Just remembering my cousin Nelson a.k.a Superman who passed away a long time ago. He was involved in a gangland homicide in 1955 between the Navajos and the Golden Guineas. Before he moved to the Bronx he lived on 104th St. in Harlem and was a member of the Dragons a gang formed by Puerto Ricans to protect themselves against the Harlem Red Wings, famous for a killing at Jefferson pool of an innocent Cuban teen. As many others that did gang killings, Superman was never the same. Like many other gang bangers he came from a caring family but the streets enticed him and he took the bait. On the other hand his brother Pito became a Golden Gloves champ.
Hi Lefty. Thank you for replying. My dad was a natural leader. He had a great mind. He had a natural mind for science. I also believe I get my love of the medical field from him. I know if he were alive and well today, he’d be sharper than a whip. I have seen some of the archived articles. Some show that same confident smile I remember as a child, and some show the innocent fear that was well hidden behind that smile. Though I didn’t grow up as you, my dad, and the Crowns did, I am all too familiar with the intricate dynamics of the streets. You loved hard, fought harder, laughed tirelessly, and cried with no shame. That Is the Underestimated beauty and all too quickly fading fundamental conceptions of what street crews and gangs were supposed to be. Please send your brothers my regards and salutations. I know my dads would have loved to have known that I was able to make this connection. I would love to hear more. Please keep in touch. Happy holidays!!!
Hi Dione, so glad I was able to bring some clarity about Meejo. He was the leader of our division of the Crown Nation but he could have been the leader of anything he set his mind on. When we woke up the morning after that fatal day we were awed as we read the daily news and saw Meejo on the front page. We felt proud yet sad for we knew we would lose a leader and a warrior. Here we are over 60 years later and Meejo still comes up in conversation when our guys get together. To understand our life style, you had to be there for we laughed, fought, cried and loved. Thank you for the kind words.
Hello everyone. It’s taken me a bit longer than I’d like to muster up the courage to write this reply. I’d like to start off by thanking David for this amazing forum. He, and this forum, and now you, have helped me find much needed closure and understanding as of to whom my Father was. Lefty, your post on my father’s passing was so moving. It’s funny that his nickname was Meejo...he’d call us Meeja whenever he spoke Spanish. That was a rarity. I’d always wonder what he was like before that tragic day. I’d always imagined that his lack of domestic family support was somehow replaced with the love of his friends and peers. I’d imagined that he was naturally strong in build, hard working,
well dressed, valiant, honorable, courageous, sincere, and righteous. Your words proved that what I once called daydreams And fairytales were actually factual. My father always had this magnetism to him. No matter where we went, random people spoke to him. From the homeless to the rich, street vendors to business owners, they all seemed to be drawn to this aura. I have to admit, I used to think sometimes it’s was his height, smile, and captivating color-shifting eyes. He was ingenious. He made Christmas trees from cardboard and tinsel. He made fishing rods from branches, clear craft string and sewing needles. He’d teach us what berries were safe to eat when we’d go to the park. He was a wonderful artist. He had this old world way of sketching. I believe he’s the reason why I enjoy hiking and why I am a painter. I believe that he never lost that auric allure and presence, regardless of the trade goes that seemed to dictate the course of his life. I wonder if you were ever with him when he’d go swimming in the Bronx River or the Bronx Sound? I’d would be enraptured when he’d tell me stories of his childhood. There weren’t many that he would share but when he did, it was as if I was traveling back in time with him. The time he spent paying for his actions, coupled with the unfair parental circumstances all had detrimental effects on him. The streets had a grip on him that was deeper than Anything or anyone else. In time, his body could no longer endure his homeostatic decline. During his last few weeks on this earth, he was surrounded by his children, future grand daughter, his favorite music, and the divine love of our Creator. I know now why I am the way that I am. I get a lot of my character traits and tendencies from him. I didn’t know that until I read your post. Thank you Lefty for sharing with me such an intimate and beautiful memories of my Dad. I am so grateful that you gave me, just as David has, yet another priceless piece of him to hold onto. Blessings and love to you both!!!
Just finished reading a great book of life in El barrio ( Spanish Harlem) from the 1940s up called Down These mean Streets by Piri Thomas, a gang banger of old and an inmate at Sing Sing. In this book the crude truth of how gangs were formed and why ,along with how racism had a lot to do with it. in this book the early Puerto Rican gangs, the Viceroys and Dragons are mentioned. During those times Harlem was separated into three neighborhoods, Blacks up around 125th and Lenox Ave., Puerto Ricans on 110th St. and Lexington Ave., and Italians along first Ave and 116 St. called The Harlem Redwings. This book will knock your socks off as it depicts the crude lifestyle of the young and poor teens that roamed the streets back then. Some will be shocked of how the mean streets were but like myself, this was the norm. I met and marched in Washington with the author Piri in protest of political prisoners back in 1996 in Washington. Piri has since passed.
I want to say thank you for all the effort and dedication you have put into this site. I had to write an essay which went towards my final grade and decided what I'd be able to do in college. Throughout my almost two years of writing it you and everyone else with your interesting stories inspired my essay and now I'm in college studying history. Your site helped me decide my topic back in 2018 and was a real help- especially all the sources and books you've linked to as it's not a subject that any of my teachers were familiar with. Thanks again, and good luck with your future research!
My friends and I were attacked by a gang at the corner of Tapscott St and East New York Ave, mid 50's. while standing near a friends candy store. There were six of us and I was caught and was taken to Unity hospital first and then Kings County. The gang, either the Corsair Lords or Jonquils, both from Crown Heights, was looking for some kids from our area. None of us were gang members, we all just happened to live on that block.
I wanted to ask about the apaches before it was turned into mau mau. I wanted to ask about my father in law Flame who was a member.
Sinner's comic was published in 1975 when Jocko was 46(?) 1975-1939. He said he read the comic when he was a boy.... Why the discrepancy?
*He never say he read the Sinner's comic when he was a boy. It was the interviewer who said he read the Sinner's comic book when he was a boy.*
dave dave dave today is your lucky day --i fothe film i was telling you about called latinos in america --you might be able to put it on your web site --it shows member of the latin crowns also a few others like the drangons ---all pr gangs from the 50's --you have to look quick but i think you will enjoy this very much ---let me know i'am sure you will watch it more than onece--here it is -- https://www.pbs.org/video/latino-americans-episode-4-new-latinos/
*Thank-you Carl, very much appreciate this!!!*
hey dave --i hope your doing well we haven't talked in awhile --i wanted to point something out to you --these past week the pbs station has been running a show called latino in america,,it is like a 5 chapther story of mexican and porto rican here in the usa .in one of them they showed the pr's when in the early 50's had all moved too harlem in ny --well they were real pictures from back then and show actual mebers of the vampires gang and another gang -i tryed to find the chapther on u -tube but i could not find it ...these were actual home movie from back then --i must see dave --very cool
*Thank-you Carl, now that sounds like a must-see video. Thanks for the heads up. Are you on Facebook? I have lots of updates on my research on my Brooklyn Rumble Facebook page which can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/brooklynrumble/ *
Been a while since i posted something but I noticed that not many posts by others either. I guess since those of us that gang banged in the 50s are in our 80s or close to it. When we were out there the music was doo-wop, the attire was khaki pants, desert boots, paisley printed shirts, stetson hats and v-neck gang sweaters with our names and emblems. The parties were called sets and slow songs were called the grind. Our gangs were about friends that were down and were tight protecting our turf from problem people. Guns were scarce and we battled with our hands, sticks, bottles, bricks and sometimes knives.We had a lot of girls and a lot of fun but the heroin epidemic seeped in and guys started dropping off like flies.Some cleaned up after jail and some died from heroin and some us, well, we are still around,educated, retired, living well and bringing up descent families with the knowledge we got tasting the bad and coming back. In time there will be no bangers left from that era but from someone that was there, it was a great time.
I had a friend of mines that was my personal car mechanic who lived on the Lower East Side where i use to live back in the early 90's his name was Julio i was having a conversation with him as he was working on my car back around 1993 and he told me he use to be in a gang back in the early 50's called the Socialistics Dukes from Spanish Harlem i said wow u was in a gang, he was about 5'4'' tall tough guy he still had his muscles, he talked with a voice box machine, he had damage his leg back in the army since then he had passed away of natural causes.
Hey, just ran across your site regarding the Roman Lords and your topic on the Mau Maus. I am a film producer and released a feature film entilted Victor. Based on the true story of Victor Torres one of the original gang members of the RLs. He is a person friend who turned his life around and helps gang members to this day. You might find some helpful info from our movie since we kept it as close as possible to the events. Also about the Mau Maus, i know you mentioned you completed your study on them, however, if your interested I am also a personal family friend with Nicky Cruz the warlord of the Mua Muas and who also had a feature film on his story entitled The Cross & the Switchblade. You may already know of this but I just thought your site and info is really cool and done well. Hope this info is not a waiste of your time. I just share your interests with the old gangs especially since I grow up in NY.
Hi Dave, I responded to your email this morning wanting to verify that you and I engaged in a number of emails of me telling you of my two encounters with the Mau Maus, and of me wanting to know why in your agenda, you weren't that interested in Queens. I lived in Astoria, Woodside, and Elmhurst and went to school in Corona. Consequently, I knew many Corona Dukes, Astoria Gents, Polk Avenue Boys, and Gaylords of Elmhurst. As Tom "Wally" Wall of Woodside once wrote, "we played football, baseball, basketball and in the off-season, we were a gang." You also told me of gangs in Rockaway, Flushing and other neighborhoods. The funny thing is that I am proof-reading my book of short stories, which includes the two altercations with the Mau Maus. Please email back to me, and know I will be back here as I will want to tell a few stories about the Woodside Chiefs and the Gaylords and at least name first names. I look forward to reading your book and I hope we can chat more about Queens. Please know the Gents and Dukes were stepping stones to organized crime. There are two Dons from Queens, one is the President, who is a wise guy, and the other wise-guy is the Teflon Don, John Gotti. What are we, chopped liver? )) My best wishes...
You write"Hector was incarcerated in a correctional institution until August 22, 1962 when he was released on parole and sent back home at 379 South 5th Street to live with his parents.
His whereabouts today are unknown."
I think I know where he is, do a Google Earth Street View of 379 South 5th Street, Brooklyn NY, and you'll see that he is probably still inside, unable to leave.
Hello I read your article ..Pastor Santiago Mayol was my great grandfather.
My family knows everything that my great grandfather did At his church . I noticed certain things that were written in your article that were incorrect ..I’m willing to share the full story ...my family and I would like to meet with you to discuss the full history thank you ! And I congratulate you on your book 🙂
No mention of the Wizards, viceroys. I was a wizard.
I was just wondering if there is a way to contact the people on this guest list? I don't see any email addresses published. I would like to find out more about some of the stories & info given here in this forum. My email is : [email protected]
My brother was involved in the red wings fight who wrote this boo
As time goes by we the gang bangers of the 1950s and 1960s will be gone as well as the candy stores, club sweaters, memories of battles and parties. yet one thing from our era will live on and that is the music of our day that blared out of jukeboxes in every neighborhood. The groups that come to mind that we listened to in the Bronx were The Moonglows, The Dubs, The Flamingos, The Drifters, The Chantels, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The paragons and the Jesters, The five Satins, the Channels, The Platters, The Cadillacs, The Crests and many more. it was a time when America was working, holidays were magical and cell phones did not exist. Our club sweaters were elegant and we all wore brimmed hats and top coats. Rock and roll forever
I was a Parkman ..ran the playground in a small park next to the Marcy.i remember when jewboy got killed.anyone know what happened to Petra ‘pinkie’ Core?
As born and raised in Astoria,
My uncle Eddie , was one of the original Parkside Gents as they were called , because they hung out by and under the Hellgate Bridge and Astoria Park . That how Parkside came from , later turned to Astoria Gents .
They were tough group of guys and into not doing the right thing, lots died young and went to jail. We grew up 1 block from the park on 21 drive . Anything else just email me
The editor of this page recently wrote about a Ronnie from the Collegiate Crowns of the Bronx. Just like to set something straight. The majority of Crowns and most gangs did not perpetrate on innocent folks, especially women or bully guys to join our gangs. Most gang members were from the same block and grew up together defending their turf. Most of the time we spent having parties(sets) and harmonizing on the corner drinking wine with the girls. When heroine came around some became addicts and others went to the service, work, jail, or church. Our club sweaters represented where we lived, where we hung out at, where our power was. Were there vicious mean members, yes and all these guys are dead.
Hello. I am the granddaughter and niece of two members from the latin crowns and chaplains. I love hearing stories about their experiences 50 plus years later. They were in these gangs in about the 1950s-1960s.
Can anyone by any chance remember a girl named Annette? Who lived on Myrtle/Carlton Avenue? Right across from the Fort Greene Projects. She was dating someone who was a baker at the time. If so, please contact me. Thanks!
Know anything about a major rumble on the beach in Coney Island between the Bishops and (maybe) the Lords? Maybe 1960 or 61.
Right off the boardwalk at Stillwell Ave. There have been a lot made guys looking for recruits?
Vinegar Hill is the (heretofore) little-known eastern section of DUMBO, encompassing the blocks east from Gold Street, with the Brooklyn Navy Yard on the east. The story of how Vinegar Hill got its name is an unusual one. Vinegar Hill has been here since 1800, when a John Jackson purchased its land from the Sands brothers (for whom Sands Street is named). Jackson actually hoped to attract Irish immigrants in an era when Irish were otherwise unwelcome. He named his tract Vinegar Hill after the site of a fierce battle in the unsuccessful Irish rebellion of 1798. In Ireland, the name “Vinegar Hill” was an English transliteration of an Irish Gaelic term meaning “hill of the wood of the berries.” Vinegar Hill has also been known as Irish Town. Much of Vinegar Hill was lost to the construction of the Farragut Houses in the 1950s.
