“You see that guy over there? That’s Garry fookin’ Barry. Don’t ever trust’em. He’s a fookin’ psychopath, that one. Trouble, nothin’ but. If he comes up on ya, just play dumb.”
Garry Barry (b. 1888) In the year he came into being there was a great blizzard in New York. On duty in Irishtown, Patrolman William Brosnan found the baby in the wreckage of a fallen tenement. Twenty years later, Barry was beaten to death by the White Hand gang outside a saloon. Newspapers reported on the public trouncing and quoted doctors that he was expected to die of massive head injuries. In 1919, after another great snow storm, he again reappears, hiding out off Flatbush avenue. Barry was the former leader of the Red Onion gang that paid tribute to Christie Maroney. He is known for being indolent and unsound, believing he should be leader of the White Hand gang, even though he has but a single follower. When the White Hand took power after 1912, Dinny Meehan considered him for a dockboss position. But Barry obstinately challenged Meehan to a fist fight for leadership of the gang. Meehan then battered Barry, knocking him out within a minute and leaving him out of the gang’s inner circle.
What you need to know before starting DIVIDE THE DAWN: A fringe gang member, Barry was present at the Donnybrook in Red Hook, when the White Hand took back power on the docks of Brooklyn.
In 1916 Barry went to the Black Hand with an offer to assassinate Meehan, if they supported him being the new leader. Barry was seen by Liam Garrity in a saloon with a knife looking for an opportunity to murder Meehan on the night of Black Tom’s Explosion. In retaliation, Meehan sent Whitehanders after Barry and viciously beat him in front of an entire neighborhood, leaving him for dead. Refusing to go away, he now has grotesque facial scars where he was crudely sown up. In 1919, Barry was found by Patrolman Daniel Culkin and Amadeusz Wisniewski who, at the behest of Waterfront Assembly Director Jonathan G. Wolcott, gave Barry an envelope full of money to burn down Meehan’s home and take over the gang with their assistance.
“There was a murder in Brooklyn one time, where there often was before and I s’pose there will be again. Christie Maroney. . . It was said half his face was made o’ gold.” ~The Gas Drip Bard
Christie Maroney (1867-1912) also known as the Gold-toothed Larrikin, was murdered before the books take place. He was the self-proclaimed “King of Irishtown” before Dinny Meehan. A barrel-chested, full-bellied man who wore a bowler’s cap three sizes too small for his head, he bedecked himself in gold, including his teeth. Maroney was murdered between the bridges in 1912 by the upstart White Hand gang who, along with other Brooklyn gangs, were paying him tribute. A “son of an exiled child,” Maroney bullied his way to the top of the underworld, then broke the insulated neighborhood’s Code of Silence and sold its secrets to outsiders. He was known to offer cash loans to young women looking for work, who soon found out they had to pay it back by having sex with merchant marines, libidinous drunks and even Italians. He was despised by the aging, original settlers of Irishtown who had survived the Great Hunger (Irish potato famine) who couldn’t believe one of their own would break their Irish traditions.
What you need to know before starting DIVIDE THE DAWN: Speaking with bartender Paddy Keenan, Irishtown Patrolman William Brosnan counts all the times he’s arrested White Hand gang leader Dinny Meehan, including in 1912 for the murder of the “yegg” Christie Maroney. When Liam Garrity is convinced to listen to Irishtown’s shanachie (Irish storyteller), The Gas Drip Bard, he hears for the first time about the sensational trial of Maroney’s murder that had all of Brooklyn on edge. Even the Marines were called in because riots were threatened if the young Whitehanders were convicted. But Meehan, McGowan and Vincent Maher were all exonerated, while only Pickles Leighton was convicted. The affects of Maroney’s murder is still haunting the gang.
“I just cry. So angry, I cry. Confused. Undeserved as I am. Shaking my head and covering my face on the floor and bleating and blubbering and acting the fool. Harry yanks me up by the coat.” ~Liam Garrity
Harry Reynolds (b. 1891) also known as The Shiv, is a hard pragmatist with a taciturn, brooding personality and is dockboss of the Atlantic Terminal for the White Hand gang. Harry is known as the smartest, most respected man under leader Dinny Meehan and inspires men to work hard even as he gives orders in a low, calm voice. When an immigrant longshoremen challenged him, he unemotionally punctured the man’s kidney with a shiv, then gave him directions to the local hospital. Harry was the first orphan that Dinny and Sadie Meehan had cared for and was groomed as Dinny’s future righthand. But something tragic and unspecified happened. When Liam Garrity asked questions about it to the talkative old-timer Beat McGarry, he was immediately told never to speak of it again. Harry looks remarkably similar to Meehan. They met in Elmira’s Reformatory as teens.
What you need to know before starting DIVIDE THE DAWN: Harry never hangs out in the Dock Loaders’ Club after getting his share of tribute money and does not even keep a righthand man. When Liam Garrity asks his advice concerning Meehan’s request to have him kill his own uncle, Harry hands him a knife. Harry fought in the Donnybrook in Red Hook, helping the gang win back power on the Brooklyn docks.
