Museum of the American Gangster to Open at Theatre 80

Posted on: February 18th, 2010 at 2:45 pm by

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As EV Grieve also noted, a new museum dedicated to American gangsters is opening at Theatre 80 on St. Mark’s Place.

From the Boogie inbox:

I am proud to announce the opening of the Museum of the American Gangster at 80 St. Marks Place (between 1st and 2nd Avenue), inside the historic Theater 80 building.

The Museum will be open daily for previews beginning Sunday, March 7, 2010. The official launch will be Spring 2010, date TBA.

The Museum of the American Gangster (MAOG) presents an opportunity to gain insight into the hidden, inside world of the American gangster through artifacts and stories told by those involved. We are working with a team of criminal authors, historians and related institutions, as well as family members and estates of pivotal crime figures, to create a museum that both casual fans and invested scholars could enjoy and benefit from. Beyond exhibits and artifacts, MOAG will offer dedicated research facilities, access to original source documents and articles, oral histories, workshops, walking tours, live performances, historic reenactments, lectures, movies and presentations.

The MOAG at 80 St. Marks Place features a full gallery space with gift shop, as well as an authentic speakeasy and a maze of hidden rooms and artifacts in the basement left over from Prohibition (which are all part of the exhibit). Frank Sinatra was a singing waiter in our restaurant as a youth (yoot?), and our gallery served as living quarters for Leon Trotskyin 1917. The 160-seat, professional Off-Broadway theater on site premiered You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown in 1967 and is the site of Lord Buckley’s final performance before his death in 1960. (And that is just the tip of the iceberg.)

MOAG’s goal is to objectively and authentically present the role that crime has played in shaping the politics, culture, myth and lore of New York City. Criminals will not be glorified or sensationalized, nor will they be vilified — rather, this institution intends to allow visitors insight into how and why criminals (on both sides of the law) chose the life they did. Where did they come from? What were their options? What was their relationship to the community? This is a chance to dig deep into the lives and minds of some of the country’s most successful crime figures.

Where better to explore the influence of criminality in America than in the neighborhood where such heavyweights as “Lucky” Luciano, Meyer Lansky, and “Bugsy” Siegel planted the seeds of modern organized crime? Where their predecessors, men like Jack Zelig, Monk Eastman, and Paul Kelly paved the way for future mob influence over labor, politics and entertainment in NYC? Where Tammany Hall headquartered their century-long stranglehold on politics with the assistance of local gangs? Where the most powerful Prohibition-era bootleggers lived, operated and fought for control over an underground empire? Where the infamous Irish-Nativist wars paralyzed Lower Manhattan in the 19th century? Important American history is in our own backyard and MOAG is dedicated to presenting this very important aspect of it.

The MOAG daily preview hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, 12:00pm to 5:00pm, for a reduced admission fee of only $10.

Museum previews begin with a special Sunday, March 7, 2010 event, from 12:00pm – 5:00pm.

[Photo via Home Theater Forum]

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