Short Tails

The Short Tails also known as the Short Tail Gang for their distinctive short tailed jacket coats[1] were an 1880s-1890s Irish gang located in the Corlear's Hook section of the Lower East Side on Rivington street in the vicinity of Mangin and Goerck streets of Manhattan, in New York City. The Eastman Gang were also headquartered around Corlear's Hook and may have had its beginnings as a break away gang of the Short Tail Gang. The Short Tails along with rival gangs the Daybreak Boys, Patsy Conroy Gang, Swamp Angels, and Hook Gang worked the New York City waterfront plundering ships of their cargo on the East River.[2][3] The Short Tail Gang was photographed in 1887, under a pier by noted photographer Jacob Riis, being one of the few 19th century New York gangs to allow its members to be photographed. In fear of being identified and arrested by the law, usually individual police mug shots were the only criminal pictures known to exist.

Short Tails
Short Tails Gang Riis.jpg
Short Tail Gang under a pier in Corlear's Hook, at the end of Jackson Street the Lower East Side, Manhattan, in New York City photographed in 1887 by noted photographer Jacob Riis was one of the rarest images of a group of 19th century New York criminal gang members other than individual police mug shots.
Founding locationLower East Side, Manhattan, New York City
Years active1880s-1890s
TerritoryCorlear’s Hook, Manhattan, New York city
EthnicityIrish American
Membership (est.)?
Criminal activitiesarmed robbery, theft
AlliesEastman Gang
RivalsDaybreak Boys, Patsy Conroy Gang, Swamp Angels, Hook Gang
An example of a fashionable short tailed jacket coat of the kind worn by the gang members of the Short Tails.
The Short Tails territory was around Corlear's Hook, Lower East Side, New York City from the 1880s-1890s, in a photograph, circa 1876.

In popular cultureEdit

In the 2014 film Winter's Tale the Short Tails and the Dead Rabbits gangs are featured prominently as well as in the 1983 Mark Helprin novel of the same name.


  1. ^ Raczkowski, Christopher T. 2004. The Unblinking Eye: Vision, Modernity and Detection in American Literature. p. 127.
  2. ^ Harlow, Alvin Fay. Old Bowery Days: The Chronicles of a Famous Street. 1931. p. 188.
  3. ^ Nathan, George Jean and Henry Louis Mencken. 1927. The American Mercury - Volume 12. p. 360.

External linksEdit