In Undisclosed Files of the Police: Cases from the Archives of the NYPD (Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers), the authors—a lieutenant with the department since 1981 Bernard J. Whalen, a retired detective and true-crime writer Robert Mladinich and veteran New York Post crime reporter Philip Messing—chronicle the most interesting, most notorious, most unbelievable, or most disturbing crimes in city history. The stories and images go back to the early 1800s when the Nightwatch, a handful of men who patrolled the streets in lower Manhattan from dusk to dawn, to the present-day force of more than 34,000, which patrols five boroughs of 320 square miles 24 hours a day.
In 1903, police found the corpse of counterfeiter Beneditto Madonia stuffed in a barrel, a favorite body disposal method of the Black Hand. NYC Municipal Archives.
Millionaire Harry K. Thaw murdered his wife’s lover, Stanford White, in 1906. Above, he enjoys a jail-cell perk: a steak from Delmonico’s. (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
On September 20, 1920, a bombing by anarchists killed 39 people on Wall Street. Library of Congress.
With the letter opener still protruding from his chest, Dr. Martin Luther King is wheeled into Harlem Hospital for treatment after being stabbed. Photo by Phil Greitzer/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
In 1975, FALN, a Puerto Rican nationalist terrorist group, bombed Fraunces Tavern in Lower Manhattan. A Crime Scene Unit photo captures the battered interior of the tavern soon after the blast. NYPD Crime Scene photo/Courtesy Richard S. Hahn, retired FBI.