On February 23, 2018, my book on the Mau Maus and Sand Street Angels, who were two Brooklyn youth gangs from the 1950s, has been completed. It took 15 years of research and writing to complete Brooklyn Rumble: Mau Maus, Sand Street Angels, and the End of an Era. This book is roughly 6″x9″ and has 370 pages and includes a look at the characters in the Mau Maus and the details of a gang killing that happened in February 1959 in front of the iconic Brooklyn Paramount Theater (now Long Island University). If you want to buy a copy, click here and this link will take you to an online ordering page.
February 23, 2018 – Finally, the day has come. My book is finally finished. Click here to order your copy of Brooklyn Rumble: Mau Maus, Sand Street Angels, and the End of an Era.
February 8, 2018 – First entry of 2018! Here is an update on Brooklyn Rumble along with photos of the progress book.
December 19, 2017 – Here is a page discussing more details about how long my book is, how many chapters it has and the progress. Click here for more information.
December 2, 2017 – I realize I said my book would be released in the summer, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet. I can tell you all that it is VERY close. It is with the proof reader now and she is almost done. Once I make the corrections done on the proof reading, I print some test copies and make sure that the book and the cover look good and then I go into official book printing. Getting close!
In the meantime, the layout and design for the book cover is completed. If you are interested, click here to see it.
Also, for those of you who have Facebook and want to follow me there, you can friend request me at https://www.facebook.com/david.vanpelt.773.
June 1, 2017 – I am hoping that my book will be released this summer. Everything is going well, but I still have lots of transcribing to do and a couple of follow up interviews and lastly some proof reading. Sounds like a lot – and it is – but much has been accomplished.
April 29, 2017 – Update on the progress of my book that I am writing about the Mau Maus and Sands Street Angels. Click here for more details including the approximate date of the book release.
March 5, 2017 – This page is about Victor Torres, a former member of the Roman Lords, which includes a video trailer of an upcoming movie about his life, including when he was in the gang. Some readers will remember some other pages I did about the Roman Lords including Efraim Ruiz and Beebop.
February 25, 2017 – Second page of 2017. Sorry I haven’t been as committed to putting new pages up, my research and writing for my current book takes up a lion’s share of my time. This page is about Joseph of the Red Wings gang from East Harlem. Click here to read about Joe’s scrape with the law in a taxi robbery in 1958.
January 7, 2017 – First page of 2017. This is dedicated to Ralph Nunez and Mario Serrano. This page is about the Corinthians, a social group of boys in Williamsburg in the late 1950s and early 1960s that sought to come against the violence of gangs like the Phantom Lords and Hellburners.
December 26, 2016 – For quite some time I was not able to make updates to the website in the manner I am used to, but after moving the hosting provider, I was able to make the updates that were needed. Today I added to a previously made page on reformatories in New York state. Click here to see an excerpt I added of someone who shared with me what it was like at Berkshire Reformatory from 1957-1961. It’s about half way down the page and begins and ends with (Begin Update Dec.26, 2016) and (End Update Dec.26, 2016) respectively.
October 21, 2016 – Yikes! It’s been almost two months since I put a new page up. I guess that’s what a busy month can do to you. This page is a look at the death penalty in youth gang cases in New York City.
August 26, 2016 – This page is about the Bishops invading Flatbush. Sound familiar? That’s because I already wrote about that before (click here first to read that). This page has new information that goes with that page. Once you are done reading the above, click here next.
July 25, 2016 – Here is a page on a shooting between the Buccaneers and Marcy Chaplains gang from March 1960.
July 3, 2016 – Page on one of the earliest gangs of New York City from November 1943 about the Harlem Socialistic Dukes and the Comanches. Click here to learn more.
July 1, 2016 – Long page on the different gangs in the Sumner and Marcy Projects in Brooklyn around 1960 and 1961. Many different gangs introduced here, but the main gangs being discussed being the Buccaneers and Marcy Chaplains.