Good question Big Carl. Unlike the classic movie The Warriors, gang battles generally were with neighboring neighborhoods within their boroughs and walking distance, having to split up on the way. Sometime gang members would go to parties or events in other boroughs and get into fights with the local gangs usually taking a loss and having to flee to the nearest train station or arrival of police. Also, back in the 1950s gangs would fight with baseball bats, chains, garrison belts, cut off cue sticks, knives, and an occasions a zip gun which they would have to carry these obvious weapons on the train.
Hey dad, Great work on your website, i am wiring about a fiction story on gangs for English class right now, and I went to this website and it is looking great. Keep up the good work.
ok....... dave i just wanted to tell ya i got your book --awesome --the pics are also great ,,,i got for my birthday --i got a quick question ... how often have you heard back in the 50's gangs would travel too fight ---like the brox to brooklyn or brooklyn too queens and the reason for that ???? can you give us some stories on that would love to hear them--stay cool dude ,,,, BIG CARL ,,,,FROM UPSTATE
Just got the news that the president of my gang, the Egyptian Crowns Raymond Serra passed a few weeks ago in a nursing home. before he went away for a very long time he was a Hercules of a man, strong, good looking and loved by his followers. Worked hard all day and represented our turf at night. I was younger than him but he took me everywhere. Wherever we went, even other turfs, he got respect and was well liked. He was a legend and I extend my condolences to his family and friends. In the near future the 1950s gang bangers will no longer exist, but I gotta say, it was a magical time when we stood side by side in love and war.
John Bixaretty, When the Scorpions were around (1954) the other gangs in the Latin gangs in the Bronx were the Lightnings from Stebbins, Valient and Egyptian Crowns, Young Sinners, Royal Knights. The Black gang were the Sportsmen and white gang were the Baldies. I knew Scorpions from Washington ave by Crotona park. All the gangs had a president, Vice president, prime minister, and war counselor. We all wore v-neck sweaters with our emblems on it. Most from that era went to Nam, got hooked on drugs, as many died of AIDS. We that are still around are lucky and in our mid and late 70s. Our favorite gang movie back then was the Young Savages and Blackboard Jungle.
Wow...The Scorpions Gang was a strictly all Italian street gang from the Bronx New York for a very long long time. I believe their leader Tanks reign ended in the 1950s. My uncle Ramon Fred "Freddie" Del Valle became warlord of all New York after defeating the Italian leader of the Scorpions in a switchblade duel on the streets of the Bronx. Upon my uncles Challenge they both went out to the streets and cut each other almost to the death. They both wound up in the hospital for a stretch. My uncle was declared the winner because he was still on his feet. Tank lay on the ground. My uncle has the image of a Scorpion branded burned over his heart. He has the switchblade scars all over his body. He took over the Scorpions gang. At that time he became the first Puerto Rican in New York City to defeat an Italian in New York.
Anyone have information or stories too share about The Scorpios From the Bronx?
I'm from brooklyn...looking for an old friend who I have not heard from in 30 years..his name johnny badillo (junebug) savage nomads south bronx..can anyone help ?
who remembers the latin hearts and the spanish kings tots from east harlem
Whew!,This GuestBook Names Most of the Gangs in Much of N.Y.C. that I grew up Hearing & Knowing About in the Bed-Stuy, Crown Hts Border area, What Great Memories it Invokes, thanks All of You For Jogging My Memory of this Best of Times in NYC[1950's..Natch!]
On 2017-12-02 11:59 AM, miguellupianez wrote:
Let's make this a little more clear I was a young boy and my sister met Ricky Torres a Roman Lord big people they were boyfriends and they finally married Ricky Torres went to the Vietnam War and I remain in Brownsville he was instrumental in getting me the position of warlord and Peacemaker of the Roman Lord's little people we were based on Stone Avenue I was not a good fighter but I had connections and was good at planning sophisticate attacks into the enemy's territory using the back of their territory with the help of I believe my Italians and polish gangs that would allow me to use their territory to make surprise attack from the back of the Bishops and the Hellraisers territory I was also very good at entering a manhole and coming out miles away and entering subway stations to make surprise attacks on individual units it wasn't all good for me as when I went to school PS2 I believe The Bishop's and the Hellraisers would invade the school to try to get me however the principal would hide me when the police would catch us rumbling they would let us loose in the enemy's territory right in the heart of the enemy territory we had to run as fast as we could.As Warlord I love to riot and Rumble every night I had a rumble at 8 at night and never fail but when they put me in that position whoever had the power to make peace and they chose me to do it I got no credit for it except in police records if they even exist there was also what i called the over the project black Roman Lords which was my army my vice president was a member of these lords and he died from sniffing carbona.What happened and what led me to achieve peace and among all the gangs tn brownsville was that I was caught in the enemy's territory by the hellraisers,they took me to a hallway and put me against the wall with a gun pointed on my back,suddenly one hellraiser said frenchie we like you and you have a lot of heart and we want to make peace.I replied i'll try and I achieved a two week peace deal with all gang members agreed including Shorty I believe of the big people Roman Lords they came to our festivities for 2 weeks and at the end of the two weeks the big Roman Lords ask me let's Ambush them I said No I gave my word I will not Ambush them they went on their own and they got their ass kicked however the over the project black Roman Lords did not temporarily accepted my peace deal until they got revenge for what they did to me when they caught me after they went and destroyed the neighborhood then they agreed with my peace deal and peace was a achieved
Greetings !.Am glad to see the book's finally out and would very much enjoy getting a copy.Please send me the price info. and mailing address if you could and will send an MO as I lack Paypal.Your faithful reader,Dale.
Hi David, you may remember myself (Enrique Rivera and also Manny Vidal.) We gave you info on the June 14, 1959 killing of Raoul Banuchi by the Dragon's Phillip Alvarez. I'm so glad that you finally got your book published. All the best.
Let me be the first to congratulate you on finally completing “Brooklyn Rumble”, (I’ve just ordered my copy!)
I feel that your most important achievement is that you have taken the time and trouble to record the personal testimony of those who were actively involved in these tragic events.
As although I’m sure newspaper articles, court records etc. have proved invaluable sources of information, they will still be available 30 years from now, whereas the former gang members that you interviewed (who must surely now be in their seventies?) will have sadly passed on and had you not made the effort to locate and interview them their personal experiences and insights would have died with them.
So once again congratulations on your achievement.
All the best
P.S. Is there any chance of a signed copy?
*Hi Mike thank-you for your kind words, and I really appreciate you taking the time to put your thoughts down like that. A signed copy should be possible, I just have to remember to let the depot know (I keep the books in the USA and they ship from there). Have a great day 🙂
Reaching to an oldfriend i list touch with. Whitey afriend of Caesar. 91977714788
Call if ir snows
Grew up on Grove Street between Evergreen Avenue and Bushwick Avenue. Left in 1964, for Richmond Hill Queens, at 10 years old when the gang violence became too much.
Hey Miguel Lupianez what was the little people of the Roman Lords
Why don't they talk about the roman lord little people of stone ave. i was war lord and peace maker and my name was Frenchie.I finally made peace with the bishops and the hell racers the big people roman lords didn't like i was elevated to president my connection who got me the post was from the big people Ricky Ortiz my sisters boy friend
Hey,been awhile since I've written and hope everything's going well with you,my friend.Noticed the book "Brooklyn Rumble" on the website.Is this the book you were writing ?.Sure would like to get a copy if so.Don't have paypal or anything but can send an MO for a copy given the mailing info.Thanks !.Dale.
Many, many years ago I read The Cross and the Switchblade and subsequent books of the same genre. I was fascinated by gang life in NYC - my world was so different. I'm very interested to know how accurate Nicky Cruz' books are and what happened to the rest of those misguided young men. *The parts in Nicky Cruz's book about his time in the gang are not accurate at all and are basically made up. However, I am currently writing a book on the Mau Maus that sets these inaccuracies straight. It should be ready very soon - it is with the proof reader right now.*
My family moved into the Marcy Projects in January, 1949 during a snow storm. We were one of the first tenants at 585 Park Avenue, apt. 1c. I attended PS 168 and then Mark Hopkins Jr. High School 148. We are an Italian family, but our friends were black, and Puerto Rican. We all got along and our parents looked out for each others kids. As we grew, so did the gangs. The Chaplins were the main gang at the Marcy. Even though they were very violent, they always tipped their hat to my mom, and always respectful to our family. When they were about to have a gang war, they would gather outside our building and walk around the circle, chanting and bopping. That was their sign to us that they were about to have a fight with one of the other gangs. I remember the Ellery Bops, the El Quintos. The Mau Maus would come over from the Fort Green Projects and would go up on the roof to fight. My mom would make sure we kids were locked in that night. I knew a boy named Skyes. He was very tough and I was afraid of him. I think he lived at 601 Park Avenue. We were all so young at the time but he never bothered me. My dad worked at Pfizer the drug company on Flushing Avenue. We went to All Saints Catholic Church on Throop and Flushing Avenues. All the kids would go to the movies together and stayed all day. We had matrons that kept the peace. The theatre was call the Alba on Flushing and Broadway. I had to always walk through the projects and I always felt safe at that time. I walked along Nostrand Avenue to Myrtle Avenue, under the El train. I would go to the candy store on the corner. When I was a little girl, I always remember the neighbors upstairs would have a rent party on a Saturday night and the music went on all night long. I recently went back to the Marcy and I felt such bitter sweet memories. I enjoyed my childhood and made many friends while growing up there in the Marcy. I still keep in touch with my best friend Jeanine and we often share our memories. Especially the ones where I covered for her while she went to meet her boyfriend Jimmy Hazel (because of his hazel eyes) Her mom got the truth out of me and my girlfriend got a good whooping.
Any news of where I can purchase the book?
*Thank-you for your message and interest. The book is currently with the proof reader. When it is ready, the book can be purchased off this website and I will notify everyone when the time comes. Thank-you again.*
Can you let me know when your book is out? I have read a lot of books on youth jitterbugging gangs. From the Vandals, the Vampires, Dragons and Egyptian Kings, Run Baby Run, Second Chance which tells a detail account of the Murder of the Sand Street Angel.
Very nice website - any idea when your book will be published?
hey nice website ,I was wondering if anyone knew a Cathrine Cormack. I think she was 14 or 15 in a gang not sure which one. she had a son with a pimp who is not known but I know her son has the same last name .I am trying to find info.on anything about cathrine . I know by the age of 20 she had overdose on cocaine ,and was found dead in a jail cell. I juist want info on her son where abouts . thanks sherri
When is the book coming out and what is the books name?
Your book should be called Lost Dreams in the death lands
Anyone recall a guy nick names Pepe?
The Lords of Flatbush was a 1974 movie with fictional characters, although Brooklyn had many gangs. Best known were the Chaplins. the Mighty Count Bishops, and many others. Karen mentioned the gang problem in her area being bad today. I have to clarify that the gangs of today are mostly about drug dealing, prostitution, and gun violence. Back in the 50s we were about protecting our hood, having great parties, dressing clean, and romancing the girls. There were not many guns, zip guns at that, and we fought hand to hand combat maybe using sticks, knives and belts. And in jail back then you went to do your time not continue gang activities like today where you can get killed for a tattoo. Back then we also wore majestic sweaters with great designs and superb lettering. I was an Egyptian Crown from the Bronx and the other gangs were the Scorpions, Sportsmen, Lightnings, Rockets, Young Sinners, Royal Knights, Baldies, red Wings, and many more.
Very interesting history of the dark side of New York. In the 1970s I met a man named Kyle who claimed that he was a member of "Lord's of Flatbush". I don't see any references to that gang. Could he have been a member of a gang that had the word Lord's in the name? He was in his 40 s when I met htm. We have our own gang problems here and they're not romantic. Cold blooded is how I'd describe them. Thanks for your research. Really interesting. KR
*Hi Karen, "Lords" is a fairly common word found in gang names of the 50s. The Lords of Flatbush sounds familiar, but unfortunately I don't know anything about the Lords of Flatbush. If he was born in the 1930s, he would have been in the Lords of Flatbush in the 40s or early 50s. Thank-you for your message and I'm glad you like the website.*
Had a question on a 1950s gang you could probably clear up that also includes a slaying.In the early/mid-'50s there was a gang in BKLYN called the Fort Hamilton Boys.Their president was a young guy named Tony Bavimo who was also a promising boxer.Bavimo was found shot to death in a ditch probably thrown from a vehicle in which he was killed.At the time they had been rumbling with another club,perhaps Avenue U but there were implications he may have run afoul of local organized crime because of gang activity drawing heat to the neighborhood.Read about him in a book by an ex-Fort Hamilton member who became a judge called "Up From Never".Joe Sorrentino.Great book BTW but am sure you've read it.
*Hello Dale, I haven't heard of that book before and now I want to read it! I haven't heard of this gang killing, but I am not as knowledgeable on some of the early years of youth gangs. I will keep my eye out for any information on this though. And I will look at getting a copy of this book. Thanks for the message.*
Good seeing your book will finally be finished and out there.Been reading your great website as usual and as always it's a treat !.It could make up a cool book by itself with the stories and pic's."Run,Baby,Run" was probably THEE book to turn me on to NY '50s youth gangs and still enjoy reading it though there are a couple questionable incidents such as the "Sawgrass" murder,half-true story,different real-life characters...Thanks again !.
