A forgotten chapter in New York City history is this site of an infamous riot that had deadly consequences..
May 10, 1849. 25 dead and many more injured when militiamen fired into an unruly mob that had gathered here in front of the now gone, Astor Opera House. Theater was a big deal in 19th century New York and it mirrored growing class divisions when the role of Macbeth was given to the upper class preferred British actor instead of the working class choice American actor. Tammany Hall man and Five Points gang leader, Isaiah Rynders, urged the community to come out and protest by passing out pamphlets asking “SHALL AMERICANS OR ENGLISH RULE THIS CITY?” 10,000 Irish and working class immigrants surrounded the theater, stones were thrown and fires attempted. The prepared militia came and were met with stones. They fired warning shots, but after going unheeded, they fired into the crowd, killing between 20 and 30 rioters.