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2021-12-21 00:00:00 Avenue Magazine

Avenue's Year in Review: The Best of Notorious New Yorkers, 2021

Avenue's Year in Review: The Best of Notorious New Yorkers, 2021

One of Avenue‘s most popular columns is Notorious New Yorkers, which in each issue tells the story one of our city’s — or Palm Beach’s — more infamous inhabitants. (We always pick one who is safely dead.) From politicians to gangsters, these were the rogues we loved learning about this year.

Murph the Surf

Murph the Surf
James A. Oliver, the director of the American Museum of Natural History, inspects damage after the break-in
Photo by Arthur Brower/The New York Times

In 1964, Jack “Murph the Surf” Murphy and Allan Kuhn pulled off the most brazen gem theft in New York City history. Avenue recalls the night they stole the Star of India. Read the full story.

Peter Pulitzer

Peter Pulitzer
Pulitzer and his first wife, Lilly, in 1955
Photo by Slim Aarons/Getty Images

Publishing heir Peter Pulitzer cut a stylish swath through Palm Beach with his fashion designer first wife Lilly. But later, he became tabloid fodder during a scandalous divorce from his second wife, Roxanne. Read the full story.

Stanford White

Stanford White
Stanford White created many of the buildings that still define New York City today
Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images

The crimes and murder of starchitect Stanford White, who was shot in cold blood by an avenging husband, could be New York society’s greatest-ever scandal. Read the full story.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

DominiqDominique Strauss-Kahn ue Strauss-Kahn
Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 1992
Photo by Michel Glement/AFP/ Getty Images

Dominique Strauss-Kahn had been all but anointed as the successor of Nicolas Sarkozy. But all that changed after a sordid sex scandal in a New York City hotel room. Read the full story.

Owney Madden and Roy Radin

Producer Roy Radin in 1981
Photo by Betty Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

Legendary jazz venue The Cotton Club links Owney Madden and Roy Radin, two very different kinds of New York rogue, who lived and died a generation apart. Read the full story.

Jimmy Walker

James John Walker
James John Walker, the mayor of NYC from 1925-1932
Photo by Getty Images

Jimmy Walker, New York’s Jazz Age mayor, was a crook so charming that his reputation started recovering the moment he was drummed out of town. Read the full story.

Bonus: Ghislaine Maxwell’s strategy for returning to high society

Illustration by Michelle Kondrich

Maxwell, like many wealthy pariahs before her, is laying out a detailed strategy for getting out of jail and back into high society. Could she possibly pull it off? Plus, four former high society fliers who fell from grace… and then worked their way back up to the top. Read the full story.

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