Bloody-Angle

Doyers Street. Chinatown, New York City.

Out of the way streets tell a wealth of tales. The bright afternoon sun beats down on old decaying walls and fire escapes creating elongated shadows that seem to stretch indefinitely. If the well-worn awnings could talk, just think of the secrets they would reveal.

This particular photo is of Doyers Street, one of my favorite out of the way streets. It is a winding street that curves around and is tucked away from its hectic surroundings. The street is only about 200 feet long and runs from Pell Street to Chatham Square. It’s home to very old tenements and long-standing businesses like The Nom Wah Tea Parlor which opened in 1927.

In the early 20th century the curve in the street was known as “the Bloody Angle” because of a plethora of violent acts carried out by Chinatown gangs. The expression ‘hatchet man’ is said to have come from this era and these violent acts which often included hatchets. While the street is not bloody or violent today, it’s worth a visit to soak in the history, vibe and incredible scenery.

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Bloody Angle~More Americans died at the Bloody Angle at Spotsylvania, Virginia, in May 1864 than at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944

“Their silent tents to spread, And glory guards, with solemn round. The bivouac of the dead.” (Stanza 9)  -Bivouac Of The Dead  By Theodore O'Hara

The First Veteran Volunteers nailed this stanza from the Bivouac of the Dead to a tree near the Bloody Angle. 

The Battle of Spotsylvania, Virginia, in May 1864 pitted 100,000 Union troops against 52,000 Confederates. The fiercest fighting occurred in pouring rain on May 12. For 23 hours straight the two sides fought hand-to-hand in a field near fortifications known as the Mule Shoe, and afterward as the Bloody Angle. 

Portion of Colonel Rufus R. Dawes of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry recalls what happened when his regiment was ordered into it during the middle of the battle.

During the early hours of the night the rain poured down in torrents. Sometime in the night I suspected that the enemy were retreating, and I crawled up with one man and satisfied myself that they had gone. I then ceased firing and my exhausted men lay down as best they could, and some laid their heads upon the dead and fell asleep.

In the morning the rebel works presented an awful spectacle. The cellars were crowded with dead and wounded, lying in some cases upon each other and in several inches of mud and water. I saw the body of a rebel soldier sitting in the corner of one of these cellars in a position of apparent ease, with the head entirely gone, and the flesh burned from the bones of the neck and shoulders. This was doubtless caused by the explosion of a shell from some small Cohorn mortars within our lines. The mortar shell is thrown high in the air, and comes down directly from above. On the morning of May 13th, the men were in a deplorable condition of exhaustion, and I marched the regiment away from the horrible scenes at the “Bloody Angle” and allowed the men to lie down and rest in the woods near at hand.

Source: Dawes, Rufus R. “Service With the Sixth Wisconsin Volunteers,” Chapter 12, page 268.

Photo: Spotsylvania Court House. Body of a Confederate soldier near Mrs. Alsop’s house Library of Congress.

Adjutant Albert L. Peel, 19th Mississippi Infantry. Killed at the Bloody Angle, Spotsylvania Court House, VA, 12 May 1864.

“Adjutant Peel had thrown aside his sword and with a very fine rifle, captured from the enemy, he was shooting as rapidly as he could reload. He fell, shot through the head at the foot of an oak tree which had been cut down by deadly missiles. His body was found by his brother, Dr. R. H. Peel, who was then surgeon of the regiment, and it was buried after dark. The stump of this oak tree at the root of which Adjutant Peel fell measured at the time Twenty-two inches in diameter, and is now among the war relics in the museum at Washington City. We buried Adjutant Peel’s body beside his colonel, the gallant T. J. Hardin, who was also killed in the battle.” Excerpt from Confederate Veteran, Volume 10, Page 367: “THE LAST ROLL.”

Peel’s transcribed war diary is available here: http://freepages.family.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~peel/peeldec.html

New York City - Doyers Street - Chinatown

It’s the little things:

like the way

the sun splashes

against the fire escapes

flooding the walls

with light

in the spaces

between seasons,

or the way

that alleys and streets

revel

in the promise

of warmth

as spring

brushes against

the city’s cheek

like a timid lover

waiting for a sign

of reciprocity.

This is one of my favorite streets in Lower Manhattan. It’s Doyers Street located in Chinatown. I have always considered it more of an alley. It’s a peculiar street that winds and curves around tucking itself away from the rest of Chinatown. At only around 200 feet long, Doyers Street runs from Pell Street to Chatham Square. It’s home to very old tenements and long-standing businesses like The Nom Wah Tea Parlor which opened in 1927.

In the early 20th century the curve in the street was known as “the Bloody Angle” because of a plethora of violent acts carried out by Chinatown gangs. The expression ‘hatchet man’ is said to have come from this era and these violent acts which often included hatchets. While the street is not bloody or violent today, it’s been used in a variety of films and is definitely worth a visit.

