"Public Executions in New York City" was my contribution to the 2nd Edition of the Encyclopedia of New York City edited by Ken Jackson, Lisa Keller and Nancy Flood and published in 2012 by Yale University PressExecutions used to be extremely popular in New York: crowds of up to 50,000 people, one-third of the metropolis, jammed downtown; spectators tore clothes from the condemned for use as good luck charms, and fought for prime viewing spots. In 1829, disturbances forced New York to move killings inside prison walls — apparently the first jurisdiction in the world to take this step. Audiences then lined adjacent rooftops: scalpers hawked tickets to the prison yard which held the gallows. Electric chair executions began on 6 August 1890 deep inside Sing Sing prison in upstate Ossining, New York and these morbid spectacles ended in New York City.