June 21, 2016 – Page on the Politicians gang in Harlem and their role in a killing as well as initiation rites in New York City youth gangs in the 1950s.
June 19, 2016 – This page is dedicated to an interesting gang fight from not Manhattan or Brooklyn, but the Bronx, I believe this is a first for this website. This page is about the Comets’ and Happy Gents gang from Morrisania. Click here to read more.
June 8, 2016 – This page is one you don’t want to miss – a guest article named “The Charlie Rocca Incident,” written by a former Jackson Jent. This article discusses various points about the Jackson Jents as well as a fight they had with the Phantom Lords in McCarren Park, Williamsburg.
May 7, 2016 – This page is about “JM” of the El Quintos from Williamsburg who stabbed and severely injured an innocent boy.
March 27, 2016 – This lengthy page tackles an interesting situation where the gang world collides with a neighborhood that was not known for fighting gangs. The gang in question being the Bishops, a vicious gang from Bedford-Stuyvesant.
March 3, 2016 – A brief page discussing the differences between the Mau Maus and the Suicide Mau Maus, two different gangs from Brooklyn.
January 6, 2016 – First entry on 2016 goes to…a page on the West Harlem Assassins, a Black and Puerto Rican gang that was active in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Click here to see a picture of their Vice President in 1961.
December 16, 2015 – A page on “Nut,” a member of the Brevoort Chaplains in Brooklyn. The title of this page is “From one brother to another.”
November 25, 2015 – Received more information on Beebop of the Roman Lords, here is a postscript of his life after the gang.
November 21, 2015 – The Gowanus Boys were an Irish and Italian gang from near the Gowanus Houses in Brooklyn that made quite a name for themselves in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Read an interesting questionnaire that a former member of the Gowanus Boys completed here.
November 3, 2015 – This page is a short profile of the President of the Roman Lords, known as “Beebop.” At the bottom of the page is a picture of Beebop, which I had permission to use from his grand daughter who emailed me.
November 2, 2015 – Added two pages to the list of gang homicides from the 1950s. One page for 1953 and one for 1954. There is probably more gang homicides for those years (especially 1953) and as they are uncovered in future research, they will be added.
October 13, 2015 – A page explaining about the Roman Lords, a gang from Brownsville. Included on this page is a brief excerpt of a former Roman Lord named Efraim Ruiz describing a fight with the Bishops gang.
September 28, 2015 – Old newspaper picture from the World Telegram & Sun of four members of the Italian Red Wings gang from East Harlem: Philip Petrone, Louis Camp, George Clemente and Edward Castellazzo.
September 27, 2015 – I’m still on my Manhattan gangs kick. Here is a page on Hector from the Forsythe Boys, a gang from the Lower East Side. Click on the story to find out what made him different from many, typical gang boys of the 50s era.
September 20, 2015 – Short page about the Police Athletic League (P.A.L.) and it’s role in fighting juvenile delinquency. Also a picture of a stamp cover with cancellation that I purchased off eBay.
September 15, 2015 – Here is a page about “Little Moose” of the Lower East Side Sportsmen from Manhattan and his involvement in a gang fight that made the New York Times.
September 5, 2015 – To add to the page below about the Scotchmen and Assassins, here is a page on a violent skirmish between the Scotchmen and Assassins in June 1959.
September 4, 2015 – I have been dong a lot of research on Brooklyn gangs and have wanted to do something on Manhattan gangs for awhile. Well, here it is: a page on the Scotchmen and Assassins from Harlem. Also, hopefully in about six weeks, I will have some information on some Bronx gang fights from the early 1940s as an ode to my friend Tony Castro.
August 21, 2015 – Here is a page on a wide-ranging Memorial Day fight in 1950 between two Brooklyn gangs called the Greene Avenue Stompers and the Nits.
