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Bushwick Halsey Bops | Halsey Bops of Brooklyn

Halsey Bops of Brooklyn

Halsey Bops of Bushwick Brooklyn 1960's

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The Halsey Bops were well known at Bushwick High School in Brooklyn back in the sixties. They hung out at Halsey Park from 1957-1962. It was Georgie, Bobby, Benny C., Jackie, Whitey, Tony, Larry, Andy, Bobby, Jackie and many moore. They hung out in that park house and played dice against the wall. They also hung out at Putnam Park and many Ellery Bops started to hang with the Halsey Bops too.

Ruled Halsey and Putnam parks.

Halsey Bops of Bushwick

In those days, before Miranda Law, there were no guns, plenty of knives(the K55)and bats not to mention car antennas and pretty good brawlers, some with pugilistc savy, some with brute force.

Bushwick Gangs

Gangs began to increase in size and number in Bushwick the summer of 1967. Most were SAC - Social Athletic Clubs - but some of the larger gangs had economic interests in the selling of stolen cigarettes and illegal fireworks. Most gang members ranged in age group of 13 - 20 years old. The younger kids joined the auxiliary midget gangs like the Ellery Tots and Halsey Tots.

Halsey Bop Rivals

Black gangs - Junior Sinner and the Jefferson Stumpers. Junior Saints.

A ex neighborhood guy stated:I knew a bunch of those guys in '60. '61 and '62. Bosco, Magoo, Poma, Bangshot, and everyone on Knickerbocker and Halsey st. Went to all the St. Martins dances. Hung out with the Rebels on Wycoff and always had to put up with the Saints coming down further and the Stompers coming up further the last year I was there in '62

Halsey, Rockaway & Fulton

Probably in 1959 at the 14 Holy Martyr's Bazaar (a church bazaar on Covert and Central) the Corsair Lords came in groups of 2. I was there with a few Halsey Bops along with Rockaway and Fulton gang (not together). There eventually were well over 100 Corsair Lords. Rockaway & Fulton called and truckloads (John Gotti was there) first of guys showed up. The Lords ran down Central Ave. and back to Bed Sty. Along the way the real old HalseyBops came out of their clubs and were kicking ass on the Lords real bad and R&F was chasing them from the other direction.

Fulton-Rockaway gang - John Gotti's - teenage gang - wore purple and black outfits. It's been stated that John Gotti became leader of the gang because of his fast fists and natural leadership qualities.

Halsey Bop hangouts

The ice cream parlor on Wilson & Halsey was Kalke's. The Halsey bops hung out there in the winter months for several years from 1957-1962.

Halsey Bops Verses Flaming Satans

Puerto Rican gang from from Evergreen Avenue. They fought the Halsey Tots at the time because the Halsey Bop Seniors were gone. Some of the Satans were Mr Willey, Dino, and little Dice.

A neighborhood girl had this to say about the Bops: I remember the "Halsey Bops"!!! I lived on Eldert Street from 1950 till the summer of 1964. I remember as a child, watching them and other rival gangs fight in front of the schoolyard across the street from my house! They would beat each other with pipes and baseball bats, and they would actually be bloody! But growing up a "city kid", I learned early on that when we saw something like that brewing, I was supposed to go up on the "stoop" and stick close to home . . . not go near them! Someone would yell "rumble!", and it was ON!

Halsey Bops 1957-1963

In the early 60's, most of the senior members went on with their lifes leaving their turf to the Halsey Tots - who eventually dropped the "Bops" (too fifties) and continued on as "Halsey" gang. The Seniors Halsey Bops were friends with the Rockaway and Fulton gang and a lot of them hung out at the Sportsman's Cafe on Fulton and Rockaway.

The Saints

The Saints near the Queens-Brooklyn border were in constant clashes with the Brooklyn gangs, among them the Halsey Bops and Tots (under 18). The Saints were also divided up into divisions with Seniors and Juniors separated.

