penchant for educating his underworld acolytes in matters pertaining to the cloth, among other things. Here, then, is a description of the Great Brain's attire at the time of the shooting that took place at the Park Central Hotel in midtown, which ultimately proved fatal for Rothstein. The notes are from the autopsy of Dr. Charles Norris, first chief medical examiner of New York City at the time of Rothstein's death in 1927, and were reprinted in Nick Tosches excellent piece on Rothstein, "A Jazz Age Autopsy," which appeared in the May 2005 edition of Vanity Fair. You can find the full article here.


High tan shoes, marked Robert Whyte, 38 West 45th Street, New York.

Fancy multicolored tie. Label: F. Georges, Boulevard Des Capucines, Paris, France.

Blue Garters. Lisle socks with white feet.

Turned down blue Lane 15 1/2 collar, laundry mark 2633 (covered with dry vomitus).

Blue coat with red pinstripes. Label: Wm. Wallach, New York. (With vomitus on the collar and shoulders.) There is a single hole just below the front edge of the lower pocket. No flares. Trousers of the same material. On the right side, upper portion, there is also a hole which passes through the label of the tailor attached to the pocket: Wm. Wallach, New York, New York Custom Tailor. Arnold Rothstein, 10/29/27.

Silk shirt. Label: Harry Beck, Custom Shirt Manufacturer. With the initials A.R. and a hole in a corresponding position.

Rothstein, of course, knew the game and took his chances like everyone else. Nevertheless, there is something sad about a dandy who has had his new suit damaged beyond repair after acquiring it from the tailor less than a month ago.


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