After Tommy Tuohey’s murder, Harry is tasked with training young Garrity, who moves in with him. Together they renovate a dilapidated room on Eighth Avenue in expectation of the teenager’s mother and sisters’ arriving from Ireland, teaching him about patience and being forthright. When Dinny Meehan is jailed and Sadie shows up asking for help after being harassed by Lovett followers, Harry tells Liam that he can’t speak with her. When Garrity asks why, Harry walks away.
“A wild-eyed, windswept, floppy-booted, dirty-blond-haired fifteen year-old limps in the room like some forgotten, defective cur on a prison ship.”
Richie Lonergan (b. 1900), also known as Pegleg, is a gloomy, violent teenage gang leader who is emotionally stunted by a traumatic childhood. Almost completely catatonic, he has the ability to murder without remorse and has been known to beat much larger men in bareknuckle fist fights. When he was eight years-old, he was run over by a Brooklyn trolley that severed his leg at the knee. Richie relies on the German-Jew Abe Harms to speak and think for him. Even with his deficiencies, he is an important ally in the gang world due to all the teenagers that follow him and the many younger brothers he has.
What you need to know before starting DIVIDE THE DAWN: Even though he can’t ride bicycles, he steals them and rents them out to kids in Brooklyn. In 1916, his mother Mary struck a deal with White Hand gang leader Dinny Meehan to open a bike shop that she would run, as long as Richie and his followers worked for the gang. In the process of deal-making, he knocked out dockboss Red Donnelly in a bareknuckle brawl in the alley behind the Dock Loaders’ Club. With Vincent Maher, Richie murdered Mick Gilligan in the Kirkman Soap Factory and tossed the body in a giant silo. By 1917, family friend Wild Bill Lovett turned Richie and his followers against Meehan and made Richie kill Meehan’s enforcer Tommy Tuohey. But their revolt collapsed and Lovett was sent to World War I where it was reported he died in combat. By 1919, Richie then fell back into favor with Meehan until Lovett mysteriously appeared in Brooklyn and had Richie murder Mickey Kane, Meehan’s cousin, starting a blood feud and gang war between Lovett and Meehan.
“The first thing I do in the mornin’? I brush my hair an’ sharpen my tongue.”
Anna Lonergan (b. 1901) is the younger sister of famed White Hand gang member Richie “Pegleg” Lonergan. An old Irish woman who survived Ireland’s Great Hunger deems her, “A prophetess, an evil little girl and the future Queen of Irishtown.” She is known as having both a sharp tongue and extraordinary beauty. As the eldest female of fifteen children, Anna is expected to care for her siblings and marry a man that can pull them out of Irishtown’s poverty. But when two of her siblings die, she grows fiery and becomes dangerously headstrong.
What you need to know before starting DIVIDE THE DAWN: In 1916, Anna goes with her mother Mary and family to the White Hand gang’s headquarters to demand Dinny Meehan‘s help. But women are not allowed in the Dock Loaders’ Club, so her brother Richie is sent in as the gang members stare at her longingly.
She then witnesses her brother get into a bloody fist fight with a much larger Whitehander.
When Meehan sends Liam Garrity to court Anna in order to secure an alliance with Richie’s followers and the many Lonergan boys, Anna reacts angrily. Although her mother Mary likes the idea of her family’s betrothal to Meehan’s gang, Anna bristles and sides with Wild Bill Lovett, Meehan’s rival. Anna’s temper becomes volatile when two of her siblings die, one from the Spanish Influenza of 1918, the other from an untreated infection due to her family’s old-world superstition of refusing to go to the hospital. When she hears word that Lovett was killed in action in World War I, she attends his funeral and burial. Despondent, in 1919 Anna is livened by the sudden reappearance of Lovett in Brooklyn. In fact, Lovett had her brother Richie murder Mickey Kane, Meehan’s cousin, which will begin a deadly blood feud and gang war.
“(Wolcott) will reign from above, unseen. Our greatest enemy resides in a safe distance across a body of water, up high where the future will be orchestrated. . . Our fate will be decided by an untouchable enemy.” ~Liam Garrity
Jonathan G. Wolcott (b. 1853), also known as The Fat Man, is an Anglo-American executive whose family has owned property in the Northeast for over 200 years. Grossly over weight, he boasts of his ancestors arriving on the Mayflower and often fakes an English accent. A supporter of eugenics, he sees the Irish and Italian working class of Brooklyn as being genetically defective, intellectually inferior human beings which justifies his use of murder-for-hire against them. Even so, Wolcott has failed at everything he’s done. But his is a life of great privilege. After being forced to resign as Vice President of Wage and Labor at the New York Dock Company, he “fell upstairs,” and was promoted to Director of the powerful Waterfront Assembly. Desperate to prove himself, he still works even as he could comfortably retire.
What you need to know before starting DIVIDE THE DAWN: While at the NY Dock Co. in 1916, Wolcott paid Dinny Meehan and the White Hand gang to kill Thos Carmody, an International Longshoreman’s Association union recruiter. Instead, the NY Dock Co.’s territory was set ablaze by Meehan and the gang and all of his employees were beaten during the Donnybrook in Red Hook.