July 23, 2015 – Three months is too long before an update, but I have been busy writing and researching behind the scenes. Today the topic is a wee bit off topic (sorta), but for those interested, I bought an interesting looking board games. Click here to see what I mean.
April 23, 2015 – I added gang killings from 1961 that I am aware of. I am certain there are more homicides, and when I come across them, I will add to this page.
April 22, 2015 – Read the comic book of Tom Skinner’s life. Tom was supposedly a member of the Harlem Lords and he was discussed at length about a year or two ago with “Jocko” a former Harlem Lord, in an interview I did with him.
April 20, 2015 – A doodle was sent to me from a reader of this website that captured my attention.
March 19, 2015 – I have always enjoyed old advertisements and found one related to the Brooklyn Court system, click here to view.
March 5, 2015 – Small article on the struggle with heroin a member of the Jokers’ gang from Park Slope experienced.
February 12, 2015 – “It was a hectic night at the 81st Precinct.” Page on warfare between the Halsey Bops from Buswhick and the DeKalb Chaplains from Bedford-Stuyvesant.
February 9, 2015 – Page on the Halsey Bops from Bushwick and who their enemies were.
February 2, 2015 – “So dont for get to wright me.” Letter written to James Smith of the El Savons gang from Bedford-Stuyvesant while he was incarcerated in jail.
January 26, 2015 – Came across some info about a Bedford-Stuyvesant gang from 1952 called the El Savons. Also found out how much one of the El Savons’ bought a switchblade for.
January 1, 2015 – Although it is slightly out of my purview of exploring youth gangs from 1955-1959, my research is taking me more often to years before and after the period of 1955-1959. Here is an article on the Bishops and Chaplains, two notorious gangs from Brooklyn that were the quintessential arch enemies in the youth gang world.
December 1, 2014 – I found and bought some original reports on juvenile delinquency from NYC in the 1950s. Also, a shout-out to an interesting film project a friend of mine is working on. Click here to learn more.
November 6, 2014 – Although much of my research is from 1955-1959, I find my travels in this period invariably extend into the early 1960s, when the same youth gangs from 1955-1959 were active and prevalent. I will start adding pages on the gang killings from the early 1960s, starting with 1960 (click).
October 5, 2014 – Thanks to Enrique Caro for giving me permission to share this photo of gang graffiti – Ellery Bops can be made out in the background behind the two boys. Scroll to the bottom of this page to see it.
October 4, 2014 – New page up today about “Black Patch,” of the Jesters. It shows how severe some of the gang fights could be.
October 2, 2014 – I’m back from NYC and it was a very fruitful trip. Let’s start off with something small. I always had a hunch a killing in December 1957 was gang-related but didn’t have the definitive proof, so I never put it under “Gang Killings 1957.” However, after my trip I found out it was definitely gang-related, the killer was from the Viceroy gang. Click on this page to read a bit more about it.
September 16, 2014 – I will be leaving for NYC for another research trip, so my updates for the next couple of weeks will be scant, but I hope to have lots of new and interesting information to share when I get back.
September 15, 2014 – A reader sent this fascinating photo taken in November 1961 of a member of the NYPD aiming his gun, pursuing members of a gang who were in a fight. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to see the photo.
September 1, 2014 – Page on the relationships between gang boys’ and their fathers.
August 31, 2014 – More details on a gang fight that “Loco,” member of the Hellburners was involved in. Loco was the one who wrote a court-ordered diary on his day-to-day activities – see entry on August 30, 2014 below for more information on the diary.
August 30, 2014 – A page on a member of the Hellburners, a gang from Williamsburg who were mortal enemies with the Phantom Lords. This page has details on a court-ordered diary written by a member of the Hellburners.
August 26, 2014 – Four pencil drawings from a member of the notorious Fort Greene Chaplains circa 1959.
August 24, 2014 – Page up about zip guns, a staple in any gang’s arsenal.
