STREET GANG LIFE AND OTHER NON-FICTIONAL STORIES

BABY NOMADS

 

After I had proved myself to the older guys in the Savage Nomads that night, they introduced me to the gangbangers version of a farm club, the Baby Nomads. Most of these kids were younger brothers or just younger kids that idolized the older Savage Nomads.

The average age was between 9 and 16 years old, after that you could apply to move up to The Savage Nomads.  I was at the older age group being just 14-1/2, I was also one of the smallest. But I had already made my mark by showing up, participating and surviving the brawl with the Harlem gang that night in the park. I was hanging out in Inwood hill park my park, one day by the back benches behind the basketball courts. A guy I knew said there were 3 Latinos wearing gang colors  looking for me. He pointed them out and from where I was I could see them walking into the park past the playgrounds up at the front of the park.  I grabbed a baseball bat sized tree branch that I saw on the ground and skirted around the basketball courts so I could follow them.  I was trying to hear what they were saying to the people hanging out in the park.  But I had to keep a fair distance away and walked normal so as not to attract their attention.

I came to a path that crossed directly into the road they were walking on.  I could still hear them asking people for if they knew me or what I looked like.  I saw one friend of mine look at them and then he saw me, I could hear him saying, yeah I know him he’s a big tall guy, blonde hair, kind of fat. They nodded and walk on.

I almost bumped into them at one point. They had reached an area at the back of the park near the entrance to the woods.   They stopped for a moment, I guess they realized that it was the end on the path and that going forward meant walking into the woods.  I figured that was a good a spot as any to say hello, so I did. They turned around and saw me standing there with this big branch in my hand looking at them; I said, ” hey guy’s what’s going on? I hear you’re looking for SOB.  I know the guy, he’s a buddy of mine. Two of them  reached behind their backs and pulled out little black billy clubs that the cops use to smack you with.  I swung my stick at them.

I totally missed and one of them quickly side stepped my swing and whacked me in the face with the black club. I went down and dropped my stick; I grabbed a handful of dirt and threw it at them. I was able to kick this guy in the legs and he fell, I started to jump on him and punched him a few good shots. The next one closest to me grabbed me from behind pinning my arms.

The guy with the dirt in his eyes got up and started throwing punches at me, I tried to duck but I was still getting hit hard. I could taste blood and I was hurting.  I could hear some background noise and I knew it was some of the local dudes from the park running over to see what was happening. All of the sudden, the one guy who didn’t move at all when this started, grabbed me by the hair and said,” we’re with the Baby Nomads, we wanted to see if you were the fighter everyone said you were. If you want more meet us downtown at the 175th street subway entrance near the GW (George Washington) Bridge, later tonight and we’ll see if you’re tough enough”.  All of a sudden this fucking huge car comes barreling into the park, everyone is screaming and running out of the way, these guys jump in and the car peels out.

I watched this from my knees and when the people from the park got to me, everyone was asking me what happened. I told them it was nothing.  I just went to the park bathroom and washed my face.

Later that night, I took the subway train to the 175th st station and rode the escalator to the street level. I waited for about an hour when finally the same guys showed up in that car, it was freaking huge; you could have fit like 10 people inside. I got in and we drove up to St Nicholas ave to some apartment building, we got out and they walked me into this alleyway.

There were dozens of these gang kids hanging out wearing their colors. And there was just me and 2 other kids that weren’t associated with the gang.

I saw the big guy who grabbed my hair in that fight in my park and I yelled across the alley, “How about now, mother fucker, you and me right here, right now”. He looked over at me and charged. I slipped to one side and tripped him with my leg, he hit some garbage cans but rebounded nicely, turned and karate kicked me in the neck. I fell down and in an instant he was on top of me throwing punches. I grabbed his shirt and swung him around, he hit the wall and let me go so we were able to square off.  By now the other guys had formed a circle around us, I was thinking to myself shit “I’m gonna get my ass kicked”. When one of the other new guys threw me a garbage can lid. I slammed this guy into the head and he dropped like a stone. I thought it was over and I don’t know how he did it but he sprang up like a freaking frog and high kicked me in the face, I went down again and then it all suddenly stopped. I looked over and saw that the other 2 new kids were  on the ground getting punched and kicked.

