9. Selling NYC Landmarks
Back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when some of New York City’s major landmarks, like the Brooklyn Bridge, were built, there were con artists who would con unsuspecting tourists into “buying” them. One of most famous of these was George C. Parker who sold the Brooklyn Bridge hundred of times over. Parker would sell the bridge from anywhere between $50 to $50,000.
Parker also “sold” other landmarks such as Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Museum, and Grant’s Tomb. Besides him, there were two other famous con men who sold the bridge, a William McCloudy, or “I.O.U. O’Brien,” and Peaches O’Day who was the first man to ever sell it in 1899 for $200.
Another con artists duo sold the information booth at Grand Central Station (the version prior to the current terminal) to two fruit merchant brothers. The sale was not real, and the two brothers were gipped out of $100,000, never fully realizing that the sale was a con.
To read more about these and other famous landmark scams, check out Famous Landmark Scams From NYC And Paris to London.