August 22, 2014 – It’s hard to believe that it has been a year since I was last in New York City. Today I have a page up briefly talking about the end of an era, namely the end of youth gangs in New York City.
August 21, 2014 – Two new pages in two days after a five month absence. Read here about Two Viceroys and a Gun.
August 20, 2014 – New page about Salvador Agron and a link to some video footage of him taken by the press in 1959.
August 20, 2014 – I haven’t updated in a long time and I apologize for that. As I wrote to someone recently about this who asked, it is not because there isn’t any new material – because there is lots. I am currently writing in my current book about the Mau Maus and Sand Street Angels which is keeping me very busy. I hope to update on a more regular basis like before, and my wish is to put up a page this week.
March 16, 2014 – Finally got an update (it’s been awhile) for a new page I added about Bruce Davidson and the photographs he took of a Brooklyn gang in 1959 called the Jokers. In the future I hope to have a page that discusses in more detail the Jokers’ gang in general as well as a page on the profile of “Lefty,” and “Bengie,” two of the Joker’s profiled on Davidson’s iconic book called Brooklyn Gang.
February 24, 2014 – I apologize for the lack of updates on the website. I have been busy writing for the book about the Mau Maus and Sand Street Angels and haven’t had time to add to the website. However, I do have some interesting pages that I will be putting up soon and in no order of particular importance will be about:
– another page on someone growing up in Jackson Gent turf in Williamsburg and his recollections
– page on the El Kovons a gang from Red Hook area
– profile of an El Kovons member by the nickname of “Dusty”
– description of an intense fight between the Marcy Chaplains and the Buccaneers from 1960
– a page talking about a Brooklyn gang called the Jokers
– a profile of a member of the Jokers and one of the people profiled in Bruce Davidson’s excellent photography of the Jokers in 1959
– page on the Hellburners and Phantom Lords, two bitter enemy gangs in Williamsburg
November 28, 2013 – Page on the East Harlem Dukes and what appear to be the west-side Dragons, also in Harlem. This page discusses a gang shooting involving some Dukes shooting and injuring a Dragon.
November 26, 2013 – Brief page with great picture of gang graffiti of the Italian Dukes, an East Harlem gang.
November 18, 2013 – Page on stenographer’s tape, based on some stenographer’s tape I found in the Michael Farmer case.
November 7, 2013 – Click here for a page talking a little bit about my progress on my upcoming book on the Mau Maus and Sand Street Angels.
October 28, 2013 – Writeup about a couple of Bedford-Stuyvesant gangs, the Marcy Ave Chaplains and the Immortal Sinners.
October 20, 2013 – Profile of a member of a Williamsburg gang called the El Quintos and a description of a gang assault.
October 9, 2013 – Page on little-known gangs of the 1950s along with an insider view on some small gangs from Williamsburg.
September 28, 2013 – A page on the sometimes blurred lines between a “gang” and a “social club” along with an example of someone in a social club called the Seropians.
September 11, 2013 – A brief character synopsis of Andrew Whalen aka “Bo,” a former Jackson Gent.
September 8, 2013 – Here is a page discussing the trial minutes for the murder of Michael Farmer.
September 5, 2013 – I haven’t had many updates lately, mainly because I was furiously planning a trip to New York City and then going to the City in August for a research trip. I’m back and I found lots of information there. Click here for a brief description of what I did there and a request for help on identifying what something is.
July 30, 2013 – A reader brought some interesting commentary and perspective on what and who the Syndicate was in regards to the page about the Young Turks taking on organized crime. Click here and see the commentary at the bottom of the page.
July 20, 2013 – What happened when a gang took on the Mafia.
July 14, 2013 – This page discusses the relationship between Italian youth gangs in New York City and the Mafia.
July 13, 2013 – Does this Judge sound irritated?
June 27, 2013 – Very interesting letter written by a gang called the Ellery Bops and Halsey Bops during the height of the trial of Michael Farmer’s killers. This is a must read.