Then the big guy that I was fighting stood over us with his arms spread out like some fucking band leader and told everyone to stop and shut up. They all froze and nobody moved I was thought this is it, these fucking gangers are going to fuck me up.

The big guy says “enough”.  I stand up and he points at me and says, this guy is okay, the others have to walk the line.

The two other  kids get shoved into the far end of the alley and one of the BN hands them bandanas to wrap over their eyes. Then the gang of guys form 2 lines and these new guys are told to walk between these lines as they are punched, kicked and shoved around.

I was watching this happen and thought, “Is all this worth this shit”? It took a minute or so for them to get down the line to where I was standing. I grabbed one guy as he fell and took off the bandana, he was pretty banged up but he was okay. The other guy started crying and they all laughed at him as he was pushed out of the alley. Some chick came over and handed us jackets; on the back it had the colors of the gang.

I had survived this bullshit to become part of something, I wasn’t exactly sure of what though.

I was able to hold my own with these guys; I was always being asked by the older guys to help do gang shit like getting new recruits and making sure that everyone pulls their weight. Sooner or later some guys would think they had enough balls to go out on their own and start their own gangs. There were a  few dudes we had to straighten out and remind them who was in charge; it was mostly the older guys that did the enforcing.

One day this guy Chico of the BN came to me and asked me to do him a favor and set up this fight between our little brood of 35 guys and this gang from The Bronx  The Golden Ginnies, “really that was their name.”

He told me to hand pick a few good guys and go to this “pre-fight” meeting at some building in The Bronx.

Chico told me to be there around3pm and to wait near the basement door of building # 6. Someone would come and bring us to the meeting. We waited and sure enough this OT ( old timer)who looked like he was too fucking old to be in any gang came walking towards us wearing colors. He brought us to this room in the basement that only had one door. Me and my boys sat on one side of the table and waited for the other gang to get there.

Finally, the GG came walking in with this housing cop, I fucking smelled RAT right away. This cop worked at these particular buildings. Guys like him tried to keep things under control as best they could, but the buildings were usually run by the gangs no matter what these cops did. I was amused by this guy, he walked in like he was better than all of us and he even  smirked when he saw us in the room. I guess he already chose sides and his side was the GG gang from the building.

Well guess what asshole you just bet on the wrong horse.

The cop sat at the end of the table and then started telling us, not the other gang, about how he won’t stand for any bullshit and how he will personally kick the shit out of anyone who gets out of line today. I laughed and told him to fuck off, this had nothing to do with him, and this meeting was about us and these other fuck heads. I told the lead guy for the GG that we would use bats and chains and they wanted to use knifes, we argued for like 10 minutes about this when the cop looked over at me and told me to shut the fuck up.

This new kid Joey who was sitting next to me, pulled a knife and told the cop to back off, the kid across from Joey jumped across the table and the two of them got into it pretty fierce. We broke them apart and everyone started screaming and yelling, next thing I knew one of these other guys points a gun right at me. It was like a fucking movie in slow motion, I think I saw the bullet, I definitely saw the puff of smoke and I most defiantly smelled gunpowder. The bullet missed and I fell backwards onto the basement floor and landed on someone. Joey leaped across the table and stabbed the dude with the gun right in the face, there was blood everywhere, the whole room erupted into chaos.

I looked and saw the tough guy cop hiding under the table, I was laughing at the fat fuck, what an asshole. We hauled ass out of there and hopped the train back toManhattan.

I told Chico that the meeting went well and that we would meet at the park on 242nd street Friday night and that knifes and bats were the mutually agreed upon weapons.

-Peace

If you want to read more street stories click on the link below;

 

SAVAGE NOMADS

There was this guy who moved onto our street his name was Frank, he was Russian or some shit like that. He moved there with his mom and little brother Lubo (Lubo is another story). They moved into my apartment building, he seemed like a good guy and he looked like he could handle himself, I liked him right away. He was originally from 175th street in the Heights and occasionally some of his old friends would come to our street to hang out. I guess after awhile they found our little slice of Manhattan a nice place to visit and they came more often.

