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A Band of Boys [Boxers, July 16, 1900]

July 24, 2009, 2:06 pm

The effects of the crisis in China in 1900 were not confined to China, obviously. They could reach as far down as the streets of New York, and as deep as the children of that city:

Nicholas Ageno, an Italian boy of twelve years, living with his parents at 77 Oliver Street, and who the police say is leader of a band of boys, last night summoned his followers and set out to look for Boxers. As darkness fell over the city they reached Chatham Square. On Sunday evening Chinamen from all parts of the city and round about congregate at Chinatown. Young Gee, an inoffensive Chinaman who conducts a laundry at 221 East Broadway, came walking across the square toward Pell Street. The boys espied him and advanced to the attack with a well-directed volley of stones, dirt, and other missiles. Gee started for Chinatown on a run, but the boys cut off his retreat, crowded about him, tore his blouse, and otherwise ill-treated him. Patrolman Rafsky of the Oak Street Station went to the Chinaman’s rescue on a double quick. The boys fled, and the policeman when he arrived on the scene, found only a very dilapidated and thoroughly scared Chinaman with his blouse torn and mud stained, and part of his queue missing. He was not badly hurt, but he declared that the policeman probably had saved his life. The patrolman next directed his attention to the assailants, and after an exciting chase captured Nicholas Ageno, who was placed under arrest and locked up in the Oak Street Station on the complaint of Young Gee.

Let’s see how far we can track that, using Google Street View…

So Nicholas Ageno lived near here:
[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps/sv?cbp=12,333.61,,0,5&cbll=40.711973,-73.99777&panoid=&v=1&hl=en&gl=us]

And he and his band set out for Chatham Square:
[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps/sv?cbp=12,193.17,,0,5&cbll=40.713744,-73.9981&panoid=&v=1&hl=en&gl=us]

Where they intercepted Young Gee, coming from his laundry on East Broadway:
[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps/sv?cbp=12,159.49,,0,-4.48&cbll=40.714288,-73.987441&panoid=&v=1&hl=en&gl=us]

On his way to Pell Street:
[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps/sv?cbp=12,108.25,,0,5&cbll=40.71483,-73.99805&panoid=&v=1&hl=en&gl=us]

And attacked him by throwing “stones, dirt, and other missiles” before they were interrupted by Patrolman Rafsky of the Oak Street Station. Neither Oak Street nor the Oak Street Station appear to exist in Manhattan anymore. Oak Street had previously connected Pearl and Roosevelt streets, but appear to have been consumed at some point:
[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=pearl+street,+ny&sll=40.716095,-73.997211&sspn=0.00766,0.010643&gl=us&dirflg=w&ie=UTF8&ll=40.716493,-73.999872&spn=0.015322,0.021286&z=14&output=embed]

The route of the “exciting chase” that brought Nicholas Ageno into custody is not detailed, but I have some suspicion that it consisted of the patrolman, having recognized the boy, walking to the house to track him down.

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