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Like other large city dwellers of the era, New Yorkers had hoped that Prohibition would reduce crime, improve health, safety, economic prosperity, and increase public morality. However, New York City's crime rate rose to one of the nation's highest during the Prohibition. The large demand for alcohol was met by crime syndicates that monopolized all the city's illegal alcohol supply as well as all other auxiliary entertainment.


Mob-controlled liquor quickly replaced legitimate tax-paying alcohol producers and retailers. Gangster-owned speakeasies replaced neighborhood drinking establishments and within five years after Prohibition was imposed. There were over 300,000 speakeasies in New York City alone by some estimates. So many speakeasies operated that New York was known as the "City on a Still."


Gangsters opened large nightclubs with elaborate floor shows and popular bands. Speakeasies and nightclubs flourished because law enforcement officers were widely bribed. The speakeasies and nightclubs bought "protection" from the very people paid to enforce the law. Hypocrisy was endemic, a raid on one of the city's most famous speakeasies caught a number of leading political figures. The most famous and successful Prohibition agents in the state, "Izzy" Einstein and Moe Smith enjoyed nothing more after a hard day of vigorously enforcing Prohibition than sitting back and enjoying their favorite beverages: beers and cocktails.


While the Prohibition was thought to have reduced crime, improve health, safety, create economic prosperity, and increase public morality, it had in fact done the exact opposite. Crime was rampant due to bootleggers, and the mobsters & speakeasies involved with the illegal alcoholic trade were romanticized. The money and power that came with bootlegging, as well as drinking in speakeasies as fashionable had become extremely alarming to early supporters of the Prohibition.

The economics of the Prohibition was also becoming quite alarming. An estimated $861 million was lost annually in federal tax from untaxed liquor. $40 millionn annually was spent on Prohibition law enforcement with very little of the law being enforced.

In 1932, the Democratic Party's platform included a plank for the repeal of Prohibition, and Democrat Franklin Roosevelt ran for President of the United States promising repeal of federal Prohibition laws.

The Congress proposed the Twenty-first Amendment to repeal the Eighteenth Amendment and the Prohibition on February 20, 1933. On June 27, 1933 New York State became the third state of the thirty six states needed to ratify the Amendment in favor or repeal.

On the Eighteenth Amendment was fully ratified on December 5, 1933. Federal laws enforcing Prohibition were then repealed.