*Thanks Dale, I appreciate that. Your intuition about some of the stories in Nicky's book not being on the up and up is spot on. I will have an Appendix devoted to unearthing issues about the truthfulness of his story.*
i wish we had more pictures to post here from the 50's of gang memebers -also i can't wait for your book to come out ,,,,let us know when
The Mau Maus were more than just Nicky. Hope to read that how it really went down will come to light. All those other Mau Mau cats that really made it happen and were forgotten. The Mau Maus that were never given their fare share of recognition. Good work.
J. Torres spoke about his older family members killing and cutting up other denominations. According to his dates, it was a time when Puerto Ricans were perpetrated on in Harlem and we were forced to create gangs to defend ourselves. They were the Dragons, Viceroys and Puerto Rican Dukes. Gangs were the street way of protecting their neighborhoods against others, especially when all police were white and many racists. I must say that the cop on the beat back then got to know us and our families well and treated us fair. Todays gangs stand for stupidity, drugs, and murder. The 1950s and 50s were a great time for the young in NY.
1958 to 1960 lived in the Bronx I belonged to a crew small called the Impalas latter became Jr. Stars as I remember the other major gang was the Bullets hung 150th street and 159th around Morris Ave
Haven't written in a while, but after reading a few new entries i chose to write. When it came to toughness all gangs had heart and were tough, after all they were originally formed for protection from whatever nationality ruled the hood. Back in the fifties with Chaplins, and Mau Maus in Brooklyn, Viceroys, Dragons and Red Wings in Harlem, and Young Sinners, Scorpions, baldies, Egyptian Crowns in the Bronx life was rough. We had heart because 90% of the time we battled with fists, belts, sticks, knives and an occassional zip gun. With all the battles we had none took more lives than the Viet Nam War and Heroin. Those of us bangers that are still around, we either were lucky, woke up, beat AIDS, or found God. Hopefully you old heads are steering the young men of today in the right direction.
Very interesting site. I grew up at 2476 Hughes Avenue in the Bronx in the 1960's. The location shown for Piggy's candy store is incorrect. Piggy's was actually around the corner on Belmont Avenue, directly opposite 2480 Belmont, my uncle's building; Piggy's doorway was the next door down from the red canopy visible around the corner. That mosque now sits where the original two buildings were.
Macho Man originates from Puerto Rican. Making something out of nothing.
I'm a proud Puerto Rican my grandfather owned a barber shop on 103rd and Lex. My uncle murdered a few Italians that cut him up in the 59's sewd himself up and did $ years in sing sing you get what you ask for. So be it. Burns's noches.
I just can't believe that the sopranos got so much attention when the Puerto Rican's took over East Harlem my uncle Ralph killed one of these made a holes did 7 years in sing sing but yet we get nothing. As a Puerto Rican I know we are for real We need to school the young ones big time
Carmen: I remember the Horsemen. I lived in Williamsburg from age 5 to 15. We lived most of the time up and down on Meserole St. with a two-year stint on Graham Ave (across from Rainbow Theater). I went to PS141 from 1st to 5th grade. It seemed like during my early elementary school years the Jesters and El Quintos would rumble. But then when I got to 6th grade I went to PS196. By that time you did not hear about the Jesters or El Quintos anymore. In PS196 is where I met Frankie. He was the younger brother of Sunny. Sunny was the Prez of the Horseman (Big People). I went to 49 for 7th and 8th grade. I was the first class that graduated from Gaynor from 8th grade. It seemed like Graham was the DMZ between the Saints and Horsmen turfs. The Saints were south of Graham Ave and while the Horsemen were north of Graham Ave. On Meserole St (Horsemen turf) lived BlackJack, Carlos, Louie. I hung out with Louie a lot. He was real nice. His family owned 191 Meserole St. We lived in 193. I don't recall where Sunny and Frankie lived. I spent the whole 6th grade hanging out with Frankie. He taught me a lot about gang ranks and protocols. Sunny was real nice. What I never understood was that the horsemen that hung out on Meserole St were nice to me. They called me Sir Lancelot even though I was not part of the gang. Yet, the horsemen that hung out on Montrose were always bullying me and any friend or cousin with me. One of the Horsemen who was good friends with Louie was Ralphy. He was Italian. I think he was the only non-PR in the gang. Ralphy was always bullying me. Louie would always tell me to pop him but I was too afraid. When I came back from PR I went by Meserole in 1979 and was able to talk to Louie's sister. I was told Blackjack still lived there. After 1966, I never saw those guys again. I would love to see some of those guys again. Great memories. Although one Sunday evening in 1977 I stopped by the bodega on the corner of Meserole and Humboldt. (not there anymore - Dammit.) I walked thru a group of guys hanging out in front of our bodega. Half of them looked at me weird like if they recognized me. I regret not stopping and chatting with them. As tough as those guys were they all had such respect for my father - Don Sosa.
I ran across your excellent website and it brought back many memories. I was born at Flower Fifth Ave. Hospital on 106th Street in 1946. I grew up in Harlem on 104th across the street from the old Union Settlement, where they had sprinklers overhead for the kids to stay cool in the summer. They kept knocking the buildings down to build projects, so we moved to 107th St between 2nd & 3rd, then 120th St. and finally 105th St. between 2nd & 3rd, across from the Manhattan School of Music. I went to St. Ann's on East 110th between 1st & 2nd, which was in Red Wing territory. My father was connected and had a candy store on 105th, where you would bet on the numbers (policy) during the day and in the back of the store was the Harlem Star Social Club, where members played cards at night. It wasn't uncommon on a cold winter night for the police from the 23rd Precinct with their long blue coats to stop in for a sandwich and a shot of scotch, while the game was going on. 105th was solid Dragon territory and they always had it on with the Viceroys from the West Side. Each gang bopped on each others turf. It got particularly crazy when Frankie "Paquito", who was originally a Viceroy, moved into Dragon territory. He had to prove himself, so he had a friend on the Viceroys named Scotty, who he had to either kill or seriously hurt. He stabbed him in the chest and lucky for Frankie he didn't die, otherwise he would have been in for murder. Ever since then, however, he was marked. On one occasion, Frankie was down in the stairwell shooting craps when a couple of guys came to the stairs and called out his name. He answered and they shouted "Burn MF" and pulled out a real, not zip gun, and started pulling the trigger. The cheap, imported .22 pea-shooter jammed and they took off running down toward 3rd Ave. They were caught and beaten until the cops came. One incident of many. I remember the Valentine brothers, Pete and Benjamin, Deeplo (John), who was stabbed 6 times, but didn't die while he was on a recon mission into Viceroy Turf. Other names were Chino, The Rifleman, Hitler (who taught me how to make a gasoline bomb) Papo and one girl, Blanca. Most were either already hooked on heroin or were on there way. They also had a "social club" called the "Social Highboys, LAMF". Their jackets had a guy with a Top Hat and Cane. Funny thing is you really never saw anyone wearing their colors, because in many cases the cops would confiscate them on site. I was young and for the most part protected because of my father. They knew him as Louie with the white hair. Anyway, reading the other comments brought back many fond memories of my youth. Incidentally, there were other gangs also in the area, mostly Italian. There were the Red Devils from 107th Street. My sister was a Devil Deb. In the late 40's early 50's before he went into the Army, my brother-in-law was a Ranger. They were from 104th St, between 1st & 2nd.
My mother in-law loves to tell her brooklyn gang stories. She ran with the Apache's and the bishops. They called her queeny and She's 70 years old now . Just wondering if there's any of her affiliates still out there?
I remember as if it was yesterday the Michael Farmer Murder. It was an early summer morning and I had just come out of my apartment building on W 174st. to walk my dog. I would take her across the street to Highbridge Park where I also played baseball everyday. The sun was coming up and the morning sun in my eyes made me squint. I started to walk the half block to cross Amsterdam Ave as had done so many times before. I was six years old at the time. I saw the detectives and cops in the Park looking for clues . Of course, the cops had the entrance into the park sealed off and would not allow anyone, other than cops, into the park. When I asked someone what happened, I was told a "teenager" got stabbed the night before and was dead. The neighborhood and the City, needless to say, was shocked. It got even worse when the story began to circulate that Michael Farmer had polio and was not able to run away. Before this murder the teenagers fought with Garrison Belts or hands. After that murder, the teenagers on my street formed a gang called "The Condors!"
Greeting y'all. Puerto Rican by birth but grew up in the LES from 1950-1968. We lived on Rivington St. by Forsythe and remember the local gang "The Forsythe St. Boys". Fortunately my brother and I were saved by the youth counselors from the Nativity Mission Center and Father Walter Janner. Without them, there's no telling what might have been of us. I forwarded your web address to a friend in Texas who's father was War Lord for the Mau Maus and maybe he'll have some useful input for your book.
Anyone remember the Horsemen, in the early 60s? Hombre, pres. Smokey V.P. it all started as just something to do, before you know it, they were rivals with the Lords from the south. The horsemen's always met st Wm. Gaynor junior high school. China, Connie, baby face, where ate you now...
I REMEMBER THE JEWBOY KILLING I WAS IN THE PARK THAT DAY MARCY CHAP/SUM/BUCS WERE TO HAVE FAIR FIGHT BETWEEN ONE MEMBER OF EACH GANG,THE FIGHT GOT OUT OF HAND,THE BUCCS RAN FOR THE SUMNER PROJECTS,JEWBOY WAS SITTING ON THE BENCH,DRINKING WINE,WHEN HE SAW HIS BOY'S RUNNING FOR HOME IT WAS TO LATE BY THE TIME HE GOT UP TO RUN HE WAS HIT IN BACK OF THE HEAD WITH A BASEBALL,THERE WAS SO MUCH BLOOD ON THE GROUND IT MADE ME SICK .THE AMBULANCE TAKE FOREVER TO GET THERE.THE NEXT DAY,I WENT BACK TO PARK,TO FIND THE PARK ATTENDANT HOSING THE BLOOD DOWN THE DRAIN
Has anyone ever heard of the Fanwoods? Late 40's, early 50's? My father and godfather grew up in Washington heights.
TALES OF TERROR.
IT WAS APPROXIMATELY SUMMER 1963. I WAS A 14 YR OLD WHO ATTENDED AVIATION HS IN QUEENS. LIVING ON DEKALB AVE BET. LEWIS AND STYVESANT. AND HAVING ATTENDED A MOSTLY WHITE CATHOLIC SCHOOL FOR 8 YRS, I HAD A SOMEWHAT SHELTERED CHILDHOOD. AS A RESULT UPON GRADUATION I WAS DRAWN TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD AROUND JHS 57 (GREENE AND STYVESANT). ALTHOUGH NOT A MEMBER I STARTED HANGING OUT WITH THE IMPERIAL LORDS, A YOUNGER ARM OF THE STOMPERS. DURING A PERIOD OF ABOUT 5 YRS, 3 MEMBERS OF THE STOMPERS WERE KILLED BY THE BUCCANEERS (SUMNER PROJECTS). FIRST WAS WACO BEATEN TO DEATH ON MYRTLE AVE NEAR SUMNER. THE SECOND WAS SPIKE,STABBED TO DEATH ON KOSKIOUSKO ST BET LEWIS AND STYVESANT. THE THIRD WAS A GUY NAMED FREDDY (JUNKIE) SHOT TO DEATH ON VERNON AVE BET LEWIS AND STYVESANT. IT WAS THE LAST KILLING THAT BECAME MORE PERSONAL. THE STOMPERS WERE SUPPOSED TO ROLL ON THE SUMNER PROJECTS THAT NIGHT, BUT I HAD TO BE HOME EARLY. SO ONE OF THE OLDER GUYS (MADDOG OR CARL ) DECIDED TO GO EARLY (TO IMPRESS US YOUNG GUYS I SUPPOSE.) AROUND 8PM ON VERNON AND STY AVE SHOTS RANG OUT FROM A SECOND FLOOR WINDOW. AT ABOUT THE SAME TIME WE ENDED UP BEING CHASED BY BUCCANEERS (INCLUDING BUNNY WHO I RECOGNIZED) I RAN DOWN MYRTLE AVE BEING CHASED BY ABOUT 3 GUYS. I WAS SO SCARED I RAN INTO A BODEGA AND WENT BEHIND THE COUNTER,BEGGING THE OWNER NOT TO LET THEM GET ME. HE CHASED THEM OUT AND I THINK BECAUSE I WAS SO YOUNG (AND THEY WORRIED THE POLICE WERE CALLED) THEY LEFT. I RAN ALL THE WAY HOME WITHOUT STOPPING. (I WAS SO SCARED AND MY MOUTH WAS SO DRY I COULD NOT EVEN SPIT) LATER THAT NIGHT FREDDY WAS SHOT AND KILLED AT THAT SAME LOCATION WHICH REALLY BROUGHT IT HOME,THAT IT COULD HAVE BEEN ME.
