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Richard Zacks: Island of Vice

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 11:00am

In the 1890s New York City was truly a “Sin City”. Illegal gambling was rampant. Countless bars and taverns guaranteed spectacular alcohol consumption even on Sundays when the bars were supposed to be closed. It was estimated that there were minimally 30, 000 prostitutes active in the metropolis at the time, and shocking live sex shows could be found any night in certain sections of the city. So where were the city’s police force? The police were part of the city’s Tammany Hall political machine and were astonishingly corrupt and on the take. Then came the infamous muckracking Lexow Committee and an election that swept many of the corrupt politicians out. Future President and anti-vice crusader Teddy Roosevelt was brought on as Police Commissioner. But were the rank and file New Yorkers ready to give up their vices like drinking on Sunday? Tune in tonight when Inquiry talks to writer RICHARD ZACKS about his rollicking history ISLAND OF VICE: THEODORE ROOSEVELT’S DOOMED QUEST TO CLEAN UP SIN LOVING NEW YORK. 

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