One of his friends was this guy named Max, he was a tall skinny guy, a little older than me he was 17 or 18 years old, and I was 13 or 14. He was pretty cool and he and I got along real good, real quick, he was in this gang called the Savage Nomads and they normally hung out around in 175th st area. I used to go back to his neighborhood every now and then with him and the older guys in that gang let me hang out. I was much younger than they were but because I was a tough little guy they liked that.

It wasn’t long before I became the target for some of these gang guys, since I was from another part of the city, I was an outsider.

On the street you had your word and your fists, and since nobody there knew me very well, all I had was my fists. I had a couple of fights with these guys till they figured out I wasn’t going to back away from a fight. It would usually start with a dirty look, then a nasty remark, till finally I had to say something that led to a fist fight. I didn’t always win, but they figured I was okay for a little guy. Pretty soon I was a regular at their hangouts and since I had a pretty good pot and coke connection I was able to get into any party I wanted. I had a few scary times, but only when I had the misfortune of rubbing one of the leaders the wrong way, hey it happens.

I remember one summer night there was this big fight they had planned, I snuck out of my apartment while everyone was sleeping and hopped the back of the #100 bus down Broadway from 200th st to 175th st. the fight that night was between the SN and this other gang from Harlem.

I wanted to be there and I told all these older guys I would be there to fight with them.

They were pretty impressed that I actually showed up. I didn’t have colors (the gang’s colors and logo on a demin jacket without sleeves).  I did wear a demin with no sleeves and that was the best I could do. We all met at the entrance to Riverside park at 160th st and from there we walked thru the park down to the 140th street or something, that’s where we were going to meet these black guys from Harlem. Max kept saying, “stay close to me and you’ll be alright”.

He handed me a pipe and said hit anyone that comes close, keep swinging and keep your head up if we all start to run, don’t get left behind.

I was so fucking charged up. I had a lot of street fights in my life but this shit was straight out of the fucking movies. We were all drinking and smoking, some guys even stopped to shoot up, I was like fuck that, the last thing I wanted was to be stoned during this shit. I was only 4 foot 10 inches and these guys were adults for Christ sake. I’d say there were 100 to 150 of us and we stopped at this large field in the park, on one side you saw the Hudson river with a huge barge floating down with its lights on, on the other side were some buildings on riverside drive, a nice upscale area on the city. I could see the windows of some of the apartments had their lights on and I even saw the blue hue from televisions sets that were on.

I was way in the back, Max and some of the other guys were with me and they all agreed that me and the other littler guys would be okay back here and that we could get some one on one fighting time instead of being in the front were most guys were swings machetes and who knows what.

The logic of that strategy worked for me since I was a new to all this. I was talking to some guy when I heard a roar from the front and saw ours guys yelling and screaming, I stood on this rock to see what was going on and I saw like 50 black guys walking towards our front line, the SN guys in front were laughing and shouting shit, we were gonna cream these 50 assholes. Everyone was getting real pumped and I’m thinking shit I’m not even gonna get to hit anyone.

All of the sudden I saw Max and this guy turn white and say “shit. Shit,shit. I looked around and saw what they were looking at. Coming from behind us was almost 200 fucking screaming bat waving bottled throwing black guys and “they were less than 50 feet away”. 50 goddamn feet, that’s less than the distance from the pitchers mound to home plate. I could hear the sound on their feet pounding the grass, like fucking a stampede of horses, it sounded like thunder. It all happened so fucking fast, before I knew it I got run over by some huge guy and stomped on by everyone else behind him, they ran thru our group like we were made of paper. I heard the sound of bones breaking and guys screaming. I was swinging my little pipe like mad.

I hit one guy in the chest and another in the balls. Then someone grabbed me and threw me into a tree, another guy came flying into me. I looked up and saw some guy with a knife sticking out of his chest, he dropped to the ground and someone else hit him with a bat. He was dead in a moment. Two guys were wrestling next to his body and he didn’t move at all.