ONE GANG NOT MENTIONED AROUND THE MARCY IN THE 50'S 60'S WERE THE ELLERY BOP'S FROM ELLERY ST AND MARCY ST ,A SMALL GANG,THEY WERE DIRECTLY ACROSS STREET FROM THE MARCY PROJECTS
The most famous of all the mafia guys:
Charles "Lucky" Luciano
started as a gang member
I was born in july 1947. Raised on Jefferson and Nostrand ave Brooklyn. I lived on the borderline of Bishops and Chaplains. I went to JHS PS.9. I was a Suicde Ringo Bishop. Warlord of Saint Johns Division. The Pres of the Big People was Goat. The Pres of the Little People was Big Ceasar. 1963/64. We had a Dum and Bugle Corp called The Bedford Stuyvesant Golden Aces we were located on Rogers Ave and Sterling Place. My Gang Name was Tony Tombstone Warlord St. John's Suicide Ringo Bishops. Our Enemies were Albany Chaplains, Itchy Brothers, The Hilltoppers and Crucifiers. Our Brother Clubs were Kingsboro Crosair Lords, Sumner Buccaneers. Tilden Ave Righteous Brothers. We Turfed on Franklin Ave. From Atlantic Ave to Eastern Parkway after we took the Hill fron the Irish and Italian Hilltoppers/ Crucifiers. Some other names associated with Suicide Ringo Bishops were Mountain Man, Chunky, Gypsy, Be bop, Quincy, Dallas, Killer, Big Shorty, Half Pint. Ringo,Waco, Delli, Deacon, Leadpipe, Dice and many more to various to mention but Suicides nonetheless. I retired from
Jitterbugging around 1967. However my Rep was well established by that time. Between 1963 to 1967 we were highly active. Many were Drafted to Vietnam. Some Married and made families. Some of us still see each other on occasion. I thank Allah in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad for Messenger Elijah Muhammad which heiped me take my Militancy in a Positive Direction. I am your Brother The Mighty Sheik Shskeem Ala' D. Muhammad. Peace Out.
Thanks. That was an excellent clarification of the Mau Maus and the Suicide Mau Maus. Two gangs that actually roamed the same turf. Thanks again.
One of life's pleasures is anticipation! I have been fascinated by the Mau Maus since I first read about them in 1975 as school kid in Durban (my family were new immigrants from England). I didn't know at the time but I believe that Nicky Cruz was in South Africa giving talks, and perhaps this is why his book was doing the rounds among my classmates. My great curiosity about the Mau Maus street gang is in part due to their name. In the UK there is a military unit called the Special Air Service (SAS). Their exploits, and those of similar units around the world are legendary. However I once read that perhaps one of the greatest things they ever did, was to call themselves "Special". In the same way, whoever it was in 1954 who decided to change the name of this gang to the "Mau Maus", could not have realized that it would help to propel them into world wide notoriety and urban legend , even forty one years later. Can't wait to read the book!
I was surfin the web as i usually do and came accross your terrific insight into the brooklyn gangs of the 50's era you tell it better then i lived it being a member of the Ditmis Dukes 1950 to 58. Louie Coumo was a close friend of mine in fact earlier that day i was going to meet him on 18th Ave and Ocean Pkwy but had to work I was so nervious after the shooting because most of the 70Pct cops knew me and knew i hung with Louie. I lived on east 9th st between Foster & Ave H one more note Louie God Rest his soul was like me in the fact we both didn't like fighting with weapons just our Garreson belts and or our fists .
I enjoyed the article about East Harlem although there were one or two small inaccuracies. It brought back memories.... I lived in Jefferson Projects (115th St bet 1st & 2nd Aves) from around 1958 to 1970. I went to both parochial (OLQA) and public school (Thomas Jefferson) in the area. I remember the Red Wings, the Young Lords, the Black Panthers. They all had a presence during the time I lived in the "projects". People died and life went on (relatives and friends). I managed to have friends or associate with people who were representative of all 3 ethnic groups and I survived my childhood (though not without incident). "Thanks for the memories."
Mr. Lefty Bermudez: my cousin, Fernando Busutil, lived @ 995 Simpson st. He was known as Ricky, back in the late 50's & early 60's was a member of the Egyptian Crowns. He was about 12 years old. Wondered if by chance you might remember him? He has since died of liver problems from heroin & later alcohol. We were like brothers; he was my first cousin. I used to live in Charlotte st near Wilkons ave & Jennings st. I remember Southern Blvd for Christmas all lit up & Mel Greens nesr hunts point. I would appreciate your responce @ [email protected]
A couple of gangs in the 50's & 60's were in my hood growing up. One was the Ephesians and the other was a biker gang called the Mercury Riders. Both were from Long Island City/ Astoria. Any information on them that you can shear? ***I'm not familiar with Long Island City or Astoria gangs, sorry I couldn't be of help. Other readers might be able to help though.***
Hi my name is Christopher Bianco. I am the biological grandson of George Longinette. I know he was affiliated with a street gang in the Bronx. He was born 1937 and died in Sing Sing Correctional Facility in 1966 at the age of 29 with skin cancer. If anyone knows of him or knows someone who associated with him, please get back to me. I am very interested in knowing about my grandfather and what he looked like, what he did and who he was as a person
Some years ago I read in one or two books (possible about Isreal Narvez or Agron Salvador) that the Suicides were a hardcore elite within the Mau Maus. But then I have also seen a photograph from a early 60's newspaper about gangs members at a church meeting which listed the Mau Maus and the Suicides separately along with some other gangs. Perhaps David's book and research will shed more light.
Read "All The Way Down" by Vincent Riccio years ago and have a copy of this great book.It was published in '62 but some years after the fact.Think the stories took place in the early '50s.Reminded me of the fictional gang in "Last Exit To Brooklyn" who in turn may have been the Tigers.This book "All The Way Down" is a wonderful read for anyone interested in 1950s bopping gangs.
A movie called "The gangs of new York" made in 2002 by Martin sorcasie was about the five points area in new york on which the game is based on. U can look up the info on any movie site.
Hi Karl. If I do believe the Mau Maus would perform some of there initiations into the gang at the Farragut Houses. Were the Suicide Mau Maus also from the Farragut Houses? Unless we are talking about the Suicide People from the Farragut Houses.
Good question. I always understood that the Suicides were a "gang within a gang", that they were the hardcore elite of the Mau Maus. Would be interesting to know more.
Interesting site. My question is were the Mau Maus and the Suicide Mau Maus the same group?
*The Mau Maus and Suicide Mau Maus were actually two separate gangs.*
Love this site! Have learned so much through it and thankful for all the work that has gone into its creation and continuous upkeep.
I have a question regarding the MauMau murder covered here...what ever happened to Carl Cintron, the gunman in the murder. He seemed pretty confident in the pre-trial and trial photos I have seen, but his life after this is a mystery.
Does anyone know what happened to him?
Let me commend David for the superb job on this site. His continued updates & stories never cease to fascinate me. The story posted about the Brooklyn gangs (the Greene Avenue Stompers and the Nits) was full of details and a great reading. I can hardly wait for David's new up-coming book on the gangs, to come to press.
Great site this is.
Attended manual Training HS in South Brooklyn in mid 50's a melting pot of white gangs. Jokers, South Brooklyn boys, Kane st midgets, Red Hook and "the point", Sand st boys, Washington Ave boys, Gowanus Dukes. We all respected each other and only warred against outside enemies.
Just picked up a copy of the book "Children of the Streets" by Harlan Ellison from the library.Interesting.Never heard of the author but have "Web Of The City" on order to read.Never heard of The Barons gang myself but will check out Stonegreaser for any info.
This is the best site I have found on the subject. After reading Vampires, Dragons, & Egyptian Kings and Harlan Elisons Rumble. I wanted any more information I could possibly find. Your site is a trove of good info. Interesting is that Elison, although popular with his writing for Star Trek actually joined The Barons. A gang in Red Hook to get research for Rumble. Rumble is still available but now has the title Web Of The City.
Thanks so much for collecting all this research! I'm working as a dramaturge for my high school's production of West Side Story, so it's good to be grounded in actual history and not a bunch of adults making up slang.
I'd like to reach out to Lefty bermudez. Please email thus websites direct owner. I'd like to talk more to you about my dad. Please.
I am one of four children. Our father is Ramon Serra, previous leaded of the Egyptian Crowns... This history took such a horrific toll on him that it found its way to us. The many years this man endured while incarceratedultimately produced a man that had no adolescence. He was a child when he was convicted and upon release, he had become a whole other being. He did not do the normal things fathers did with their children. He was hard drive to prove that government conspiracy and other tales were true: he had long suffered from paranoid delusions. The police report stated that he claimed he had a seizure during the shooting. With the memories I have of my old man, I don't doubt it. The last time I saw my father, I had to place him in a nursing home. He was loosing consciousness at random times. During my enrollment in the Armed Forces, he signed himself out and has not been seen or heard from again. It's sad what these men have had taken from them at such an early point in life. The family they lack at home is soo critical in soo many ways. I pray he is well. Thank you.
My brother Shangar was the War Lord for the Suicide Ringo Bishops, My cousin was in the Chaplins and I was the prez of the Baby Bishops DTK LAMF. There was also a gang called PigTown and the Sovereign Lords. There were also 2 Marching Bands called The Carter Cardets and The Utopians
MY BROTHER, LEFTY WAS A BUUCANEER FROM TROOP AV BK 1960S.....ANY INFO,E MAIL ME....
Good afternoon everyone.My uncle was a member of the scorpions .my father wasn't a member but hung out with them.His cousin I think was the president .
to answer your questions Doug i will start with why? we as puerto ricans came to NY in the 40s. Other denominations would abuse us because we were just different. We then realized that we needed to unite and form our own gangs to defend ourselves. After a while every neighborhood had a gang. Sometimes fights would break out in parties,city parks, and sports games. Most of the time the bad apples( mean and abusive idiots) started the gang wars. i knew about Nicky and we all gave him respect for his transformation and the mau maus were in brooklyn we were in the Bronx. All clubs wore sweaters with the initials on it (sac) for social athletic club so the police would not bother us. We gang banged in the 1950s and one of our members still has his sweater. Today the gang scene is about drugs and money, and human life means nothing. Good luck to you Doug and thank you for sharing.
@Lefty, thanks for taking the tine to answer Lefty. I have always had a interest in your era, NY and the gang culture. I am 54 and grew up in a violent South Africa. Though the town I grew up in was fantastic, it was upper middle class, mix of white and blue collor workers, it was extremely violent. Fights involving 50 or more bat and chain weilding combatants were very common. I lost 3 friends through these battles and carry a few scares myself. Not saying I a proud of it at all, just mentioning it as to say I understand the fighting culture. I believe our was borne due to the fact that we were constripted to the army straight out of school to fight in the Angolan war for 2 years. We then had to report to army every year for another 10 years, alternating 1 month and 3 mobths each year. So there were always guys around that had just returned from the bush, and a lot of built up rage and nerves. We do not dopost traumatic stress in SA or recognise it at all. Any waym this leads to a few questions please Lefty. What was the leading reason for the fighting and gangs back in the day in NY ? I realize it was turf, but what drove that ? Was it poverty or boredom ? Also, my heto in my youth, through the books and movies, was Nicky Cruz and Israel, I tried to conect to the Christian thing but couldn't, I was more facinated by the gang culture. My question is Lefty, at the time, did you know about Nicky, Israel, the Mau Mau ? Or was this more fame after the fact ? Due to David Wilkinson's book etc etc
In the 50s I lived in lower east side. I was about 15 when I walked with a friend to school name Luisa and a young man that was maybe 16 or 17 always walked with us as he and Luisa liked each other. Luisa was a very beautiful girl just as the young man that went by the name of Red was very cute. Three Irish kids were always in the school area. I believe it was p.s.9 in the lower east side. We always avoided them as they use to harrass Red. Three agaisnt one. I was about 17 years old when I read in the Daily news and the Spanish paper as well that Red killed one of those boys.
If I am not mistaken I believe that he was given 25 years in jail.
Are you familiar with this case. Dont know Reds first name or last name. He was called Red because he had red hair. Can you get any info. It was not a gang killing. I believe that Red did not belong to a gang.
*Hi Marian, can you email me at [email protected]
? I tried to email you but your email address didn't work.*
Mr. Bishop is correct when he said first Aids case was 1980. We were gang banging in the 50s. Some began using Heroin back then. Many like myself, continued to use well into the 70s. Some died back then from overdoses and others eventually contracted the disease and died from the 80s on. Keep in mind that Aids also has an incubation period.
Many of us gang bangers that were users of heroin, and did no die of Aids well into the 70s and up, have ended up with hepatitis C . By the way, back then a bag of heroin was $2 , $3, $5 and $10 a bag. I visit a lot of my boys at St. Raymonds Cemetery in the Bronx Where the great singer Frankie Lymon is buried, and yes, of an overdose.
@Lefty Bermudez - you refer to to most of your old gang members dying of drugs and AIDS. The first known AIDS cases in New York were from 1980 onwards !
I thought you might be interested to see where Milton was buried regarding the crime scene photos section.
Seems as though Milton was a little long in the tooth to be shooting at gang members and cops.
*Nice find, thanks for sharing. He was quite a bit older than the usual gang jitterbugger, but the birth date on the link is incorrect. He was 22 years old I believe, not 42.*
I commend Rick and Donna for their contribution to humanity and wish them future success. Back in the 50s if you had a heroin habit there was only one place to go , Lexington KY. All the gangs of NY fell to the drug epidemic and eventually disbanded. Today gangs band together for the control of drug distrabution. Those of us that lived the gang life in the 50s were about defending our neighborhoods and having our brothers backs, as well as enjoying parties and sports together playing stickball for money and handball for bragging rights. Today this Country has a mess with this flooding of so many drugs and so called men making babies that most of the time end up in prison. it was a lot more simple back then, must pray for the future.
