July 10, 2019

CONFIDENTIAL: Death by 'Skylarking'

Daily News front page detail, September 23, 1929,

This installment of our Confidential series, a walk on Tudor City's wilder side, recounts the sudden death of Allen Weir, society figure and Manor resident.
New York Times front page detail.

Weir was born to a prominent family in Wilmington, Delaware. After graduating from Annapolis naval academy, he moves to Manhattan in 1927, renting an apartment in The Manor. 

Independently wealthy ‒ the owner of a yacht and two automobiles ‒ he socializes with a high-flying crowd, and is considered quite a catch. His status is enhanced after his brother marries a du Pont heiress. 

Then, in the early hours of Sunday, Sept. 22, 1929, Weir returns home after a night out with two buddies. They had been drinking ‒ despite Prohibition being the law of the land, liquor was easy to come by in Manhattan ‒ and were in "high spirits." Pouring nightcaps, they begin 'skylarking' around the apartment, period slang for 'horsing around.'

Weir leaps up on the sill of an open window, nearly losing his balance. His pals rush to steady him, but he topples out the window, falling into a rear courtyard to his death. He is 26 years old.
Headlines from the Asbury Park Press, Brooklyn Times-Union, and Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

The ensuing police investigation ultimately pronounces Weir's death accidental, exacerbated by the fact that he was "heavily intoxicated" at the time of the fall. The Daily News spelled it out in its inimitable style:


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During Prohibition, liquor was easy to find in Tudor City. See our earlier post here.

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