Sunday, October 28, 2007

Not Necessarily This Day In Knickerbocker Village History, June 22, 1926

Photo: The Newsboy Lodging House on Duane Street, near the site of the Oak Street Police Station
ARREST TWO PUPILS crying black hand Boy Truants Dashing Through Halls of P. S. 177 Caught: The cry of "Black Hand," this time is traced directly to two fourteen year old boys playing "hookey" from another school, failed yesterday to cause the intended panic at Public School 177 at Monroe and Market Streets. Due partly to the fact that their shouts were only faintly heard and partly to warnings given previously to teachers and pupils by Miss Mary Brady, the principal, only a few school children showed excitement. - Public School 177 is one of the three which figured in Black Hand scares on the lower east side last Thursday. At that time some forty mothers, frightened by tales of an earlier panic at Public School 65. went to Miss Brady and demanded their children. Police aid was necessary to keep them outside the building, but classes were continued as usual. Yesterday morning Benjamin Pontana of 6 Monroe Street and Tony Marsicano of 42 Oak Street Sr, instead of going to their own school, P. S. 114, dashed into the playground or P. S. 177, shouting, "Look out, Black Hand!" Not satisfied with the response, they raced through the first floor corridor continuing their cries. Joseph Borkoski, the school janitor, chased the boys out while a few children in classes upstairs went to the windows. The janitor pursued the boys toward the East River. They were caught near Catherine Slip by Patrolman Charles Rayfield of the Oak Street Station and arrested, charged with juvenile delinquency. Justice Samuel D. Levy in Children's Court remanded the two boys to the custody of the Children's Society for a hearing June 23. When Borkoski indicated he did not want to press the charge against the boys, Justice Levy said, "What's the matter? , Ah you afraid of that neighborhood? I advise you to press the complaint. Otherwise you are more likely to have trouble with the boys there." Police Commissioner McLaughtin said later that he believed the school teachers were handling the situation capably with the cooperation the police gave in watching for disturbers and stopping the sale of Black Hand lollypops, the manufacture of which ceased. "But if the educational authorities want the police to go into the schools and lecture to the children." he said, "I shall be glad to consent to reach an arrangement ." At the office of Dr. William O'Shea Superintendent of Schools, it was said the order stopping leaves of absences to all elementary school teachers would be continued while the possibility of panic remained. The order would be in force until the end of the term, it was indicated. Published: June 22,1926

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