Both Born in NY, we met in Florida At Teen Challenge of Florida Inc. Winter Haven Florida. 1987
Testimonies of Rick & Donna Fernandez with a brief history of the South Florida Women’s Home
The south Bronx was a hotbed for gang activity and other illicit behavior. It was there that a young man named Ricky began his very rocky life. At a young age he became involved in gangs and eventually landed in prison. After serving 4 years he was released and moved to Florida. Once again his life spun out of control, but this time it was to drug addiction. Following his last bout with the law, he was shot while involved in dealing and using drugs. He then stood at a cross road and prayed “God, I don’t want to live this way anymore”. This cry for help landed him in jail, but this was a good thing. Once he was released he met some Christian ladies who tried to help him. After being arrested one last time, a local Pastor in the Tampa area and one of those Christian ladies, who also happened to be a Teen Challenge Graduate, went to court with him and encouraged him to go to Teen Challenge in Jacksonville. The Judge agreed to release him into the program, with the understanding that he was never to return to Tampa unless he completed the program. About 2 & 1/2 months later Ricky sensed his call to help others. He graduated the program in 1987 and went to work in Teen Challenge in Winter Haven, Florida.
About the same time, a young lady, whose life had been ravaged by drug addiction and defeat laid in Broward General Medical Center clinging to life. Her doctor said “Donna, if you don’t make this your last admittance the next one will be”. In a desperate cry for help, she called Teen Challenge from her hospital bed and two days later she entered this faith based recovery program as her last hope. Little did she know that God had a wonderful plan for her life. At the end of the program she sensed a strong desire to help others receive the same hope she had received. In following God’s call on her life, she eventually met Ricky and they were married.
In 1988 they moved to South Florida, back to Donna’s hometown. In downtown Fort Lauderdale, in a small rented duplex building, Teen Challenge operated a crisis and referral center. These newlyweds became the live-in house parents and could take in up to four women at a time, keeping them for a couple of weeks, and then referring them into long term Teen Challenge programs. With a strong desire to do more, this couple began pursuing their vision, and by 1995 they had raised enough funding to purchase a six bedroom home on two acres of property in west Davie. Today, this home has beds for sixteen ladies who desire to completely change the course of their life. This is where the miracle begins.
Serving Together to “Keep Hope Alive”
Pastors Rick & Donna Fernandez
Executive Directors “1987 Graduates”
Working to make a difference
In the lives of others
Is the picture of the sportsmen jacket on this site, I tried finding it but can't. Also you mentioned you were on Facebook, what is your page called.
*The picture of the Sportsman jacket isn't on the site. My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/pages/New-York-City-Gangs-from-the-1950s/541973532494110 *
Have you got any more information on what the gang jackets looked like. I have seen the pics, of the ones you have, so just wondering if you have found any more.
*I do have another picture of jackets the Sportsmen from the Lower East Side in Manhattan wore.
Just like to say that when in battle with our foes, we were warriors, but when we were with the ladies, we were gentlemen. On our turf we would help our elders carry groceries, kept bullies in check, and enjoyed parties. When we went down on a gang, we would ship out in groups and hit them from all sides, never leaving anybody behind.Every gang had somebody named Loco, and most of the time he would live up to his name and would turn on his own at any given time. We did not have drive by shootings because we did not have cars so all the battles were toe to toe. The greatest downfall of the youths back then was the flood of heroin in the streets of NY. It destroyed so many lives, and when HIV was added, a civilization of 1950s gang warriors went to their graves early never able to tell old stories like those of us that by the grace of God, survived and able to express on this website.
Hi to David and everyone I used to chat with. It's been over a year since my last post. I'm still kicking and just wanted to check in. Long live doowop and the fifties.
Another interesting book about the streets in the '50s is Manchild in the Promised Land, by Claude Brown, 1937 -2002.
Lefty, Piri's book (great read) is Down These Mean Streets, and he wrote a sequel. I enjoy your observations.
To get a precise idea of the Puerto Rican beginnings of gang membership and why they were formed in the very early 50s you must read These mean Streets by Piri Thomas who unfortunately died recently. His story of crime, gangs, and down in the gutter life is on point and as crude as can be. I had the pleasure of meeting him in 96' on a march to Washington on behalf of political prisoners. Once again I bid a big shout out to you old head gang bangers from the majestic do-wop days.
I like Lefty's posting. David, still looking for the Viceroys photo. I have a feeling that the 4th V was Joe For Real.
*Hi Tony, great to hear from you! I sent the mugshot to you a couple of times and emailed you but my emails to you keep getting bounced back, something about your email box being full. Do you have a different email address? Can you email me your phone number, I would love to talk!*
Do you recall the capeman ? He was in Hells kitchen passing thru and stabbed to death an Irish kid and supposed to go to the chair but Rockefeler spared him. While in prison ound out he couldn't read or write. Eventually got out but died just a few years
*Hi C.e, curzio, I have several pages about the Capeman on my website, here is one of the pages: http://newyorkcitygangs.com/?page_id=99 *
Happy New Year David.
Looking forward to your book coming out. Am wondering if the movie "A Thousand Pieces" is ever going to be made.
If you were ever thinking about a second book, would love to know more about the Bishops and the Chaplains.
*Hi Karl, I have been wondering if "A Thousand Pieces" will ever be released myself. With some of Nicky's story not being true, I wonder if he is having second thoughts about that. As for the Bishops and Chaplains, it's interesting you mention that as I have considered that myself. I just put up a page about the Bishops and Chaplains that you might find interesting. Happy New Year to you and your family!*
All us gangbangers, if alive, are all over 70 years old. Zip guns don't exist, garrison belts don't exist, 45 Rpm records don't exist, club sweaters don't exist, and one on one fair fights don't exist. Harmonizing around a lit up trash can drinking Ripple is a thing of the past. Those gangbangers that still exist are a rare breed and we should be thankful to God for being the last of the Mohicans. The 50s was a magical time for sure. Long live the Crown nation.
Are you still working on this book? Some of the Mau Maus relocated to Columbus, Ohio. Captain Joe Martinez, Salvation Army, Columbus, OH was said to be one of Nicky Cruz's right-hand men and others are here, or were here before the year 2000. Joe may have died. He was old.
I was a member of the Suicide Little People out of necessity based in Faragutt houses and later on joined the Medalion Lords Gates Ave & Clinton. I'm not sure if I can contribute anything to your research but willing to respond to any inquiry.
*Hi Frank, I would love to get in touch with you, I emailed you a couple of times but I think my email must have got caught in your spam filter? If you could check that would be great. You can also find me on Facebook through your sister. I am in touch with another former member of the Suicide Little People, perhaps I can put you in touch with him if you are interested. Please let me know if my email got through. Thanks and have a great day! David*
How many divisions did the hell burners and phantom lords had back then and there locations?
Hi David. We've communicated before so I know you have my email if you want to ask me about this. I was reading your section about The Mafia and Italian Gangs and want to point out some facts (as I know them) about Carmine Persico. I lived across the street from him on Carroll St when I was about 13. He was a South Brooklyn Boy when he was young, before getting made. Tho he hung on Garfield place, the Garfield boys were not a seperate gang but a sub group of SBB. Also you mention the SBB as fighting around the Brooklyn piers and the Red Hook docks. Thats not accurate. South Brooklyns territory pretty much ended at 4th avenue. The gang around the piers in RH were the Red Hook Boys, who were Italian also and allied with SBB. Two very seperate gangs David. Great site and getting better all the time.
*Thank-you Mike, I really appreciate the compliment and the correction. I changed it so that page is more accurate about the South Brooklyn Boys. To all readers, Mike has been a great help in my research on gangs from South Brooklyn and Red Hook and I thank him personally for this. Thanks again Mike.*
The street names of the Viceroys with Superman in killing Lil Bobby were Dracula and Lil Ruben. I would like to see the photos. Thanks.
*Hi Tony, I got your message and sent you an email today (Nov.16). I also sent an email to you in Feb.2014, but didn't hear back. Please let me know if you received my email from today. I think there was another Viceroy with the nickname "Real Deal?"*
Excellent website and information Do you have an estimated date for your book's availability?Any more details on the contents or cover, cheers
*Hi Darrell, thanks for your message. The research is going well, the graphic designer has completed the cover and it looks great! I am about half way through writing, working on profiles of the Mau Maus involved in the shooting. I'm hoping in the next few months it will be completed. I will keep your name for when the book is ready and will let you know.*
MEMBER of the PHANTOM LORDS & YOUNG LORDS our bitter enemies rivals HELL BURNERS(Marcy & South 9th St.). Went to John D. Wells P.S. 50( HELL BURNERS turf) S 3rd St. Peter John Criscuola ORIGINAL drummer of KISS was a LORDS. Alan King (born Irwin Alan Kniberg; was an American actor and comedian who attended P.S. 50.
Lived in JWJohnson from '50s to '70s. Saw alot of conflict. The 1957 killing involving Superman also involved 3 other Viceroys who were arrested and did time.
* Besides Felix Sanchez, two other three Viceroys involved in this killing are Joseph Adams and Joseph Rivera. Tony, if you can email me I will send you the mug shots of these defendants if you are interested.*
Does anyone know what became of the lower east side gang THE UNTOUCHABLES?
I grew up in the 50's in a tough neighborhood and you are forgetting the gangs that were part of Queens NY. Bayside, Flushing, Queens Village, and so on.
What you do not project is that if you were not a member of a gang more than likely you got your ass kicked. All gangs were not killers as you project them to be. Gang fights in those days had RULES guns were NOT PART of a gang fight or rumble as it was called. Car Antennas , Garrison Belts, Chains, Pipes, and of course Base Ball Bats or a knife or two. SHOOTINGS WERE FAR AND FEW BETWEEN
I lived on the lower east side and stayed with most of the major gangs of our area. I see Billy Sheehan from Mayrose responding
to some misinformation. It was a tough place, tough guys and
I was born in Spanish Harlem and raised in the the Williamsburg Section of Brooklyn (The South Side). At an early age became a member of the Phantom Lords. At that time we were 375 strong and no gang ever ran through our strong hold “South Third Street”. We fought the “Hell Burners”, “Jesters”, “Mau-Mau’s and Chaplains”. After Nicky Cruz was reached by Rev. David Wilkerson, Nicky came one night to an Evangelistic street meeting on South 3rd Street. Nicky testified how he was an Ex-Mau Mau and that made me mad! I was going to stab Nicky to Death that night: but my boys held me back.
We had entered into the 1960′s and I was strong-out on Heroin. Now I was just a strong out greasy Junkie! Nevertheless, I still felt that I would be a Phantom Lord until death! I arrested seven times and was sentenced to “Riker’s Island” with a “Pen-In-Def”. One fine day my cell partner handed me a copy of a new book that had just come out” “The Cross and the Switchblade” by David Wilkerson. Their I saw so many people that I new, many had left the Hood and now I saw that they had found the way out: The Lord Jesus Christ, when I finished reading the book I surrendered my life to the Lord.
I have been an Ordained Minister for more than 45 years and have even held large Evangelistic Meetings and in one occasion had Nicky come and preach along-side one of his former enemies. But thanks be to God that now se belong to the same gang: "GOD'S Gang"!
You can go to the Facebook open group page of: "The Phantom Lords of Williamsburg Brooklyn"
dear dad I love you, can I read run baby run? I had a great day at school today. In arts I drew a VERY good drawing on a barn and pond. It took so long to draw. Again I love you dad.
Last of the mayrose. Lower east side street gang of 1950s. I can't believe all the information that's not correct. I was the youngest mayrose. Grew up on Henry and scammel streets. I've seen it all and I can clear it up
Greetings to all you do wop loving gang bangers from back in the 50s. As SIng Sing was saying, the chicks in our gangs were pretty down and looked out for the guys. I am pleased to say that many of these girls turned out alright in life although we lost a few to the drug epidemic. It\\\'s a shame that this website moves so slow due to the lack of 1950s gang bangers left in the World. We had great times back then, the music, the rumbles, the parties, the cool clothes, but above all the ability to fight with our hands one on one which we called shootin\\\' a fair. Today it is a different animal, young bodies scattered in the streets at the hands of cowards with guns, and drugs being the motive. hard to figure out.
It's so kool to hear the girls speaking up for what they were an hang outs back In the days. My gang also had girls hanging out with us an we apryciated an protected them we were from the heights were Michael farmer got kill by some people I knew. Anyway my girls were always Donw with us for party's an gan banging. They dicerve credit for what they went thru.
I am also writing a book and putting together a website about gangs from the 1950s to 1980s looking for former gang members from that era in my website I am putting a map from each borough where you can see each location of any street gangs and its divisions feel free to email me or add me on Facebook I also draw gang emblems
lived on lorimer and boerum went to 49 graduated in 59
stayed with the phantom lords on the south side
Looking forward to getting your book. In 1959 I went to Sacred Hearts, across from the Navy Yard. I was in the Latin Debbs. All the girls in school were very afraid because a rumor went around that the Mau Mau's did not want the girl on their turf wearing ponytails. If seen with ponytail, they would carry a blade and not only cut off the pony tail but marked them with a slip on their derrieres. Mau Maus did not like the Italian coming into their turfs and dating their girls. I was in the car when Nicky, from the Latin Kings had a lite cigaret put out in his face by Carlos. They sped down through to the Brooklyn Bridge on a high speed chase that didn't go well. Next night they all were supposed to all meet in Fort Greene park and battled it out. Mau Mau were there with their Garrison belts, chains and car antennas ready to duke it out. Latin crown anonymously called the police and told them there was a gang with guns and knives mugging people. The police surrounded them and took them all off in handcuffs. Now living in Texas I decided to visit N.Y. In 1984 I wanted to show my new husband where our hang out was in Ft Greene park. As we walked through the park it started getting dark and we heard foot steps. The faster we walked the faster the foot step was getting close to us. I knew we were going to get mugged so I stood my ground and turned to face them...It was my old gang buddies. Johnny, Jose' , Parrot and many others. All a lot older but still doing their thing. As soon as they saw me we all hugged and talked about what was going on all this time. They escorted us out so we'd be safe as my husband (a country boy) stayed sacking in his cowboy boots.
