Gangs of New York

PODCAST: Wrath of the Whyos, vicious gang of New York

The Whyos (pronounced Why-Ohs) were New York’s most notorious gang after the Civil War, organizing their criminal activities and terrorizing law abiding citizens of the Gilded Age. Find out when they lived, how they broke the law and who they were — from Googie Corcoran to Dandy Johnny, as well as two particularly notable guys named Danny.

ALSO: How much does it cost to have somebody’s ear bitten off?






Famed comic creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby had a fascination with early gang life and once illustrated their adventures for a 1947 comic book called Real Clue Crime Stories.


Another artist for the a different issue of the same comic book took a crack at the story of Dandy Johnny Dolan that same year:


Comic art above courtesy the Jack Kirby Museum


A vivid illustration from the New York World, January 23, 1888, outlining the players involved in Danny Driscoll’s murder of Beezy Garrity.

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The violent execution of Driscoll lead the World to run a further article (see the right side of the page) condoning the use of a new form of execution — by electrocution.



Faces of the Whyo Gang: Googy Corcoran, Clops Connolly, Big Josh Hines and Baboon Connolly


Mulberry Bend: The lair of the Whyos (picture by Jacob Riis)



The pulpy cover of Herbert Asbury’s Gangs of New York.


2 replies on “PODCAST: Wrath of the Whyos, vicious gang of New York”

omg no way.. sh71#82&e;d be the worst vamp… it would be ironic, considering her feelings for them but that would just be wayyy out there lol i am pretty impressed they continued to give her such a big storyline in the show, as she was just the annoying background character in the books

If the year was 1889, and someone was Irish and was the leader of a gang referred to as the “Big Flat Boys” hanging out in the area of Elizabeth Street & Hester that sported ties to factions with politic pull (assuming Tammany Hall, no?) what larger gang would they likely have been affiliated with do you think? I’ve also seen clippings that refer to them as the “Mud Flat Boys” gang the “River Flat Boys” gang, but one clipping says, that the big flats were just that, large new apartment buildings built in that area of the 5 Points.

Have an additional question, by that period, had racial tensions between the English and Irish gangs in the 5 Points, calmed a bit, so that an Irish thug would have possibly been trained by a Whyo descent gang member? Or was there never any partner in crime relations that were struct up. Thanks so much!

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