The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation

The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation

Was he New York City's last pirate...or its first gangster? This is the true story of the bloodthirsty underworld legend who conquered Manhattan, port by port--for fans of Gangs of New York and Boardwalk Empire.

Albert Hicks was a feared, shadowy figure of the New York underworld in the mid-1800s. Handsome and charismatic, he was known to frequent the dive bars and gin joints of the Five Points, the most dangerous neighborhood in maritime Manhattan. For years, he operated out of the public eye, rambling from crime to crime, working on the water, in ships, sleeping in the nickel-a-night flops, drinking in barrooms where rat-baiting and bear-baiting were great entertainments.

Hicks's criminal career reached its peak in 1860, when he was hired, under an alias, as an extra hand on an oyster sloop. His plan was to rob the ship, make his getaway, and disappear in the teeming streets of lower Manhattan, as he'd done numerous times before. But the plan went awry, and the voyage turned into a massacre. In the straits of Coney Island, on a foggy night, the ghost sloop, adrift and unmanned, was rammed by another vessel. When police boarded the ship to investigate, they found blood and gore everywhere, no bodies, only the grisly signs of struggle. A manhunt was launched for the mysterious merchant seaman on the manifest.

Long fascinated by gangster legends, Rich Cohen tells the story of this notorious underworld figure for the first time, from his humble origins to his incarnation as a demon who terrorized the Five Points and became the gangster most feared by other gangsters, at a time when pirates anchored off of 14th street.

Title:The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation
ISBN:9780399589928
Format Type:

    The Last Pirate of New York: A Ghost Ship, a Killer, and the Birth of a Gangster Nation Reviews

  • Heidi The Reader

    A fantastic and non-fiction account of Albert Hicks, the last man to be publicly executed in New York City and also one of the last to be tried and convicted for piracy. For fans of history, this is a...

  • Faith

    In 1860, a blood spattered ship was found floating off the coast of New York. The only sign of its crew was a few severed fingers. Albert Hicks was arrested, tried and convicted of piracy. He had murd...

  • Andrew

    Cohen is one of my favorite authors-fiction or non-fiction. The Last Pirate of New York is one of his best books and that is high praise. The story of the first(1860) New York Gangster—Albert Hicksâ...

  • Robert Sheard

    The true crime story is compelling, especially Hicks's confession. But he wasn't exactly what we think of when we hear "pirate," and the link to more modern gangsters is tenuous at best. So D+ for the...

  • Bandit

    Once upon a time New York was a land of gangsters and before that…gasp…pirates. Much as I loathe the city, I love a good New York story and this one had a freaking pirate, how do you pass that up?...

  • Diogenes

    Astonishing account of a thief and murderer of as many as a hundred people, hanged as a pirate. Sadly, the book repeats itself so often that it almost tells the tale twice, subtracting from what might...

  • Brandon Cronk

    The story of Albert Hicks was interesting and it was presented in a way that was easy to follow along. My complaint is that the author spends too much time on some aspects of the story and speeds thro...

  • Jenny

    Incredibly well-written and engaging. Most people don’t know piracy was still happening in the US this late into the 19th century. The author paints a vivid picture of the life and crimes of a notor...

  • Casey Wheeler

    The book was well written and researched. The story line about Albert Hicks, a notorious killer and so called pirate, was well done. The author does a good job on the killer and the ghost ship, but gr...

  • Kristin

    Harold Schecter's short, The Pirate tells the whole story of Albert Hicks in 67 pages and felt like it didn't leave much left on the cutting room floor; this book proves it. Hick's crime and trial don...