I was part of the ellery bops we lived in the willianbugh section of brookyn on. Tompkins & ellery st between. Park ave. Ellery st
I cannot wait to read the book on the Mau-Mau's and Sand Street Angels. I was born in New York, but raised in Florida. Does anyone know what happended to Melvin Torres and Carl Cintron?
I'm the nephew of melvin Torres and can't wait to read your book when finished. I encourage all to get a copy of David s book,knowing that he took every step to ensure the accuracy thru first hand resources of the actual people who were there as well as thier family members ..spot on and good luck david.
I grew up in Flatbush, Brooklyn in the 70\\\'s and remember the gangs, The Roman Lords, The Savage Skulls, The Jolly Stompers...to name a few...different times even back then...
I come from a long line of gangs my mother and uncle were members of the commanches from Spanish Harlem they are both R.I.P and my cousin who was a member of the Mau maus from fort Greene and the founder of the royal ceptors has passed away on February 3rd 2014 of cancer
Robert Johnson my father lived in Van Dyke during the time you were there. He too was a Roman Lord. He went by the name "Conley". He had 2 younger sisters. They lived in 414 Sutter. You remember him?
Grew up from 1953 to 1967 Sutter Ave Brownsville Brooklyn.
The Gangs were Roman lords-Frenchman-Jolly Midgets.
I lived in Roman Lord territory Van Dyke Projects but friends with kids in each gang. I was one of few kids that could go to any neighborhood because of my father who today would be called OG and was part of a group of men that were elders and were described as Count Bishops-many had migrated from Harlem to settle down in Brooklyn and were wwII or Koren war vets. Many were also in Nicki Barnes gang in Harlem- these gangs were extremely organized and my recollection managed their activities as a unit 24-7 365 days a year. Few if any were enrolled in regular school. They also protected the neighborhood I don\\\'t remember an apartment getting broken into or woman getting robbed.
Robert Slim Johnson 390 Sutter ave Van Dyke 1953-1967
I am currently looking for pictures of the Roman Lords gang of Brooklyn from the late 1950's to the 60's . My father was a part of the gang and I would like to add some photos to his biography
Calling all Phantom Lords from the South Side, Williamsburg Brooklyn from the 1950's - 1960's or Royal Counts, Hell Burners, Jesters or anyone that lived in the South Side during that time.
Greatly interested in your book. Keep me up to date please. I used to live in Upper Eastside Manhattan. Have been in Ft. Greene projects. I am really interested in Jewish Gangsters in NYC.
My familiarity with gangs comes from growing up in Farragut Housing Projects in the Fort Greene area in 1950's, 60's. I knew about the Suicides, Mau Maus, Chaplins, Medalion Lords and Black Diamonds.
Happy New Year,David,and my fellow readers.I really enjoy this site and the new stories,but also the guest book where the real originals write and talk or share their own stories.What a great book that would make!.I noticed a member of the Crowns had written in and their prez' was Ramon Serra,I believe.Is there anyone out there who was in the Dragons or Sinners who knew Michael Ramos,AKA "Pee Wee",and maybe has some memories to share?.I was asking from my own curiosity,but also on behalf of a loved one of Michael's who would like to know more about him.Thank you!.
My dad tells stories of growing up in Brooklyn and the Jackson Gents and the Jackson Gent Juniors. He was just speaking of the Jackson Gents yesterday and told me the story of how one of the members gave him his nickname "Rat" when he was just 10 years old. That guy was "Bo", he then told me of the day that "Bo" was killed. I did an internet search and found this site. So interesting..All the names he spoke of are mentioned in these posts and on this site.
Hey Sing Sing, Happy New Year to you too. The gangs you mentioned I am not familiar with. The gangs I remember were the Crowns from Simpson, the Young Sinners from Kelly, The Scorpions from Washington Ave., , The Lightnings from Stebbins, the Rockets, the Royal Knights from Trinity Ave, the Dragons from 103rd St., the Viceroys from El Barrio , the Sportsmen from Jennings St. As a New Yorker we stayed pretty much in our turf because we had so much life and things to do there. Today the gangs are about drugs and killing, and worst of all they turn on each other. Most killings are by guys that were friends when they were young. The friends that I had back in the 50s are still my boys today. I\\\'m sure that a lot of old gangbangers like me still have their boys from way back then. Those of you that read this web site should e mail this web site to all their friends so we can chat all the time and exchange war stories or life back then. Hope to see more comments soon.
hey lefty did you know any golden gladiator an the rams an 500's Bermudez have happy new year. sing sing.
I just want to wish every body a happy holiday good health to you.
Where are they now -- the killers o, f Michael Farmer. Those still alive would be in their 70's, considering that 1957 was 56would years ago and the seven prosecuted for the murder were older than 14. It would be interesting to see what the three acquitted defendants did with their lives: Richard Hills, John McCarthy, and George Melendez.
*Hi Bill, I'm not sure what happened to Richard Hills or George Melendez, but I do know that John McCarthy died at age 34.*
what about the rampers Sammy the bull was in that gang
*Hi Damon, thanks for mentioning the Rampers. I hadn't heard of them until you mentioned it. I looked around and the Rampers were a youth gang that Sammy the Bull hung out with in Bensonhurst when he was a teenager. They were separated into Seniors, Juniors and Midgets and were the dominant gang.*
Just watched Cross and the Switchblade last night and then I stumbled across your site. Very interesting information. Thanks for sharing this history.
Calling all Phantom Lords from the South Side, Williamsburg Brooklyn from the 1950\\\'s - 1960\\\'s or Royal Counts, Hell Burners or anyone that lived in the South Side durin that time.
Hey Sig Sing, hope you doing good. I hung out at your turf The Heights with a group of cool Cubans back in the late 50s. Can\\\'t remember their names but they were some down dudes. I was a Crown from the South Bronx and most of my boys died from Aids and drugs, mainly heroin. My president Ramon Serra killed a guy back in 58 and did many years in prison. You and I gotta count those blessings because we are a rare species having been gang members. I also hung out with the Sportsmen from Jennings Ave. and the Mighty Count Bishops in Brooklyn. My cousin who was involved in a gang murder and went to prison was a Dragon from 104th St.. I cleaned up worked for a juvenile facility for 27 years and have since retired. I don\\\'t drink, smoke, or do dope. I cleaned up in 75\\\'. Life is good, I can\\\'t take back the bad I did and I just look forward to a better tomorrow. Take care bro.
lefty Bermudez. how are you. this is sing sing. I was 12 years old when I started my gang the young social lords. so called because there was the older crowd an they cauld them selfs social lords. there were guys like Papo chuito fete Domingo chino my brother Papo an so many to name a few. an these guys had connections with the Egyptian kings the dragons an gangs from the Bronx an more. we were from Washington heights. when farmer was kill they got rounded up for questioning. anyway we as kids admired them an we wanted to be like them. so I ask them if we coud call our selfs young social lords they said yes but we have to be initiated an so the y s l began. the story goes on but more on that later. your friend sing sing
This is going to be great reading. Already I feel like I\\\'ve entered a time capsule and traveled back to a time of fun, love and good people. In spite of the gang presence for even the gangs gave a degree of pride in your neighborhood. Looking forward to reading the upcoming book.
I came across this website after reading \\\"The Cross and the Switchblade\\\". This site is AWESOME. My question is \\\"Whatever happened to Louis Alvarez, Richard Hills, Leroy Birch, Leon De Leon after they were released from Prison?\\\"
I cannot find out any info on the web. I thought maybe you\\\'d know. Thank you.
Further to my previous note, I seem to remember that Danny Garcia was shot by Joey Diaz who was at least part Puerto Rican and was trying to become a member of the Red Wings. There was also a gang called the Crusaders. I was from 118th between Lexington and Third avenues
Resident of east harlem from February 1943 until Dec. 1959. knew Danny Garcia who was from Sylvan Place
Hello,David.How\\\'s it going?.I was going through my book collection the other day and found one you may or may not have heard of about the 1950s youth gangs in NYC called \\\"Teen Age Gangs\\\" by Dale Kramer and Madeline Karr.The book\\\'s copyright is August,1953 and has some interesting stuff in it.Also in the contents are some newspaper articles on gang warfare from NY papers.One gang that was in a couple were The Tigers,a Brooklyn gang that were particularly agggresive and feared.I assume they were a White gang,maybe Italian,not sure as this was the early \\\'50s and a lot of the more well-known clubs had yet to be formed or were evolving from earlier clubs.Anyway,if you haven\\\'t read or heard of the book it\\\'s a neat little paperback to have.
Hello,David!.Just got through reading your article about the connection between youth gangs and the Mafia.Great read!.There is a book called \\\"Revolt In The Mafia\\\" that was written by a police detective named Raymond Martin that has some great info. on that.The book is about the Gallo-Profaci war in the early \\\'60s,but in part there is a story of how youth gang members were being used to burglarize buisnesses and the mob would in turn sell the swag.One of the burglars,a 17 year-old named Vincent Graffeo,was shot to death 6/2/60 for threatening to inform after being caught by police with accomplices.Another of the arrestees was named Eddie Lino.Now there was a mob member by the same name that was shot to death in the \\\'80s or \\\'90s and I\\\'ve often wondered if that Eddie Lino was the same one arrested in 1960 in the burglary ring.Yes,the Italian youth gangs were virtual farm teams for mob membership,some more so than others.The South Brooklyn Boys were notable for this as was Fulton-Rockaway,John Gotti\\\'s gang in the mid-\\\'50s.Anyway,just thought I\\\'d write and tell you the story.
hey Lucas, The "Crown Nation" had many divisions. The Eddie Loco I knew was the leader of the Mafia Crowns based on Fox St. near Westchester Ave. Eddie always packed a shotgun and was all about gang banging. I am sorry to hear that Eddie like many of the guys back then fell into the heroin epidemic and thus died. The only time that I remember Ft. Apache being attacked was when a guy we were fighting with at a street carnival on Tiffany St. pulled a gun and accidentaly shot a little girl in the leg. People stormed the station and some fools hurled bricks from the roof prompting the cops to shoot up at them. Nobody got hurt and that was good.
I lived in the south Bronx, during the late 50\\\'s. I remember there was a gang called the Crowns, which supposedly their leader was called Eddie \\\"El Loco\\\". The Crowns were supposedly an organization which included the Egyptian Crowns, Royal Crowns, etc. I was like 9 or 10 years old at the time. According to what I heard, Eddie was arrested by the Ft Apache police. The station was supposedly attacked by the gangs due to his arrest. Eddie fell into drugs and died of an overdose. I searched on the web, but could not confirm the information.
Hey jack, Strange world. You lived in Queens and went to Haaren High School which was for aviation mechanics. I being from the Fort Apache the Bronx and attended Aviation High School in Queens. Only got to my junior year because we had a rumble with the boys from L.I.C high and I ended up shanking a guy and ended up in Ramond street Jail. Big mistake but it was what it was. To be honest we liked gang banging and had our share of it but we also had fun. Like you said, Jocko was the man on the radio and those days were great. Today the gangs of new York are about drug selling and serious violence with guns. New elements have come into the country like the sur 13. They are into extortion and everything under the sun. I feel for this new generation. Trust me, i have seen the change by working 27 years at a juvenile facility. God help those kids of today. Back in the day we shot a fair one most of the time and everybody was good with their fists. Nice hearing from you jack and i am still looking for Sing Sing to share some of his memories of the gang banging days of old.
Hey, Lefty, Jack here again. By the names of the streets you mention, it sounds like you were from the Fort Apache section of the Bronx. I was never there as a teen, but was there often later in life when I was an insurance adjuster. I was constantly at the 41st (I think that\\\'s the number) Pct. on Simpson Street checking police reports and also inspecting firebombed Mr. Softee ice cream trucks on their lot on Intervale Ave.
But I\\\'m getting away from the subject of the fifties. I was born in Manhattan but spent most of my teens in Queens. I went to high school in Manhattan - Haaren on Tenth Ave. Queens had its problems but was no way like the other boroughs.
The everyday casual dress was usually motorcycle jackets or gang jackets with dungarees and loafers or engineer boots. When going to dances, the clothes ranged from one button low Hollywood coat suits to electric blue suits. Pegged pants were a must, some so tight that guys had zippers sewn in so they could get them on and off. Some pegs had saddle stiching along the side of the leg. A leftover from the fourties was a two inch rise of material above the belt loops and key chains.
Like we said before, the music was group harmony and R&B, which later became Rock & Roll, thanks to Alan Freed changing the name of his show from the Moondogger to the Rock and Roll Party. When his show went off the air for the night, we\\\'d go down to the end of the radio dial to listen to \\\"I am the Bruce,\\\" Jocko, Doctor Jive and a bunch of small station DJs that played our kind of music.
Most groups had their own candy store to hang out at and in the summer, the school yard.
