Little is known about Max Zwerbach’s childhood and youth other than his birth date of March 14, 1884. Zwerbach, nicknamed “Kid Twist,” was a member of Monk Eastman’s gang. When Eastman was sent to jail for robbery in 1904, Kid Twist and Richie Fitzpatrick, another gang member, competed for leadership of Monk Eastman’s gang. In November, 1904, a peace conference between the two turned deadly. Fitzpatrick was shot and Kid Twist took over leadership of Monk Eastman’s gang. Kid Twist kept Monk Eastman’s gang in power as a leading force in the New York underworld.

Despite being married and having a child, Kid Twist kept an active social life with women around town. In May 1908, he was sharing the affections of Carroll Terry, a dancer, with Louie “The Lump” Pioggi, a member of the rival Five Points gang. When Pioggi found out that Terry preferred Kid Twist’s company, he became jealous. When Zwerbach and an associate spotted him at a bar, they mocked Pioggi and then forced him to jump out a second story window. Later that night, Pioggi returned, lured Zwerbach outside, and murdered him. Monk Eastman’s gang fell apart in the wake of Zwerbach’s death. Zwerbach’s protégé, Jack Zelig, succeeded him as the leader of the largest faction of the gang.

Artwork Information:
Max Zwerbach, 2008
Mixed Media Silkscreen on Paper
19″ x 29″