Making things worse, Thos Carmody showed up alive. Angrily, Wolcott funded Wild Bill Lovett‘s revolt against Dinny Meehan’s White Hand gang in 1917. But again he lost, resulting in both his Italian and Irish employees becoming unionized. Forced to resign, he was subsequently hired as Director of the Waterfront Assembly, created to oversee all waterfront contracts and breakup the gangs and unions. In 1919, Wolcott sent Patrolman Daniel Culkin and his enforcer Amadeusz Wisniewski to find Garry Barry and pay him to burn down Dinny Meehan’s home while in jail, and assume leadership of the White Hand gang with their assistance.
“King Joe says he don’
wanna hire ya, Tanner. Seems as though Thos
Carmody don’ really like ya much. And since
Thos has the king’s ear, ya’re out.”
Tanner Smith (b. 1887) is doomed. A desperate opportunist and powerful fist fighter, he has made enemies of the wrong people. Leader of the Greenwich Village gang The Marginals, he is a childhood friend of White Hand gang leader Dinny Meehan, and bitter enemy of Thos Carmody of the ILA. When Meehan was 11 years old in 1900, Smith helped him and his father escape the wrath of the Hudson Dusters, who had killed Meehan’s brother and uncle Red Shay. Fiercely loyal to those that have helped him, Meehan gave his old friend a job when Tanner was desperate to get back in the game. But the tragedy of Tanner Smith is that by deceiving him and the White Hand gang, Dinny Meehan was forced to banish his childhood friend forever, which goes against everything Meehan knows.
What you need to know before starting DIVIDE THE DAWN: When news broke of the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, Meehan and youngster Liam Garrity were visiting Smith in Greenwich Village. Meehan hired Smith to kill ILA recruiter Thos Carmody, but Smith parlayed his position for a choice ILA job in exchange for saving Carmody’s life. Smith, a rowdy brawler, showed up to support Meehan for the Donnybrook in Red Hook when the White Hand took power back on the docks of Brooklyn. When Carmody showed up alive in Brooklyn, Meehan and the gang knew Smith had backstabbed them. Against everything Meehan knows about loyalty to those who have helped him when in need, Meehan went to Greenwich Village, beat Smith and banished him from the underworld. After Carmody returned from World War I an experienced killer, he called a Blood Feud against Smith. Now one of them must die.
“The White Hand gang just firebombed the damn place and didn’t even kill Carmody.” ~Wild Bill Lovett
Thos (short for Thomas, b. 1890) Carmody, also known as Quick Thos, has somehow survived multiple murder attempts and the Great War. Thos is a childhood friend of famed West Side Manhattan gangster Owney Madden and bitter enemy of Tanner Smith. A lone wolf, Carmody is best known for working the angles and has climbed all the way up to Treasurer of the International Longshoreman’s Association (ILA) by doing the impossible: making the Italian Black Hand shake with the Irish White Hand under the ILA banner in Brooklyn. A union recruiter, he is a thorn in the arse of the New York Dock Company.
What you need to know before starting DIVIDE THE DAWN: In 1916 Jonathan G. Wolcott of the NY Dock Co. hired the White Hand gang to kill Carmody for trying to recruit his longshoreman employees into the ILA. Gang leader Dinny Meehan then hired Tanner Smith to do the job, but Smith tried to parlay that for a top spot in the ILA in exchange for saving Carmody’s life. Smith then told Carmody to lam out of New York.
Carmody did go on the lam and tried to get transferred out of the dangerous New York City territory. Wearily, he was convinced to go back to Brooklyn by ILA President T.V. O’Connor. When he appeared on a foggy barge at dawn, the White Hand gang got spooked, as they were led to believe Smith had killed Carmody. With Vincent Maher In 1917, Carmody murdered Wolcott’s enforcer Silverman at a tailor’s shop in the Italian section of Red Hook. Later, Carmody was drafted into the Army’s 77th Infantry division in 1918 and upon returning, plans on finishing off his feud by killing Tanner Smith and helping Wild Bill Lovett overthrow Dinny Meehan.
Based on the popular book series Auld Irishtown, the black and white animated series is told from the perspective of characters. Artists, photographers, video editors, musicians and actors working together under the banner of artofneed Productions have crafted this series.
With its noir-influenced, black-and-white style and an ingenious storytelling method of allowing the characters to tell their particular perspective, Irishtown has proven to be a fiercely independent voice.
Based on the first two books in the AULD IRISHTOWN trilogy, the characters are already entrenched in, by the end of the second book, a gang war for control of Brooklyn labor.
The Irish have dominated longshoremen labor in Brooklyn since the 1840s, but are now being challenged by many different elements. Since 1913, Dinny Meehan‘s gang The White Hand has been in control. But “Wild Bill” Lovett and his followers want the power to earn the money Brooklyn’s waterfront business brings in.
artofneed productions is a group of sketch artists, musicians, actors, video editors and photographers who have come together to bring the characters in the first two books of the AULD IRISHTOWN trilogy to life. Working with writer/producer Eamon Loingsigh, they have struck gold.