The Lower East Side of New York
Jewish Life in America

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He Refuses to Pay the Fine of a Man Who Rushed Into Trouble All on his Account.
From The Sun, September 20, 1887.

Millinery on Division Street
cir 1907-33

Courtesy of the New York Public Library's Digital Gallery.

A small riot, accompanied by a great deal of noise, disturbed the Sabbath quiet of Division Street on Sunday afternoon. The active participants were Philip Belson, a Hebrew butcher of 175 Division Street, Solomon Beinstein, his neighbor, and five policemen of the Madison Street station. It began at 4 P.M. and lasted half an hour, but no blood was shed.

Policemen Perkins, Powers, and Mulcahey were detailed in citizens' dress on Sunday to look out for violations of the Excise and Sunday laws. Sunday being the day before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, was a day of great preparation among the orthodox Hebrews of the East Side. To oblige them and also to reimburse himself for the necessity of keeping closed on the following day, Belson kept his butcher shop open. Although he tried to avoid attracting attention, the policemen detected him, and entered the shop to arrest Belson. At the same time Mulcahey showed his badge, Belson reached for a cleaver and aimed a murderous blow at the policeman, who dodged, and the butcher was disarmed. Belson's angry shouts in the mixture of Polish Hebrew and English, attracted a crowd of their friends, who thought the arrest was an outrage.

Solomon Beinstein, one of Belson's neighbors, heroically dashed in to rescue the prisoner, and when Policemen Starge and Collins, who had been sent for, arrived they found their brother officers hemmed in by a mob of angry, howling men, who, while not openly attacking, were maneuvering in such [a] manner as to keep the policemen from moving. The windows of the tenements were filled with scolding women, whose vehement yells were addressed partly against the policemen and partly to their foolish relatives. Starge and Collins cleared a passageway without breaking any heads in very quick order, and the progress of the other policemen was at once made easy.

At the station Beinstein quieted down, but Belson was still full of fight. He told the Captain that he had $700 on his person, and was ready to go his own bail. As he was charged with assault in addition to violating the Sunday law, the Captain refused to take the bail. It took three policemen to subdue him while he was being searched, and then he was locked up in a cell adjoining Beinstein's. He had on his person $500 in bills and two checks. A number of friends wanted to go bail for him later, and urged that it would be a hardship to keep him confined on New Year's Eve.

Yesterday morning he was arraigned before Justice Duffy in Essex Market Police Court, and his lawyer argued that, as he had closed his shop on Saturday and was going to close again on Monday, it was no more than just that he should be allowed to keep open on Sunday. That did not excuse his assault on the policemen, however, and he was fined $7, and paid it. Beinstein was fined $3 for interfering with the policemen. He had no money, and was locked up. Belson, on whose account he got into trouble, refused to lend him the money, and he will have to serve out his three days in prison.

From The Sun, Sep 20, 1887. Photo courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.






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