Doyers Street and The Bloody Angle

Doyers Street and The Bloody Angle
Moody monochrome view of Doyers Street by night, in NYC Chinatown. The bend became known as “the Bloody Angle” because of numerous gang shootings.

I promised an explanation about the image behind Betty on the book cover. Here it is!

The background of the cover image depicts a dark alley at night, with a single street light looking down on Betty as she walks the foggy asphalt, bloody knife in hand. 

What you are looking at in this image, is Doyers Street, in the heart of Chinatown, in Manhattan, New York City. I picked this image, and this street, because it’s the kind of place Betty Jones would hang out after dark to deal out some justice and seek out dark secrets from her numerous informants. Doyers Street has a dark history and plenty of blood on the pavement.

Doyers Street  is a 200-foot-long (61 m) street, one block in length and has a sharp bend in the middle. The bend is the cool part.

The street owes its name to Hendrik Doyer, an 18th-century Dutch immigrant who bought the property facing the Bowery (more details on that little gem in another post) in 1971. He operated a distillery where the post office is now sited and the Plough and Harrow tavern near the corner. 

Early in the century, the bend in the street became known as “the Bloody Angle” due to so many killings among the Tong Gangs of Chinatown that lasted into the 1930s. Hatchets were frequently used, leading to the creation of the expression, “hatchet man”. Law enforcement officials said that more people died violently at the “Bloody Angle” than at any other street intersection in the United States.

One shooting at the Chinese Theater in 1905 claimed the lives of three people when members of the Hip Sing Tong fired on members of the On Leong Tong Gang. The shooting took place at a time when the theater was packed with 400 people. 

In one 1909 incident, two members of the On Leong Tong were shot, one fatally, by members of the rival Four Brothers’ Society, or See Sing Tong. The shooting came after three members of the Hip Sing Tong were executed in Boston for the murder of a member of the On Leong tong.

A number of old tenement houses are also on Doyers Street, and these were sometimes subjected to fires. In 1910, four tenants died and five were injured when fire swept through the building at 15–17 Doyers. 

In 1939, a fire at the same building, described by The New York Times as “an old rabbit warren,” killed seven people and injured sixteen. Fighting the fire was made difficult because of the narrowness of the street, and the Mayor said at the scene of the fire that someday Chinatown would have to be torn down and replaced. (So far that hasn’t happened).

Doyers Street is right near The Bowery, which is a real-life place you’ll also find pop up in Season Two, Episode #17 of the Avon Calling series, in an episode called “The Bowery Flophouse”. It has it’s own interesting history and story, and role to play in the Avon Calling series. More on that in another post, though.

So, this is Doyers Street at night. This is The Bloody Angle. I chose this image for the new book cover for a good reason. It’s a place with a violent past, connected to the seething underworld of New York’s street gangs. It’s a place Betty is very familiar with.

The Bloody Angle is Betty’s playground…

(Info about Doyers Street from Wiki)