May 19, 2013 – Added a page about buildings where former gang members and their victims lived. This page is of where Salvador Agron lived and where his victims Robert Young and Anthony Krzesinski lived.
May 9, 2013 – Added a page about another Red Wings murder that I am researching that happened on Memorial Day in 1958 in Jefferson Park, East Harlem.
April 23, 2013 – Added a great picture to my Gang Homicides 1955-1959 page, click here to see it.
April 16, 2013 – I received an email from another one of Ernest Montuoro’s relatives (see the page on the Fordham Baldies and Red Wings 1954 for more information on that). I added a small addition at the very bottom of the page on Ernie Montuoro’s profile (click here to read about the addition).
April 12, 2013 – Received an interesting email from former Young Social Lord Tony Camacho, poet and author, owner of website called Mi Barrio Poth. Click on Interesting Links and go to the bottom of the page.
April 11, 2013 – Some gripping and sad testimony in the trial of “Gypsy” a member of the Sportsman gang from the Lower East Side who was tried and convicted for the murder of Julio Rosario from the Forsyth Boys. This testimony really brings to light the devastation of youth gang violence from NYC in the 1950s.
April 3, 2013 – A picture is worth a thousand words. Click here to see a picture of Robert Fasano, member of the Gremlins gang in Brooklyn taken after being arrested for murder.
March 26, 2013 – Added a new page on the profile of a Python Knight, a Black gang that had it’s turf in East Harlem during the 1950s.
March 18, 2013 – I added a bit more of a bio on Ernest Montuoro, killed by the Red Wings gang in June 1954. Click here to read more.
January 28, 2013 – I added a couple of pictures to the page I have on the Fordham Baldies and Red Wings from June 1954. The pictures are of Ernest Montuoro, a member of the Fordham Baldies who was killed by the Red Wings in June 1954. Scroll to the very bottom of the page where it says “Postscript” to learn more about Ernest and to see the pictures.
January 6, 2013 – Wrote something about television and radio sources that reported on New York City gangs from the 1950s. Unfortunately I don’t have any clips to listen to or see, but it’s well worth a read, including an interesting find I made in a New York City archive in the summer of August 2012.
January 5, 2013 – Added a page about crime scene photos. This particular page discusses two gangs from West Harlem called the Assassins and Sinners.
December 23, 2012 – Added a page about the Mau Maus and Sand Street Angels, two gangs from Brooklyn that I am writing a book on.
November 27, 2012 – Added a picture to the “gang jackets” page of a social athletic club (S.A.C.) called the Seven Masters, who also doubled as a fighting gang on Simpson Street in the Bronx called the Egyptian Crowns. Picture and write-up is at the very bottom of the page.
November 19, 2012 – Added a long page discussing the various types of court records out there along with some examples of various kinds of records.
November 10, 2012 – I added a page listing the juvenile defendants involved in the murder of Michael Farmer. I need anyone’s help that can give it in identifying who two of the defendants are. Does anyone recognize them from the neighborhood?
October 22, 2012 – On the same page of “Gang Jackets,” Jack Vikara shared two newspaper articles of the Barons which I thought would go well with the pictures of the Barons jacket. Jack is named in one of the articles.
October 22, 2012 – A lady emailed me yesterday with photos of sweaters a gang from Brooklyn called the Jesters that her father was in. The photos are well-worth a look and are near the end of the page. Click here to see them.
October 18, 2012 – Added a page about gang jackets with pictures. The pictures are of Queens’ gangs, which aren’t in my scope, but still fascinating to see.
October 13, 2012 – Added a picture to the page entitled “Story Behind a Picture – The Life and Times of the Jackson Gents.” The picture is a period photo – black and white – of four of the Jackson Gents taken around 1959. See bottom of the page for the photo — courtesy of Doc of the Jackson Gents.