The beach most visited was Rockaway, and later when we were old enough to have cars, the route to Rockaway, Cross Bay Blvd., was one of the illeagal drag strips, with pit stops at the Big Bow Wow and Pizza City. Closer to our neighborhood was Connecting Highway, another heavily frequented drag strip.
That\\\'s about all I can think of right now. Glad we can bring back these memories. Let\\\'s hear some more.
Thanks Jack and Sing Sing , I'm glad you guys enjoyed those fifties like I did. many of our gangs back then were formed to protect ourselves from hate groups, and every gang had at least one guy called "loco" or "Crazy". There was Joe Loco from the Lightnings (Stebbins Ave.), Eddie Loco from the Mafia Crowns( Fox St.) and crazy Chino from the Young Sinners Banana Kelly). All the Locos that I knew got killed or killed someone. The debs were the girl gang bangers. Most of the time they were rough looking but were down and carried the guns or weapons for us. The drink of the day was wine. Swiss up, Ripple, Thunderbird, Muscatel, Hombre, White port etc. The more wine we drank the better the harmony as we warmed our hands by the trash can fires in the middle of winter. We had sets on the roof(tar beach) and 8 guys drank from one soda bottle. Everybody wore hats, carried umbrellas and everybody wore chino pants and paisley designed button down shirts with desert boots. Girls wore pleated skirts and the slow dances were the fish or the grind and the lights at the set were red or blue. I'm sure some of you old heads can share some of your stories and things you remember. I will check from time to time to read what you guys write about. Peace
Just a quick message of support from England. I'm looking forward to your book.
Hey Jack and Sing Sing, good reading your thoughts of the old days. As Sing Sing said, racism was in the air back in the early fifties. I originally lived on 109st. and 1st. avenue which was Italian neighborhood. Since there were few Puerto Ricans in that area, we were always abused or chased down the mean streets and housing was denied by many. That is why Puerto Rican gangs like the Dragons and Viceroys were formed for unity and protection in Harlem. I also have to say that Italians were perpetrated on by the Irish before them. I would like to share an incident that happened during my gang banging days. Us crowns had a battle with the Royal knights at Melrose projects in the Bronx after a party. We were all fighting( about 40 dudes. The police came in paddy wagons, arrested us all, and put us together in cells at the 42 pct. . the guy in my cell, Valentine, a member of my enemy gang, became my friend that night and eventually lived with me. He was all heart and I loved him dearly until his death from Aids. Instead of fighting with each other we should have enjoyed those years in peace, yet we chose to fight and loved it. Peace out.
One of those mug shots you were trying to identify was dated June 15, 1957, and the other was July 26, 1957. Is there any indication either boy was related to the Farmer killing? Judge Davidson's book has pictures of more juveniles connected to the case. I don't see any resemblance to these 2.
**Hello Cleftonefan, there were 11 juveniles in the case and while there were pictures of some of the juveniles in Davidson's book, he did not have pictures of all of them. These mug shots were found in the District Attorney's case file for this case, unfortunately they did not identify who the boys were.**
I agree with lefty Bermudez but Washington heights were I come form was a very rasiest place to live in. We had to deal with that crap every day that's why the most famost news catching gang cases ( Michael farmer ) an more came from. Other than that yes those were the best of times listening to the moongloes Frankie lymon the cleft tones it was an era never to be repeated againg I feel for today's kids they have no idea that's were it all came from with out that era there would be no rock n rol today. Long live Doo wop
Well said, Lefty. It was a great time and I wouldn't wanted to have grown up in any other era. I still have my doowop sounds, mostly on 78RPM, and a lot of great memories. Peace to you, too.
And another tip of the hat to David for putting this site together.
WHat needs to be said very clearly is that the fifties were wonderful and nastalgic years. Yes we gangbanged at times but most of our time we were listening to the sweet sounds of the Moonglows, The dubs, Anthony and the Imperials , as well as Frankie Lymon and many others.Very few were stone killers and many were just boys that were tight and grew up together defending their neighborhoods. Us Simpson st. boys enjoyed the movies like the , Star, the Boulevard and the Spooner. We danced salsa in section one of Orchard Beach and played handball and congas at the park on Fox st. Girls were our top priority and stickball was our passion. We mostly drank Ripple and Thunderbird along with a little pot. We shopped for our clothes at the same place as all the other gang members, Delancy. Yeah we had many fights and lost some friends along the way but it was the best of times and I would not have it any other way. The 50s in the Bronx was not a time it was an adventure. Once again my love love to all you old heads that survived and are doing like me, listening to the Oldies but Goodies. Peace
David. This is Juan (sing sing ) cuba umbrella man cosin. I want to tell you something that happen back in the days 1959-1962. Can't remember exactly. I went for a bike ride down river side drive under the GW bridge. As I was riding by some white kids call me spic go home. I ride down to where my boys wer the social lords. The collagen devils wer also there with us. We went up split some heads an send some to the hospital the next day we wer in the papers dayle news an El Diario I had a home made sip gun I shot one of them but the gun did not go off I thank God to this day for that. I'm wondering if you can research that for me the news Cald it gang fight gang for revenge Thanks.
My mom moved to the South Bronx from Ireland, in the early 50's. They lived on Cypress Ave. & 139th street. Her older brother, my uncle Martin, was a Cypress Lord, a Greeser gang in the late 50's early 60's. He tells stories of fighting an Italian gang(the Red Wings) out of east Harlem, as well as the infamouse Fordham Baldies. Any info on the Cypress Lords?
Hi David. In 1978, my first year in high school, Run Baby Run by Nicky Cruz was read to the class, which for me, launched a facination with NY gang culture. Likewise, I've found your research increadibly interesting. All the best with it. Shane (Australia)
i just had too drop another line too you too say what a great great job you are doing here,,,,,,a book a movie i think would be a great --even all on dvd would be really something too have-you do awesome work ...good luck -from rochester ny
I'm sing sing from 160st Amsterdam av this is a great website to check the good old days. If anybody remember me get in touch
Hi, my cousin just sent me the article about Ernest Montuoro, who was our uncle. I just wanted to clarify that although Mario was closest to Ernie, in age, all of his brothers and sisters were devastated by his death. All were dedicated to revenging his killer, although they never did. To this day, my cousin and I visit the grave (Ernie) and put flowers there. May he rest in peace.
Ah those wonderful 50s, we wore those majestic sweaters with colors oh so bright
For our neighborhoods and our brothers and sisters we would be ready to fight
there were the Bishops ,the chaplins, the Dragons, the Viceroys, the redwings, the baldies, the Crowns, the Lightnings, the Young Sinners, the rockets, the Scorpions, the royal Knights. the Sportsmen and many more. I tip my hat to all you bangers from that era that are still around. I am 69 years old and the bangers of today dont go toe to toe like us, they reach for the piece and buy themselves a life sentence leaving many mothers with empty hearts. Ain't the same
Great website David, I was part of the young social lords 160 st. Amsterdam ave .my cousin dandy was with with the diplomats,he's on this guest book and my friend sing sing the young social lords is also here.they called me jr, and at Milbank they called me Frenchie ... i still go the hood lots of changes there ..nice to make this connection...if you go to my website read my poem ...the looking glass.
IN THE 50'S APACHIES OWNED THE CRAZY CORNER CHAPLINS CHASED THEM FROM LAFAYETTE AVE. & CUMBERLAND ST. NO WAY THEY COULD STOP THEM.SAND STREET ANGELS STAYED ON ST. EDWARDS ST IN THE PARK SMALL GANG SITTING BULL STOLD MY MOTOR CYCLE COAT THAT I JUST STOLED FROM MAYS, MY FRIENDS FROM THEM WERE BALDO & CHINO. BOBBY
I am the niece of Michael Ramos who was killed in 1958. My father was also in the gang they called him Chinkie. I know Nicky Cruz he was a friend of my Dad's we use to see him at Church. A lot of these guys that made it turned there lives around. Your Website is interesting. I will look for a picture of my uncle and send it when he was in a juvenile detention center. Thanks for the information.
Ran in the late 50's lower east side. Rivington street to East 6th street then to Seward park. Any info on the Rivington Street Dragons would be appricated. Russ Hoffmann
I was recently reading an artical about Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and there was mention of the Black Spades. According to the artical Sotomayor lived in the Bronxdale Projects on Soundview Avenue in the Bronx and the Spades called this their turf. They existed around 1968, the year before I left the Bronx. Can anyone refresh my memory as to what gangs were there before the Spades and also who were the Spades?
I grew up on 102nd St. I saw the last confrontation between the Dragons and the Viceroys from my window.
Please send me any pertinent information regarding gangs of East Harlem. I was born and raised in East Harlem during the fifties an I am currently writing my memoire that centers on this period.
I have been reading "The Cross And The Switchblade" by David Wilkerson and became interested in the atmosphere in NY in this era. Thanks for all your hard work putting together this site! Fascinating.
I also read the story of Nicky Cruz. I always wondered what happened to Israel. Im going to try to get his book. I like this website it provides good info. I hope u add more info about the Mau Maus and hopefully give us an epilogue of whatever members are left from the Mau Maus mentioned in Run Baby Run. Thanks for this website.
Hi, I've just read Run Baby Run by Nicky Cruz which you are bound to have come across, although surprisingly I see no references to him on your site so I thought I'd mention it. Direct references to the 1959 murder you mention you are writing a book on
Phenominal writing project regarding the Mau Maus and Sand Street Angels. I cannot wait for this publication release. Certainly one of the most facsinating topics that has interested me for over four decades. I am looking forward to learning more about these two gangs and the sections of Brooklyn that cultivated their rise to power.
hi dave iam mario montuoro daughter ernest montuoro was my fathers brother my father would talk about him all the time you know my brother frank montuoro i send him some pictrues of my dad and ernest togetter for you from jennifer montuoro whitlock
Just spent an afternoon reading the content of this site - its fabulous, a real inspiration to anyone interested in gang life during the fifties. Many thanks Vic
I was known as sing sing president Young Social Lords from 160st Amsterdam ave. same neythborhood of dragons Egyptian kings scorpions and I knew some of them. My secon cousin was the umbrella man. If I can help anybody with some info e mail me
I'd like to commend you on one absolutely fascinating site. It's no doubt an encyclopedia of historical facts of gangs in the 50's & 60's. I will continue to visit this site frequently as well as spread the word. By the way, I also appreciate your replies to my emails. Thanks. Wishing you the greatest success in all of your endeavors.
Hello, I am wondering if anyone on here might have known my (Deceased) father he was a Mau Mau his name was Raul (RED) Santana. If anyone might have any info email me [email protected]
THANKS GOD BLESS
I'm founder of the NYC Gang History group at Yahoo. I met Dave there, and it's been a supreme pleasure to deal with another thorough and dedicated researcher. He's done a fantastic job here!!
David: Very interesting reading.
I was born in Spanish Harlem and raised in the the Williamsburg Section of Brooklyn (The South Side). At an early age became a member of the Phantom Lords. At that time we were 350 strong and no gang ever ran thru our strong hold “South Third Street”. We fought the “Hell Burners”, “Jesters”, “Mau Mau’s and Chaplains”. After Nicky Cruz got reached by Rev. Dave Wilkerson, Nicky came one night to an Evangelistic street meeting on South 3rd Street. Nicky testified how he was an Ex-Mau Mau and that made me mad! I was going to stab Nicky to Death that night: but my boys held me back.
We had entered into the 1960′s and I was strong-out on Heroin. Now I was just a strong out greesy Junkie! Nevertheless, I still felt that I would be a Phantom Lord until death! I arrested seven times and was sentenced to “Riker’s Island” with a “Pen-In-Def”. One fine day my cell partner handed me a copy of a new book that had just come out” “The Cross and the Switchblade” by David Wilkerson. Their I saw so many people that I new, many had left the Hood and now I saw that they had found the way out: The Lord Jesus Christ, when I finished reading the book I surrendered my life to the Lord.
I have been an Ordained Minister for more than 45 years and have even held large Evengelistic Meetings and in one occasion had Nicky Come and preach along-side one of his former enemies. But thanks be to God that now se belong to the same gang: "GOD'S Gang"!
The Jackson Street Gents were comprised of: Hawkie,Sammy Wolf,Frankie Bear, Whitey,Flemo,Joe Cacks,Peco,Kenny D,. The gang basically broke up due to the heroin epidemic. Sammy Wolf was beaten to death by unknown individuals for reasons unknown but drugs are somehow possibly related or contributed to his death. The majority of the gang are dead most deaths reloated to the negative life style of drug addiction. I believe that I was one of the few from the original Jackson Gents that is still alive. My nick name was Frankie Bear and I was responsible for giving Sammy Wolf his nick name due to having to shave like 2 times per day.Hawkie, or Philly Hawkie as he was known was probably the most feared member and unpredictable. It was all about controlling territory, but again the heroin epidemic was mainly responsible for the Jackson Gents demise...
I was wondering if you could help me. I grew up hearing that my dad was in a gang in the 1950's in Brooklyn New York and went to jail in 1958. He was in the Jesters and his gang name was Motora. I do not know why he was incarcerated but would love to know the truth.Can you help me?? I also have his sweater which bears the gang name.
Thanks, David. Are you still working on your book? I'm sure you have a closet-full of material, enough to put out a couple of books by now. Again, good luck with all your endeavors. I have your site on my 'favorites' and will check it frequently. Glad you got interested people to respond. I know, David, that you were specializing in only Manhattan, Bronx & Brooklyn, but If anyone from Queens who grew up in the fifties is reading this post, I'm sure you wouldn't mind hearing about their 'turf.' I was with the Barons of Woodside.
