Home of 'Louie' & 'Gyp'

756 Woodward, 1912
(Library of Congress)

I have come across this photo a number of times and always wondered where the Brighton Hand Laundry was and who “Louie” and “Gyp” were. The answer, it turns out, is easily found via Google. Louis “Lefty Louis” Rosenberg and Harry “Gyp the Blood” Horowitz were members of the Lenox Avenue Gang, predominantly Jewish crew from Harlem. Along with three other accomplices, Horowitz and Rosenberg were put to death at Sing Sing in 1914 for the murder of Herman Rosenthal, a Manhattan gambler who had run afoul of a crooked policeman (Becker, the policeman, also was given the death penalty for his role in the murder). Horowitz and Rosenberg, along with three accomplices, were hired to kill Rosenthal and carried out the deed in July, 1912 in front of the Hotel Metropole on 43rd Street in Manhattan. The three accomplices were quickly rounded up, but Horowitz and Rosenberg went on the lam, first in the Catskills and then in Ridgewood, Queens. After a two-month search, the pair was tracked down to an apartment at 756 Woodward Avenue in “Ridgewood Heights”. (Ridgewood Heights was booming at the time - according to this 1911 Times article, it was a “ready market for small apartment houses”.)

The Woodward, 1912
(Library of Congress)

At the time of their capture 756 Woodward was the only building along the block of Woodward between Madison and Woodbine. In the vacant lots to the west sat The Woodward, an outdoor movie theater (motion pictures were just becoming commercially viable in the early 1910s, and many of the earliest theaters were outdoor venues such as this). Horowitz and Rosenberg were tracked down, in part, because police had a tip that they lived above a laundry and were able to watch movies from their fire escape. Outdoor theaters were common enough at this time that it took the police awhile to track the pair down to this apartment above this laundry next to this outdoor theater.






Brooklyn Eagle, September 15, 1912


756 Woodward today