October 12, 2012 – Added a URL to Useful Links page about a website devoted to those who lived in a neighborhood in New York called Windsor Terrace.
June 29, 2012 – I put up a new page about the Jackson Gents aka Dukanes, an Italian gang from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Click here to read about it because there is a fascinating newspaper clipping/picture you don’t want to miss.
June 8, 2012 – You can listen to the Harlem Lords gang song here, which Jocko sang on the phone when I interviewed him.
May 28, 2012 – Added a page of a long interview I did with John Washington, aka “Jocko” of the Harlem Lords, a fighting gang in Manhattan from the mid 1950s.
May 18, 2012 – Added a picture of an Assistant District Attorney with some confiscated gang weapons from Brooklyn Heights, 1950s. Near the bottom of the page.
May 14, 2012 – Alberto Cappas asked to write a guest article for his website The East Harlem Journal. Read here for more details about East Harlem and youth gang activity there in the 1950s.
May 2, 2012 – Added a great front-page splash on a gang rumble in Brooklyn that was averted by police. (just past the halfway point under the “Rumble” section).
May 1, 2012 – Added a new page on my attempts and struggles in accessing information from the NYPD for gang-related offenses from the 1950s.
April 30, 2012 – I am planning on coming to New York City this August. I will be coming with my brother and we will be making many trips to the Municipal Archives amongst other places. I received my first taste of NYC bureaucracy when I called the number listed on their website to get information I need ready for my arrival. When the person answered the phone they asked me who I wanted to speak to. I gave the name of the person at the Archives and they said they would look it up in the system. After waiting for awhile I was informed they could not find it and suggested I call the Human Resources of City Hall to see if they would release the phone number to me. It was then that I realized I wasn’t talking to the people at the Archives and I wasn’t going to get mired down with HR who would most certainly not give me a phone number. All I wanted was a phone number for the Municipal Archives, it shouldn’t be that hard! So I naturally asked them for the direct number to the Archives. It was then that I was informed the Archives did not have a phone number (!). When I asked how it is possible an agency would not have a phone number to contact them at, they said that is the way it was set up. Luckily I found another website that had their number listed.
When I get my flight and hotel information booked and everything is official, I will add a new page to this website devoted to my trip to NYC. Hopefully if all goes well I will be able to have a live update on my comings and goings while in the city, including posting my itinerary.
My last trip to NYC was in June 2007 and I enjoyed myself thoroughly, so I am really looking forward to visiting again.
April 15, 2012 – added a page called “What constitutes a gang killing?” I explain how I sort out what is and isn’t gang-related for my research purposes for the era I am interested in which is 1955-1959.
April 5, 2012 – added a page “Suggested Reading.” For those who are interested in learning more about gangs from New York City in the 1950s, these books are a good start.
March 27, 2012 – added a link to my page about Michael Farmer’s killing to a program National Public Radio did looking at this case. Go straight to the NPR program here. I also tweaked and corrected some of the gang jargon as it was pointed out to me by a former Jackson Gent (gang from Brooklyn), that some of the terms were not correct (thank-you!).
March 26, 2012 – added three websites to “Useful links” page where people can reminisce about living in Brooklyn, Manhattan or the Bronx.
March 24, 2012 – added some interesting source documents on Salvador Agron — a Social Worker’s Report and Department of Welfare Reports. Also added sentencing minutes for the Umbrella Man and a link to an incredible article done by the New York magazine looking at all what happened to the main characters in the Capeman killings, written in 1997.
March 17, 2012 – added page on a gang homicide from 1954 involving the Red Wings and Fordham Baldies
February 12, 2012 – added Useful Links page — other websites about the same topic of New York City teenage fighting gangs from the 1950s.
January 24, 2012 – added Guestbook page — please sign the guestbook and leave a comment
December 14, 2011 – added “gang jargon” page
December 13, 2011 – added information on a girl gang killing from 1956 — the only gang girl killing that I have come across from 1955-1959