* Thanks for the interest on the website Jack, that is fantastic to hear. Indeed I am working on the book, but I had to coral some of my ambition and narrow my research a bit. I am currently in writing stage for a book on the Mau Maus from Fort Greene and South Oxford Street and their rivals the Sand Street Angels from the Navy Yard. You are correct that Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn gangs are the area of my interest, but there are many interesting stories about Queens gangs from the 1950s as well. In fact, I had someone who emailed me some amazing pictures of jackets from a gang in Queens -- she had kept the jacket all these years. *
Hello, David. It's been awhile. I was browsing on the net and found this, your new site. I guess you closed down the old one. The novel, "The Vandals" I wrote, and which you read a few years back is now on Kindle. As you know, it takes place in the fifties, progressing from 1954 to 1960, and is about a Queens gang. Good luck with your new project. Jack Vikara
* Hi Jack, my old site was on Geocities web hosting and Geocities discontinued it so I decided to make my own website, great to have you browsing and hopefully it's helpful. For all the followers of this website and anyone who is reading the Guestbook, Jack's novel The Vandals is very good. He was kind enough to let me read it shortly before he released it on Amazon a few years ago (follow this link if you are interested in purchasing it: http://www.amazon.com/John-A.-Vikara/e/B005FABEFU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0). I really enjoyed the read and you won't be disappointed if you purchase it. *
Hey, How's it going,bro?.This is interesting. We talked via e-mail in the guest book awhile back and I was saying it would be good reading if someone personally involved in the Egyptian Kings would write about it and I mentioned Michael "Pee Wee" Ramos,a well-known gang president at the time, who was killed in a Bronx candy store in 1958. If I'm not mistaken (and my apologies if I am,for I'd never mean any disrespect to anyone sincerely),wasn't Ramon Serra the gang leader that killed him?. "Pee Wee" was called to testify against the Kings at the trial about Luis Alvarez wanting weapons and back-up in the killing of Michael Farmer. I know Ramos was in the Dragons, allies of the Kings, but don't know if he was still a Dragon when he was slain. I'll be interested to read more in the guest book as readers write in as they actually are related to or know the real people involved. Thanks for keeping up this great site! Always',Dale .L. Porter
*Hi Dale, great to hear from you! To answer your question, you are correct, Ramon Serra was the leader that killed Ramos. The police apprehended him carrying a shotgun and a pistol. He gave up willingly to the police and was convicted for killing Michael Ramos.*
Do you know the book written by Louis Lubronsky concerning the Michael Farmer Murder.? Trying to locate it. I lived in Washingon Heights during that particular time.
*Hello Evie, the book you are looking for is called The Violent Gang by Lewis Yablonsky. Yablonsky is still around and has his own website which can be found at http://www.lewyablonsky.com. I tried to email you, but the email was bounced back. I would love to ask you about Washington Heights in the 1950s if you don't mind emailing me at [email protected]
I am the son of George William Longinette, I know that my father was born in 1937, May - that he went to sing sing, an died there in 1966. I was the oldest of three boy born to George and Edna (Berdie) I was born in 1958 and given up for adoption in 1960 via the Immaculate Conception Church, and Fr Martin Bianco / in 1963 they had another son, and although arrested in 1964 / there was a third son born in Jan of 1965, once again Fr Martin arranged an adoption, and all three of us were raised by the same parents, I dont know who he ran with, but he had tatt on left forearm.
Hi, I am the oldest daughter of Ramon Serra. I hold no regret or sham. I did not know him then, but i know the man i grew up with and he gave me a happy childhood and that is all that matters. I am glad i get to know more about him and his life as a young man. I have a deeper understanding in his personality and what makes him him. Thank you for sending my sister Dione the pictures. am sure she will contact you soon.
I am the granddaughter of Ramon Serra, I remember him spending some time with my mom and I, and the man that I grew up around was nothing like I've read about. He seemed so harmless to me, he would take my sister and I out on long walks on the beach and take us to the park. I never thought in a million years that he was the man he was at the age of 20. I can't believe he killed someone.
hello Dione, I was an Egyptian Crown under Ramon Serra. When he was our president he was working at the fish market on 165th st. He was a big strong good looking guy and everybody in the hood gave him much respect. We use to call him meejo. He had a lot of heart and unfortunately it cost him his freedom. The boys and I would like to know how he is doing and tell him that although he was gone for a long time, he was never forgotten. hopefully i can get a reply on how he is doing.
*hi Lefty, great to hear from you. Would you consider emailing me at [email protected]
? I am in touch with Dione and she will be sharing information about her Dad and his life which I hope to host on the website. Her Dad is still alive, but I will let her share more details about that when she gets a moment. I also have pictures of Ramon that I can share with you that you will no doubt find very interesting. I hope to hear from you and would love to ask you questions about the Egyptian Crowns.
I am the daughter of Ramon Serra...Egyptian Crown former.leader who was sentenced to 20 years for murdering a man in 1958...thank you for answering my questions...I knew his past was dark and mysterious but this website helped me retrieve the answers than I needed...thank you!!
I should have signed this guest book long ago!
A great resource! It makes me realize how my history of Harlem just grazed the surface of this important topic.
I am the son of George William Longinette, who live on Wallace and Holland Ave. he was known as Georgie Boy, his Mom was Josephine, his wife at the time was Edna, I am interested in anyone that knows or knew of him. I am aware he died in Sing Sing in 1966
*Hi George, can you tell us more about your father, was he in a particular gang or did he tell you some of the names or nicknames of his friends? Also, if you are able to leave your email address there is a better chance someone might be able to connect with you on your father.*
what happened to Louis Alvarez?
*I'm not 100% sure but I heard he got out of jail, moved to California and worked with at-risk youth*
great site I lived in park slope in the fiftys and the gang was the south bklyn boys there rival was the jokers .
My parents moved out of Fort Greene in 1960 due to all the crime and gangs in that once nice area.
Coney Island is where we from
Hello from Amsterdam Ave. and 166 street
I lived my teen years on Simpson St. in the Bronx as an Egyptian Crown. Although some bad things went down those 1950s were a beautiful time. Rock and Roll was blaring through the streets, 57 Chevys rolled around the corners and everybody on the street was "slipping five". Chino pants and desert boots with pasely button down shirts were the attire. Egg creams and lime ricky's were the soft drink and Thunderbird was the courage drink. Today some of my best friends were some of my worst enemies back in the day. Back then it was friends from the block sticking together, now it's a completely different story. If possible please post pictures of those great days.
I'm sorry that I've not signed your guestbook or touched base with you. You are doing great work in this area and I hope you get the feedback and support you need to truly capture this era. Please feel free to write an article about your work and I will publish it in my online newspaper, The East Harlem Journal. E-send your material to [email protected]
To view the publication, go to EHarlemJournal.ZoomVillage.com
Congratulations, you did your homework. I found some information that is very useful and I didn't know several murders existed in East Harlem during this period. I knew of Julio Ramos. He was a Cuban immigrant and didn't know of the war between the Red Wings, Dragons, Enchanters and Viceroys etc.
I found your site very interesting and stumbled across it while looking up any new info. on the '57 M. Farmer killing.I have read quite a bit on 1950s gangs and am very familiar with them,but there are things we can read that we haven't others may know.I have a question,what ever happened to the gang members in the Farmer killing after their release from prison,Luis Alvarez in particular,being the leader.Pee Wee Ramos was an important gang president at the time before his slaying,actually being an original member of the Dragons.The book "The Violent Gang" by Lewis Yablonsky covers quite a bit of the Highbridge Park slaying and for another great reference on '50s NYC gangs check out "All The Way Down".I wish someone would write a book about the Kings,Dragons,and Jesters from a personal level.Make for some interesting reading.One closing note,"Run,Baby,Run" by Nicky Cruz is a great informative read.Mau Maus,Fort Greene.Thanks for the site.
**Hi Dale, thank-you for your comment. I will be going to NYC this summer to do further research on not only the Michael Farmer killing but other Manhattan gang killings from 1955-1959. Eventually these will be published in a book and they will have the "personal" perspective which you are hoping for. Run Baby Run, The Violent Gang and All the Way Down are great sources of gang information (although Run Baby Run is suspect in some parts) and in fact are found on my page "Suggested Reading" at http://newyorkcitygangs.com/?page_id=385 Perhaps there are some other books about gangs you might not be aware of that might interest you. If you find the case of Michael Farmer interesting you will definitely want to pick up a copy of the Jury is Out, a book written by the Judge of that trial. Thanks, David **
Re the Michael Farmer in 1957:
In the 1950's, I lived at 630 W. 135th St. My classmates at the Annunciation School, 131st St & Convent Ave., included Louis Alvarez, Vincent Pardon, and other defendants. Richard Hill lived across the street from me at 583 Riverside Drive. I often wonder where they all are now and how their lives turned out.
hey dave ... i just wanted too tell you what a great job you did on the new web site,its simply awesome .myself i live in upstate ny (rochester ) we had are share of street gangs too back in the 50's an 60's -but not like new york city,, but you are doing great work on this site and iam hoping that you will add too it often —i was wondering if you could put together some pics -i am very intested in the gang jackets from back in the 50′s– there seems too be no place on the web where i can find some — iam very intested in how they mite have changed from gang too gang and from location too location —-thanks[also] i just wanted too pass this on too you -just in case you haven't seen it................... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dbcTVMv4U0** Hello Carl, I don't have anything for you att his time on gang jackets, sorry about that. When I publish I will be able to show some jackets from a gang in Queens and the Sportsmen from the Lower Eastside Thanks, David **
This site is a great resource. Not only does it reflect deep research, it gives former gang members a chance to share their memories with each other and with younger people who want to understand New York's fighting gangs of the 1950s.
Although your focus is primarily on gangs, I thought you might be interested in a murder that was more traumatic to Heights residents than the killing of Michael Farmer. In March, 1948, as a group of students from Power Memorial HS were practicing for the St. Patrick's Day parade, a psycho shot several and killed Tommy Brady. Tommy was the older brother of some of my peers. The story is one of heroism and foolhardiness supplemented by the presence of a deranged individual who later died in an institution for the criminally insane. The newspapers had a circulation war over the gory details and repercussions upon the families.
I found your website on the Bronxboard and had also learned about your interest in the farmer case from my brother Ray. Although I have nothing to add about that specifically, I would like to mention a few incidents that are related to your generally topic. When the Daily News carried a series about violence in the city public high schools, my good friend Ken Fitzgerald (deceased) was perturbed that he found no mention of his school Haaren. He then broke open a firehouse and doused the school to bring attention and score points. Also, I used to await the delivery of the News and Mirror on 181st and Ft. Washington. I witnessed some interplay between a muscle man named McVey who was searching for one of the Diabolos named Bobolu. The cop on the beat named Silverstein summoned help. The Diabolos also threatened to toss a guy off the wall at the bottom of 181st and Riverside Drive. Silverstein summoned reinforcements fromt the phone in Geiger's drug store. Perhaps he wasn'[t the bravest cop on the beat, but he certainly prevented some violence on that occasion too.
Hi David, way to go my man. It appears that you have done an outstanding job to date on this very fascinating subject. Glad I coud be of some help....As for me, "Gang Banging" back in the 50's was for no different reason that it is now - trying to make "REP," seeking a reputation, and having a family for those who didn't really have any....I delve into this to some degree in my book: "Dancing With The Devil." Going from a tough street kid to becoming a renowned Federal Agent.
Nicw website David, looks good! Keep up the good work!!
Late '50s, early '60s, PS 167 school yard (Schenectady Ave & Lincoln Pl) is where a gang (?) called the Black Hawks hung out.
Hi David, since all of us are up there in age
this should be very interesting reading.
Good Luck to you,
I am a member of The Harlem Lords Seniors. The one that the so-called REV. Thomas Skinner claimed that he was the Leader of The Harlem Lords 'n was saved by Jesus. He lied 'n made Money, Fortune, 'n Fame off of our rep.
Rich - i was in the 1st street gang. it was cross/cultural including italians irish black jewish, etal
Hi David, looks good. The heroin epidemic of 1953 or thereabouts included the use of gangs to protect territory for business. Not altogether true that killings were not drug oriented. Also the barrels for zip-guns were made from cut car radio aeriels and wide rubber bands and flip locks mounted on wood stock. The Dragons were from Broome street.
"A Washington Heights Resource"
Small neighborhood gangs also existed, but were not involved with crime or violance.
can you send me he e-mail of the NYC gangs? Was from the Bronx in the 50"s. Couldn't retrieve it from friend who sent it.
Interesting stuff David, keep on the good work. And, are you still going to do a book as well?
Good job. I liked the way you laid it out. I hope the little I told you helped. Keep it going.
Fort Greene Rich here. Interesting and I still am waiting for the book.
Are you still going to write one or just add to this site?
I was at the Rosario funeral as the funeral parlor was around the corner’from where my cousin Bob lived on the lower east side. we were walking by when all of a sudden these cars pulled up with I am sure the gang members in their bright colored outfits which were the theme of the day, purple, gold, etc. suits.
Police all over etc. I still remember it vividly in my mind. The lower east side was
a world of its own. each block had its own club. my cousin’s were the 1st street boys, there were the 7th street boys. mostly Polish, Russian, Irish but they battled with the Puerto Rican gangs from down below 1st street. It is maybe silly to say it was a romantic kind of gang warfare ala West Side Story, but in comparison to today’s brutal vicious drug gangs like you said it was all about turf and actually race and indifference to other cultures.
Keep going Mr. David