There were about 1,000 to 1,500 Saints gang members from all of Queens. They were named according to the neighborhood they were from. For example there was the Woodhaven Saints, Ridgewood Saints etc. (then depending on the size of each gang, they were separated according to age. i.e. the Junior Ridgewood Saints).

In 1960, the Junior Saints had a number of zip guns in their possession and even a rifle. They were enemies with the Halsey Bops and had them in their sights for a big ambush only to have it broken up by the cops.

Fountain and Pitkin Gang

In May of 1961, an F&P (Fountain & Pitkin) a Brooklyn gang member was beaten by the Ozone Park Saints. On May 10, the F&P gang went to rumble with the Ozone Park Saints. On the way to the rumble they saw some youths playing baseball and asked if they were Saints. Denying this the boys said they were part of no gang.

Angered, one of the F&P boys hit one of the boys playing handball. John, 15 asked why they hit him. Then Dennis, 15 plunged a knife into the chest of Panico. He died. Also arrested with Dennis was Paul, 16, Vincent, 16, James, 16, Angelo, 17, Frank, 17, and Martin, 17. (Paraphrased from NYT, May 11, 1961).

Halsey Bops Verses the Saints

A Junior Saint had this to say about the rumble: "Bust" by the cops in 1960, would that have been when the Junior Saints were setting up an ambush along the railroad tracks behind the ball field? I recall helping set up four pits with railroad ties, each pit with 4 guys, some with zip guns (the kind you made out of a wooden hanger, bolt, rubber bands, and car antenna). I was supposed to be there that Friday night but I had to go with my family to Long Island to our little bungalow. I read of the bust the following day. On Monday, I and two other guys who were not nabbed were sitting on the park rails when a reporter/photographer took our picture and submitted it to the Daily News (or was it the Daily Mirror). We were identified as Junior Saints (although, technically, I wasn't) as part of the story in the paper.

The Pizza Place massacre of 1966 on Knickerbocker

This happened in late July, or early August 1966. It was a Saturday night, and totally unexpected.

There were a few guys who were friendly with the members of what was left of Halsey. They had just come from playing softball, or basketball somewhere, and stopped in for a slice of pizza. There were also three guys in, or associated with Halsey: Joey B, Joe S, AKA Snoopy and a guy named Jimbo, and also a kid named Bobby M who was new to the neighborhood, having recently arrived from Williamsburg.

About four or five African American kids came looking for another guy, who had grabbed a small black boy who had the temerity to walk his dog near Halsey Park. He took the dog leash from the kid, and beat him soundly with it. He also beat the dog. The black kids picked out these guys who were entirely blameless in the matter. Most of them probably had no idea it had even happened. Tommy L was stabbed in the stomach with a bayonet. Snoopy had his throat slashed from ear to ear, but miraculously, it was only superficial wound, like a long paper cut. Jimbo got his head cleaved with a machete, as did the new kid from Williamsburg. All the kids survived except the one from Williamsburg, whose parents had moved him there to get him out of a bad neighborhood.

The NYPD put the neighborhood on lockdown for the rest of the summer.

Halsey Park in the Mid-60s

This s how the racial and economic situation had become by the mid sixties in the Halsey Park area.  Most of the streets between Wilson and Irving Aves. had become slowly integrated.  There was a tenuous respect between white and black folks. There were a few incidents in the previous years, where stupid fights between kids turned ugly.  But that pizza place event just shook the neighborhood to its core.  It was so horrible and senseless. 

Rest In Peace

Snoopy and Guzmen

Jackson House Settlement Gangs

There were two other gangs from brooklyn that originated out of the Jackson street settlement house in williamsburg NY, they were: the Jackson Gents and the Dukanes. Both were comprised of Italian Americans. Their rivals were the Saints, the El Quintos, the Phantom Lords the Halsy Bops and the Chaplains. It was all about territory...