Thirty-nine Chambers Street. The address sounded innocuous when said like that. He remembered it as it had been a few years before, back before the states went to war, a comedy theatre and before that an opera house that had failed to maintain its pretensions. Then, the Federal Government had taken it over and made it into a courthouse. Of course, they’d justified their choice due to its proximity to City Hall, but that was not the real reason why it had closed: he recalled the plays the place had hosted, tragicomedies of shocking content that haunted his dreams yet. The city had done nothing about it, leaving it to the Federal authorities, too many bigwigs had been secret patrons. New York was a city of the decadent and the damned, lost souls that had washed in on the tide.
Shivering in the early morning January chill, he approached the courthouse, the figure of a fine gentleman. He had business here. Not court business like following the Draft Riots that had shaken the city the previous year. No, he was here on a private retainer. There was only a narrow window of opportunity, for the man he was here to see was destined for The Tombs, New York’s notorious prison. There, he lacked the tame guards willing to look the other way for a bottle of gin and a nod and a wink. Here, he could be in and out undetected.