Herbert Asbury’s third chapter of The Gangs of New York does not deal with gangs at all, but instead describes the dance halls and dives of the Fourth Ward (the waterfront of the lower Eastern eastern end of Manhattan) of the 1850s-1870s. It does not take long for Asbury to focus on the Water Street establishments of John Allen, Kit Burns, Charlie Monell, Gallus Mag, Bill Slocum, and Tommy Hadden. Of these, John Allen’s dance hall was the most popular, aided by Allen’s eccentricities, of which his claim to religiosity was the most jarring. Asbury describes the curious events of 1868, which included Allen allowing religious meetings to take place in his dive (during which Allen himself spoke about moral behavior). Soon Allen’s cohorts–Tommy Hadden and Bill Slocum–also allowed the temporary takeover of their establishments by visiting ministers preaching reform.
The motives behind these proselytizing stunts were never revealed, but Asbury relates the suspicion of many contemporary observers that Allen, Hadden, Slocum, et al. were paid by the ministers for the use of their buildings, and that Allen and company profited not only from the rental, but from free publicity–and that publicity was also the motive of the reformers.
As Asbury states, John Allen had been anointed the title “the wickedest man in New York” even before this time. However, once public scrutiny was drawn to Tommy Hadden by the events of 1868, at least one newspaper declared that Hadden was “wickeder than the Wickedest.” The reason for this is easily understood when you consider that Hadden’s other accolade was being named “the king of the shanghaiers.” Hadden ran a grog-shop/sailor’s boarding house at the Water Street address, and later operated a dance hall on Cherry Street. Hadden perfected the craft of drugging the drinks of his sailor customers, conveying them unconscious down to the piers, and supplying them to ship captains needing crews for long voyages, especially to the orient. From the viewpoint of these ship captains, Tommy Hadden was a reliable crew “recruiter” who always delivered what he was asked for.
Between 1856 and 1868, Tommy Hadden was arrested a half-dozen times for kidnapping, and was convicted to State Prison once, spending two years in Sing Sing between 1856 and 1858. In 1869, Tommy was sent to the New Jersey State Prison for drugging a resident of that state, stealing his keys, and then going to the man’s house to steal his furniture. Not long after his return from that prison stay, he was at it again:
While this prison sentence marked the end of Tommie’s criminal career, Archie’s was just beginning. Archibald Hadden, born in 1859, avoided conviction alongside his father in 1878. However, in 1882 Archie was sent to Sing Sing for two years on a Grand Larceny charge. He returned there in 1885 on a Burglary conviction, and was later transferred from Sing Sing to Auburn. In 1889 he was charged with assault, resulting in another two year stretch at Sing Sing. Archie kept a lower profile in the late 1890s and 1900s, though in 1901 he was accused of kidnapping sailors. By 1910 he was the operator of one of the most notorious Tenderloin district dives and houses of prostitution, the German Village on 40th Street, opposite the Metropolitan Opera; and Hadden also owned the nearby Denver Hotel. Archie later diversified by buying a lumberyard in Bayside, Queens, where his family relocated.
There was no son that survived childhood for Archie to pass down the family aptitude for running dens of iniquity. Instead, Archie was blessed with a family of five girls. The oldest, Mamie, born in 1881, married in her early twenties and lived in Brooklyn with the same man her entire life, and hosted her father Archie in his last years. As for the other four girls, their timeline reads like an improbable film noir…
In 1904, at age 18, Helen (aka Nellie/Ella) Hadden married James Regan, one of the managers of the cafe at her father’s joint, the German Village. They separated after a year, but she bore him a son. They never formally divorced, and Regan let her continue live in their apartment, though he moved elsewhere when he took another job.
In May, 1908, the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children discovered that 14-year-old Elizabeth Hadden and 13-year-old Anna Hadden were living in rooms at their father’s dive hotel, and were awarded custody of the two girls by a judge. The girls were placed in the St. Joseph’s Home in Peekskill, New York. Five months later, their mother pulled up to the home in a speeding car and whisked away Anna, who was waiting outside. Elizabeth was too ill to make the escape. Police discovered that Anna had been taken to Helen Hadden Regan’s apartment, but Helen took her sister away before police arrived, and later refused to tell where she was.
In 1909, Helen Hadden–though not formally divorced from Regan–married an infamous former pickpocket named Morris Glatt. Glatt, nicknamed “The Twinkler” for his affinity for stealing diamonds, had allegedly reformed in 1908 and now worked as a private detective for the Pinkerton agency, stopping pickpockets at racetracks. Glatt worked at the most famous tracks all over the country, and received high praise from his employers.
In April 1910, James Regan went to Helen’s apartment looking for his 6-year old son, and found that Glatt had moved in. Neither man admitted to being aware of each other’s existence as Helen’s husband. Regan tried to force his way in, but Glatt calmly shot him twice through the door. Regan survived his wounds.
The Glatts, Morris and Helen Hadden Regan Glatt, moved to Long Island City, Queens, where Morris now worked as a detective for the Long Island Railroad. In April 1911, while at home with Helen, Morris Glatt died from a gunshot wound to the head while lying down on a bed. The death was ruled suicide. [Note: astute readers of The Gangs of New York Annotated will connect the name Morris Glatt to the entry on Josh Hines, because most people at the time assumed that Glatt had become fearful of revenge threats Hines had made against Glatt shortly before Hines was released from prison.] No newspapers thought it suspicious that Helen Hadden was also in the house.
A year later, in May 1912, Morris Glatt’s brother Garry Glatt and Helen’s sister Florence (aka Dolly) Glatt were arrested for picking pockets.
In June 1913, Helen and Florence wandered through the Italian neighborhood of Hoboken, New Jersey, in their fancy dress, wearing much jewelry–and were caught shoplifting baubles. A month later, Helen re-married James Regan. However, they soon split again.
In February 1914, Helen and Florence pulled off a double elopement, each marrying respectable young businessmen: Florence married Edward J. Duffy, a manager from Flushing New York; and Helen married John J. Trapp, a Wall Street broker. Helen again forgot that she was still officially married to Regan. Trapp and Helen very quickly separated, though it took Trapp years to see through divorce proceedings.
Three months later, Helen married again (she then had two active husbands, Regan and Trapp) to Louis Targoff. Helen and Targoff then descended into drug addiction (her father Archie’s dive had been raided for drug use). The Targoffs traveled to Baltimore to enter a sanitarium for treatment, but were arrested upon their arrival. The authorities then let them go. Helen was arrested for shoplifting again in 1916.
Between 1916 and 1920, Florence (Dolly) went through her own marital change. Duffy disappeared, and she married a man named Roche, though he does not appear to have kept pace with the family. In September 1920, Archie (now 61) was arrested for running a speakeasy in Rosedale, Queens. Two years later he was sent to prison for a year for running a dive featuring prostitutes at the same location. Archie insisted it was a just a dance hall, and that women flocked to it because he was the best dancer in New York.
In 1924, the Archie’s joint, now called the 101 Ranch or “Pop’s Place,” was being run by Florence (now known as Dolly Roche). She remarried to a man named Charles Streib. They soon had two daughters together. A few years later, Helen married yet again, to a man twenty years her junior, Joseph Calderone.
The Haddens appear to have exhausted their quotient of wickedness by the 1930s. Archie lived to the age of 86, but no family members found their way back into headlines.
One thought on “Wickedness…Unto Three Generations”