Mike Saulter

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Michael Salter
Born 1868
Died December 15, 1922(1922-12-15) (aged 54)
Coney Island, New York, United States
Cause of death Heart failure
Nationality American
Other names Michael Salter
Occupation Businessman
Known for New York saloon keeper and underworld figure in New York City at the start of the 20th century.

Michael Salter (1868 – December 15, 1922) was an American saloon keeper, ward heeler and underworld figure in New York City. He was of Russian-Jewish descent.

Biography[edit]

He was born in 1868. He was a prominent figure in Chinatown, opening the first cabaret and dance hall in the district in 1904, and was popular among sportsmen at the turn of the 20th century.[1] It was at his establishment that Irving Berlin started his early musical career as a singing waiter prior to becoming a professional ragtime musician.[2][3] While working for Salter, Irving composed his first song for the club owner entitled "Marie from Sunny Italy" in 1907.[4][5][6][7] The Pelham was also reportedly the birthplace of the fox trot.[8]

His Pell Street resort, the Pelham, was considered part the boundary separating the territory of the Eastman and Five Points Gang, although Five Pointers leader Paul Kelly did not recognize the Eastmans' claim. His club, a popular Lower East Side underworld hangout, was also where Biff Ellison and Razor Riley planned the failed murder of Kelly at the New Brighton in November 1908.[2] Saulter eventually sold the club prior to Prohibition and opened a restaurant in Coney Island around 1919. He also bought a residence on East Fourth Street in Brighton Beach. On December 14, 1922, Salter suffered a heart attack while at Surf Avenue and Seaside Walk shortly before midnight. He was taken to a local hospital where he died the following day.[1][8] At Salter's funeral, according to the New York Herald, "of the legions of notables who once found it pleasant to boast of Mike's friendship and familiarity with his notorious dive" only Berlin attended his funeral.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "'Nigger Mike' Salter Dies. Old-Time New York Figure Is Victim of Heart Trouble at Coney". New York Times. December 16, 1922. Retrieved 31 August 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Asbury, Herbert. The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the New York Underworld. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1928. (pg. 234, 269, 293-294) ISBN 1-56025-275-8
  3. ^ Batterberry, Michael. On the Town in New York: The Landmark History of Eating, Drinking, and Entertainments from the American Revolution to the Food Revolution. New York: Routledge, 1998. (pg. 217-218) ISBN 0-415-92020-5
  4. ^ Jasen, David A. Tin Pan Alley: The Composers, the Songs, the Performers, and Their Times. New York: Donald I. Fine, 1988. (pg. 70) ISBN 1-55611-099-5
  5. ^ Taylor, William Robert. Inventing Times Square: Commerce and Culture at the Crossroads of the World. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1991. (pg. 104) ISBN 0-87154-843-7
  6. ^ Furia, Philip. The Poets of Tin Pan Alley: A History of America's Great Lyricists. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. (pg. 48) ISBN 0-19-507473-4
  7. ^ a b Norwood, Stephen Harlan and Eunice G. Pollack, ed. "Irving Berlin". Encyclopedia of American Jewish History. Vol. 2. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2007. (pg. 684) ISBN 1-85109-638-8
  8. ^ a b Melnick, Jeffrey Paul. A Right to Sing the Blues: African Americans, Jews, and American Popular Song. London: Harvard University Press, 2001. (pg. 87, 101) ISBN 0-674-00566-X

Further reading[edit]

  • Gong, Eng Ying and Bruce Grant. Tong War!: The First Complete History of the Tongs in America, Details of the Tong Wars and Their Causes, Lives of Famous Hatchetmen and Gunmen, and Inside Information as to the Workings of the Tongs, Their Aims and Achievements. New York: Nicholas L. Brown, 1930.
  • Harlow, Alvin F. Old Bowery Days: The Chronicles of a Famous Street. New York and London: D. Appleton & Company, 1931.