Monday, October 20, 2008

- Public Execution on Sacred Symbol of Freedom Site.

Slightly oblique to the typical subject matter of whining about bus riding.

Our most famous symbol of freedom and gracious French gift, Lady Liberty welcoming all us immigrants, did not start out as such a glorious locale.

The island where the Statue of Liberty stands was originally known as Bledsoe's Island and was the site of one of the most grizzly displays of public execution.

Albert W. Hicks was a notorious river pirate up and down the East and Hudson Rivers during the mid 1800's. Some of his buddies got him really drunk and took him off the coast of Staten Island to find his stash. Hicks sobered up and butchered them all cutting off fingers for trophies after he killed them all with an axe. He said the devil possessed him, after he was caught with a photo of one of the murdered men and the fingers.

Hicks was one of those larger than life gangsters of NY that had been untouchable for years.

He was hung on Friday the 13th on a platform on the island with a rowdy party crowd of over 10,000 watching from all manner of boats offshore. He hung for 3 minutes kicking and screaming at the end of his rope, as the crowds cheered and played music and partied. His body was buried in a cemetery on Canal street, and within hours was stolen and sold to NYU med students for a few dollars.

We planted that graceful French lady on this site to be our external symbol of freedom to the world.

Not the usual bus riding commentary, but tangentially connected to my NYC/NJ gestalt.

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