- Byliner Original
On the morning of February 15, 1912, a Thursday, George Schweitzer stepped out of his doorman’s office inside the French Renaissance lobby of America’s largest hotel, the Broadway Central, in New York City. The harsh winter sun was just slanting down East Third into Broadway, and hundreds of guests hurried in and out of the hotel’s doors. The massive American flags on each of the three Gothic towers hung slack against the winter sky.
Schweitzer saw the taxicab driver, Geno Mantani, idling near his stand, still waiting for his employee Sam Lefkowitz to get back from uptown, where he was having a half dozen tires fixed. 
“Bank call. Go over there,”  Schweitzer said, motioning to East River National, across the street.
Mantani got up on his box and set his machine into gear. He was an extremely lucky man. Between fifty and a hundred taxicab chauffeurs operated in the city, but he had been fortunate enough to contract for East River National’s business about a year before. That meant regular work.
The messengers weren’t outside the bank yet, so Mantani parked, idling twenty minutes more. Eventually, they emerged—the older notary with the spectacles and the boy, fresh from high school, who had been working at the bank only a month. They carried their long telescope bag between them—a leather case with the top snug over the bottom and the whole thing strapped around.
“Drive down to Number 10 Broadway,” the older man ordered Mantani. He slid the case onto the floor and cl...