New York, NY Poisonous Liquor Kills 3, Dec 1924


Three men died in New York hospitals, four others are in an extremely serious condition at Bellevue Hospital and twenty-eight men and three women have been taken to Bellevue in the last twenty-four hours suffering from the effects of poisonous liquor. Forty or fifty others are in the accident ward at Bellevue as the result of injuries in fights and falls due to the liquor.

The three who died yesterday bring the total of deaths from alcoholic poisoning during the current month to thirty-four. Hospital officials say that many other deaths in the past month are indirectly attributed to bootleg liquor.

Twenty-five patients were admitted to Bellevue after 7 o'clock yesterday morning, indicating that the holiday drinking did not set really underway until Christmas Day had dawned. The twenty-five constitute the largest number ever admitted at one time suffering from alcoholic poisoning. Even in pre-prohibition days, hospital officials say, the number of intoxicated never came anywhere near this.

The activity of the Coast Guard Service and the prohibition forces. they say, in preventing real liquor from coming into the city and the consequent increase of domestic made moonshine, containing in many cases a large percentage of wood alcohol. Is responsible for the great number of alcoholics.

With the unusual demand for liquor for holiday celebration, bootleggers, who were hard put to obtain even a normal supply of good liquor, were swamped with orders. The consequence was that the flood of poisonous liquor found a ready market, particularly on the lower east and west sides where in some places it sold as high as $1 a drink.

Two Found Dying in Street

This kind of liquor is believed to be responsible for the deaths of George O'Kane and George Hurley, both young men who were found in the streets unconscious by Brooklyn police, and who died in hospitals without regaining consciousness.

O'Kane, who was 29-years old and lived at 73 Buffalo Avenue, Brooklyn, was found at Atlantic and Little avenues lying In the gutter. He was taken to St. Mary's Hospital, where he died shortly afterward. Hurley, 34-years old of 650 Wyckoff Avenue, also Brooklyn, was picked up near the Liberty Avenue police station. At Kings County Hospital he was identified by relatives.

O'Kane was identified bv his brother-in-law, Thomas Dennis, who also lived at the Buffalo Avenue address with him. Frank Smith, 50-years old, of 338 East Twenty-third Street, died at Bellevue Hospital yesterday afternoon, two hours after he had been found unconscious on the street.

The victims of alcoholism were found in various sections of the city. Many of them were picked up in the street in the vicinity of places that the police have suspected of selling liquor. Some of them were brought from their own homes.

Dec. 25, 1924 edition of "The New York Times"