View: “Doyers Street - Chinatown - New York City” in my photography portfolio, My Gear List, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

The Bloody Angle by Liz Jang

The street cobblers
believed that ghosts traveled in straight lines
so they built these streets angled
to protect it from the likes of you.

The gang members

thought that the angles could hide the terrible sins that we commit against the other sometimes
so they spilled the angle bloody
and made anonymous ghost stories out of scared men.

The irony of fearing ghosts
over men
has not been lost on me,
and I’m sure it hasn’t been lost on you, either.

The white men
said “It was, and is, an ideal place for ambush”
with turns so abrupt
That “not even a slant-eyed Chinaman can see around a corner.”

But even with these slant-eyed Chinaman eyes,
on the corner of Pelle and Doyer,
I thought I saw you.

You
lost somewhere in the limbo between
death and irony.

You
with wife (perhaps)
and life (the past).
Not so much ghost,
or even ghost story.
More like sad history,
a genealogical mystery.

You,
a straight edge traveler,
trapped in the sharp angled limbo
between
Pelle and Doyer.

I thought I saw you.

New York City - Times Square at Night in the Snow

Under city lights,

every snowflake

falls like

little bits of hope

glistening

on the periphery

thought

as we revel

in a sea

of dreams

enveloped in the

boundlessness

of possibility.

View: “New York City - Times Square at Night in the Snow” in my photography portfolio, My Gear List, My Travel Blog, On G+,email me, or ask for help.

I’ve been enjoying those ‘American Magical Schools’ posts and I ESPECIALLY enjoy all the Native and Black school headcanons but now I propose to you

CHINATOWN SCHOOLS

The first one was in California. Obviously. Obviously.

The next was in New York, back when Chinatown was 5 streets (Mott, Park, Pell and Doyers). The New York Chinatowns ended up taking over after the Chinese Exclusion Act not-so-slowly slowly destroyed the jobs of California Chinese. They might be magical, but white people had their wizards too and they were just as racist as the muggles.

Doyers was known as the Bloody Angle (true fact) from how many people were shot and hacked to death around the sharp bend in the street. It’s true that many died (the streets ran red with blood, they say. They told the police it was pig blood, whenever the police happened to walk by to shake down the folks living there) but more just vanished. Where better to hide an entrance to their schools than around a corner that most are too terrified to even think about, much less watch? It’s perfectly safe for the children. Children are special, children are sacred, children are the future. No one touches children.

(the teachers apparate in)

Children start in kindergarden. Because come on. Magical Chinese parents aren’t any less likely to push their kids to excellence than Muggle ones. Their classrooms are underneath the streets, a huge labyrinth that goes deeper than any subway (although they had to abandon some of the upper floors to make room for the trains, they got to steal lots of abandoned stations after a while)

They teach the lessons in Chinese. Most of the older professors determinedly refuse to learn English. It isn’t just the European schools that are stuck in their old ways. 

Potions take place in certain restaurants since no one wants to deal with trying to air out an underground tunnel when someone inevitably fucks up and adds the kirin scale before the beetle eyes and stuff like like. You know the ones. The little holes in the wall that are always smokey and smell strange and only have one person there who doesn’t speak any English and just hurries you out. Most muggles assume they’re fronts for the Triads. Admittedly, some of them were. Or are. It can be good to have powerful people on your side and magical children aren’t just born to non-criminals. Triad men want their kids to get a good education too.

It was rarer when things were first starting, but nowadays it’s common for families to send their children to muggle schools during the day and magical schools in the afternoons and weekends. Sorry I can’t hang out, the kids tell their friends, Chinese school. Well, it is Chinese and it is a school so… not really a lie. They don’t really need a Muggle Studies professor since there’s not much room in New York to be secreted away from muggles. There is one very very overworked Muggle Studies teacher, but they mostly have to deal with helping magical FOBs deal with the fact that in New York there aren’t any magical communes the likes of Hogsmeade or 神奇的地方. They have Chinatowns and they have old muggle Chinese families who don’t pay any attention to them except to make sure that their money is good and their Cantonese authentic (Mandarin is okay, but village dialects are better. Show that you haven’t lost your roots). The muggle residents may not care that you’re magical but there are too many tourists around to risk being too obviously magical. Yes you can get away with almost anything but insisting to the white people that it’s ‘just how it is in China’ but come on. Someone’s going to figure out that beetle eyes aren’t actually a Chinese delicacy.  

More Americans died at the Bloody Angle at Spotsylvania, Virginia, in May 1864 than at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944

Photo: Union soldiers wounded at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House at a field hospital in the yard of the Marye House in Fredericksburg, Virginia, May 1864

http://facts.randomhistory.com/civil-war-facts.html