Italian Quarrels and Knives 1884

Italian Quarrels and Knives 1884
The Harlem Italians celebrated Sunday by drinking bad beer and by a fight, in which one man was nearly disemboweled and another had a knife broken off in his skull. Santo Loke and Antonio Loke are or were two brothers, who lived at No. 432 East One Hundred and Twelfth street, in a district occupied almost entirely by Italian workmen. The house is near Avenue A, and the vicinity is not one in which a quiet, sober citizen would feel very comfortable or very safe at a late hour of the night. A heavy disagreeable smell from gas and oil works permeates the atmosphere, and the people who are seen lurking about the corners or staggering all over the sidewalk are neither very inviting in appearance nor sociable in conversation. The rooms in the tenements that are occupied at all are each crowded with one or two large families or with half a dozen single men.

In another tenement in the same street there lived two other brothers, Antonio and Connie Feranda, between whom and the Loke brothers a feud has existed for a long time. Some of the neighbors attribute the enmity between the men to the quarrels of their women relatives, and others to jealousy. Anyhow, the two couples of brothers had met several times before and exchanged epithets, and on one occasion had nearly come to blows, but had been separated by their friends. Last evening, at about 6 o'clock, the Lokes and the Ferandas met at a saloon in One Hundred and Tenth-street, near First avenue. They were not very drunk at the time, and spoke to each other in an apparently friendly manner. They ordered beer, and drank again and again.

As the evening advanced and the beer loosened their tongues the conversation of the Italians became more personal and pointed. One of the men insinuated that the wife of his vis a vis was not better than she ought to be. The other Italian replied to the taunting remark by making observations about the other fellow's sister. The ire of all the four men was now aroused, and they all jumped from their seats. They were ordered out, and when they reached the sidewalk they rushed at each other and engaged in a scuffle. The glitter of a blade was seen in the dim gaslight, and this was followed by a cry of pain the thud of a heavy body falling on the sidewalk. Another cry followed, and another of the men staggered away, holding his hand to his head. Again the knife came down and cut into the hand that was trying to stanch blood, that flowed from the scalp. Another blow of the knife, and about four inches of the blade broke off. The point had bent against the skull, and the piece remained dangling from the scalp. The wounded men were the Loke brothers. Santo Loke had an incised wound in the abdomen, and Antonio had been stabbed in the head and hand.

When the police came to gather in the combatants, the Ferandas had already made their escape. The wounded men were taken to the Ninety-ninth-Street Hospital, where Santo's would was believed to be fatal. The neighbors declined to impart any information to the police, and said that they did not know anything about the affair.
Website: The History
Article Name: Italian Quarrels and Knives 1884
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


The New York Times November 10, 1884
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