Max had on these baseball cleats that were made with metal spikes on the bottoms. He was stomping heads and kicking people. I ran at some kid that was almost my size figuring that I would bust him up, he saw me coming and ran at me at the same time, I suddenly realized this was no kid; this was a short tough looking older guy.

He and I hit like freaking rams head butting on some mountain, he fell first, I jumped on his chest and started swinging my pipe at him. He took a bottle and smashed my lip open. I fell off and when I rolled over and got back up he was gone. I kept hearing cries and screams, I didn’t know if it was our side or their side. I lost sight of the guys I was with, and I wasn’t even sure who was on our side and who wasn’t. I felt blood running down from my lip and I spit it out. Max came out of a mass of fighting bodies and collapsed at my feet. I saw that he had been stabbed in the thigh. He said “help me up, let’s get out of here”.

The fight was winding down, I saw a lot of people looking out their apartment windows, and there were cars stopped on Riverside drive, people were looking into the field were we were. I grabbed Max and we made it to the street, a cab driver saw us and said “get in the car”. He drove us to Columbia Presbyterian hospital back up on 165th st.

I dragged Max into the ER and some doctor came over and helped us. A nurse looked at his leg and then they wheeled him away, she gave me some ice and cleaned my lip. I left the hospital and took a cab home, I didn’t have any money and I felt bad because I had to act like I was getting money out of my pocket and then ran into the alleyway next to my house, no driver was going to follow someone into the dark. I climbed back up the fire escape into my room and went to sleep. I had to get up early tomorrow I had an English test in first period.

 

 

 -peace

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Comments
  1. I read the first part. Baby Nomads. It’s really good. I want to finish reading it. I’m going to try and get a kindle it is available on Kindle. I would enjoy reading it laying down reading at night or on rainy days. I remember gangs that fought with knives, chains and bats. My mother kept my on a short lease. Queens had gangs and I remember them chasing each other through my neighbor hoods. I remember watching them go to the gas station across from my house to this school park. I’ll never forget the screaming I heard. They poured gasoline on this kid and torched him. That was some horrible shit. Today these gangs are frightening this these guns. My daughter wasn’t part of the gangs but her kids father was/is. I want that boy out her life so bad. My prayers were answered. I worry about my grandsons. I pray they don’t get caught up. they’re in Brooklyn. Some one is always getting shot up.

    • sobnyc says:

      wow, we have so much in common. I grew up at the northern most point of Mann, the end of Washington Heights. I really hope you like my Tales. My daughter wants me to do the book on audio,maybe.

      I have three older children as well, 32yr/27yr/26yr no grandkids, but I do have a 14 and an 8 year old currently. I will be 53 in June, middle aged and loving it.

      Where in Brooklyn do they live?
      -Peace

      • One is Flatbush and one I think it’s Bushwick. Not sure It’s in the center of a drug den. I was waiting for Access-A-Ride one night and the cops rolled up on me. I thought they were nice. At the time I was on oxygen. My daughter said mom, they were profiling. I just turned 52. I was diagnosed with lupus almost 4 years ago. I’m stable now and trying to lose this steroid weight. My son will be 35, my daughter 33 and the baby will be 29. Have one grand son 10, one 8 and a granddaughter 8. My son is on parole and trying to find permanent housing. Me I’m in Queens living with a friend and her mother.

      • sobnyc says:

        do not stop writing

      • I’m not.don’t you stop either. I’m going to bed right now. :)

    • sobnyc says:

      heres my email if you would like to use it.

      savahome@yahoo.com

  2. 1 says:

    I lived on Park Street in Hartford from 1974 till 1980… The Savage Nomads had a club house down the street on Park and Lawrence… I went to elementary school with Baby Nomads and was neither Hispanic or affiliated. It was a dangerous life that even my parents did not know about. I thought it normal till years later.

    • sobnyc says:

      Thanks for the comments. It was brief for me, again my good buddy was more into the gang life than I was.I kind of got caught up just by hanging with him..

      If you have stories to tell, write them down them. I’ll read. -peace

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