January 18, 1923 | Izzy and Moe call on Governor Al Smith

 Izzy Einstein (l) sharing a post-Prohibition toast with Moe Smith, 1935.
 

“Did you suspect there was any liquor in the State Capitol?” Einstein was asked.

“Oh, no, nothing like that. We just dropped in to pay our respects to Governor Smith,” he said.

“I guess you’ll find Albany is about as dry as the Sahara,” said the Governor, with a twinkle in his eye.

-as quoted in The New York Times, January 19, 1923


They were always Izzy and Moe, never Isidore Einstein and Moe Smith, even in the venerable New York Times, where the colorful duos’ wacky but effective exploits practically merited a weekly column. Federal Prohibition agents in New York during the early years of the dry movement, Izzy and Moe made 4,392 arrests for Prohibition violations during their five years on the job (1920-1925) and destroyed about 5,000,000 bottles of illegal hooch. These dry sleuths ferretted out speakeasies, donned clever disguises, and even caused a few burly bartenders to faint at the sight of them. Arguably the most successful Prohibition agents of their time, Izzy and Moe’s popularity might have done them in—they were both laid off in 1925 along with 38 other agents in the New York office.