#TBT: Inwood Serial Killer: “Texas Jim” Baker | My Inwood

by Cole Thompson

I had a periodical desire to poison human beings and in killing them in this manner, I derive a certain mental satisfaction.  When this mania seizes me, I want to kill the nearest person to me.” –excerpt from “Texas Jim” Baker’s murder confession.

“Texas Jim” Baker, Miami News, August 3, 1930.

“Texas Jim” Baker, Miami News, August 3, 1930.

On the morning of December 27, 1928 New York Police responded to an emergency call at the Guggenheim Brothers metallurgical laboratory on 202nd Street and Tenth Avenue.

Arriving at the scene investigators discovered that a lab worker had been murdered and two truck drivers had narrowly escaped death.

Police would later learn that Henry S. Gaw, 29, of 163 West 84th Street, an assistant in the lab, had been forced to drink cyanide before his death.

The prime suspect was a former submarine crewman named “Texas Jim” Baker.

Baker, a former Guggenheim employee who had stopped working in the lab just three weeks before Gaw was hired, was a colorful and well-known figure in this industrial section of uptown Manhattan. He was known for his signature stunt, the almost superhuman ability to tear phonebooks in half. He also had two distinctive tattoos, a dagger and a snake.

Baker’s former captives, who were delivering a load of nerve gas to the lab, explained to the police that they had walked in on the scene after Gaw had been murdered.

They were promptly bound and gagged at gunpoint.

Both were very grateful that their lives had been spared.

Police reported that the perpetrator had made off with twenty dollars cash, taken from a safe, and $1,000 worth of platinum.

Just hours later an all-points-bulletin was issued for Baker. A search of his nearby apartment uncovered enough poison to kill thousands of others.

But Baker had vanished.

Read more: Thrill killer Texas Jim Baker strikes in Inwood, NYC in 1929..

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Opening Tonight: Through A Lens Darkly – Black Photographers & the Emergence of a People

After their SOLD-OUT premiere at New York City’s Documentary Fortnight Festival at MoMA earlier this year, “Through A Lens Darkly” will be screening August 27th through September 9th at the Film Forum (209 West Houston St.). Get your tickets NOW!

For more: Through A Lens Darkly Blog | Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People.

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New Music: L Burnz Ft. Tellie Floydd, L Fudge & Trops – 1st 48

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George Washington Bridge Bus Station Closes for Long-Delayed Upgrade | NY Times

By

George Washington Bridge Port Authority

A rendering for the rebuilt George Washington Bridge Bus Station, which will feature a retail space called the Mercado. Credit The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The George Washington Bridge Bus Station in Upper Manhattan will be shut down for one year, starting Monday morning, as part of its biggest renovation project in five decades.

Buses will continue to arrive and depart from the top level of the building in Washington Heights, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the terminal. But a temporary trailer has been erected next to it to serve as a waiting room with ticketing and other services, as well as a base for Port Authority police and operations personnel.

The changes mean that departing passengers must take a temporary staircase at Fort Washington Avenue and 179th Street to reach the bus platform. Arriving passengers can leave their platform by taking an existing staircase to 178th Street. Access to and from the subway will be via the staircase on 177th Street. Pickup for disabled passengers will remain on Fort Washington Avenue.

The closing represents the latest milestone in a much-delayed $183 million upgrade project, the most extensive since the terminal was built in 1963.

Read more: George Washington Bridge Bus Station Closes for Long-Delayed Upgrade – NYTimes.com.

Related:

Port Authority Portfolio

The George Washington Bridge Turns 81

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Time Travel Tuesdays: Tension and Violence at a Swimming Pool | NY Times

By DONATELLA LORCH
Published: August 7, 1989

Highbridge Pool - Washington Heights

(Photo: Lindsay Buckley | Flickr)

For the 3,500 people who crowd its concrete grounds and bleachers on summer weekends, the Highbridge Pool in upper Manhattan is a haven from simmering streets and hot non-air-conditioned apartments. But it is not a haven from the violence of a neighborhood that the police call Crack Central.

Late Saturday afternoon, as mothers waded in the shallow end of the pool with their children and as couples relaxed on blankets by the poolside, a man with a pistol stepped through an opening in a metal fence and shot at least eight times at a lifeguard. He hit the lifeguard. He also hit three bathers. One, a 13-year-old girl, was shot in the head. She was in critical condition yesterday at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. Her sister and brother say they have been told she is ”brain dead.” Free Admission

Many bathers are grateful for the municipal pool at 173d Street and Amsterdam Avenue in the Washington Heights section. Many people who come to the pool cannot afford to leave the city and the admission is free. But a day at the pool can be a tense experience. Gangs stake out territories in the pool area. They often pick fights at the slightest provocation.

Some bathers shrug it off and try to ignore it. Others resent that they must tiptoe through the only place in the neighborhood where their children can play and cool off.

Read more: Tension and Violence at a Swimming Pool – New York Times.

Related:

Park Portfolio – Highbridge Park

Highbridge Revisted

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Uptown Video: Fort Tryon Park from Los Altos

Washington Heights Vista

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