by Allan May
Although Lawrence Fay claimed he was "pained" by the "racketeer" label placed on him by the police and the newspapers, he found it much more painful to explain away his rap sheet of 49 arrests. "I’m just a regular businessman, like any broker or merchant," Fay told reporters.
Larry Fay was anything but regular. The flashy dresser with a penchant for indigo blue shirts, loud neckties, and highly polished fingernails was one of the most flamboyant Broadway personalities during the 1920s. It was Fay that James Cagney portrayed in the movie The Roaring Twenties.
Fay’s ambition to move beyond "gangster status" could be seen in the elaborate offices he maintained in a respectable office building off Columbus Circle in Manhattan. Surrounded by an attractive office staff, Fay stayed in the background, meeting daily only with close friends, while his well-groomed assistants met clientele at the door and handled business matters.