Jackson Heights Gangs
- Jr Bachelors
- Splendon Social Club
- Splendon comes from the Beta Splendon Siamese fighting fish - a symbol of a fish with a top hat and cane was on the membership card.
- Barons (Jr HS 145)
- Gaylords: from Woodside
Jackson Heights Queens Gangs
One Jackson Heights man's view looking back on his old neighborhood and crew: I moved to Jackson Heights Queens from Williamsburg Brooklyn around 1952. I noticed no mention of the kids from 82nd street to 69th street (by the Woodside border) area of Jackson Heights. In the 50's there were the Jr Bachelors and Braghans (spelling not sure) who were one of the same and hung around PS 69 on 37th Ave and 78th Street. They pretty much controlled this half of Jackson Heights down to Woodside. Hangouts were Bill's Lunchenete and Newtown Bowling. Later in the mid 60's the Splendon Social Club was charted. Splendon comes from the Beta Splendon Siamese fighting fish - a symbol of a fish with a top hat and cane was on the membership card. The club on 71st street and 35th Ave consisted of mainly guys from Jackson Height and to a lessor degree Woodside. Less than half were ex gang members. I was a charter member at 21, I just finished a 3 year hitch in the army. In the 5-6 or so years the club existed, we never had a single incident where trouble walked in the door. We had a full service bar and excellent Juke Box, along with table and booths. Late night poker games were not unusual. The cops left us alone perhaps because at least 2 members were on the force, and also because they were happy we were all in one place. There were some fairly tough individuals within club, including non member neighborhood guys (regulars). One member for example was a jujitsu black belt ex Golder Gloves who was the only American to perform at the Japanese Pavellon at the 64 Worlds Fair at Willets Point near Flushing. All members were in the 18-30 year age bracket, some ex Army, Navy and Marines. The girls were all from the general area and a number of marriages occured over the years. Typical Fri-Sat nights ended in the wee hours of the morning. Drugs were becoming more wide spread around NY and the country during this time, and caused some issues within the club.
The Splendon died a slow death as married members had kids, and others moved out of Jackson Heights. Some other club names I recall that were not mentioned were the Barons (Jr HS 145) in Jackson Heights and the Gaylords from Woodside (unless they were part of the Gaylords that existed elsewhere). Two brothers (Frank and Arky) from the then defunct Gaylords were regulars who came to the club.
We also hung around the Woodside Projects for a couple years... We had periodic fights with the black kids from time to time. I was arrested for unlawful assembly with about 22 other guys during one such 'fight' (I was 14) The other kids had friends from gangs at the Queensbridge projects, names I don't know, but they all wore raincoats. We had help from the Saddletramps and some other older guys who I'm not sure of. We were in the front page of the Long Island Star Journal the next day.. my Dad didn't speak to me for 2 years. After that 'fight' we were loosely associated with the Gents from Astoria.. I remember their Jackets were black with white script.. the symbol on the front was a white top hat. gloves and cane.
Top gang - Corona Dukes
The top gang was probably the Corona Dukes, for sheer numbers, they had generations involved. I believe the way they operated was to get into the military when you were 18, basically learn to shoot and be a man, and upon discharge work on being selected up to another level. I remember a pair of brothers who were Dukes, went through this 'rite of passage' and later picked up numbers bets from some of the clubs in Jackson Heights. Jackson Heights had two key night clubs and many bars. The night clubs were the Blue Haven 37th Ave and 76th St and The Monclair Club between 74th and 75th steet on 37th Ave where artists like King Curtis used to play. A lot of us then hung out in Albee's Bowling alley right next to the Monclair, which thinking back was probably run by the Italian mob as was the Monclair. I was 13-15 then and knew the manager Frank. He always liked me, and would ask me to set pins when one of the drunk pinboys who they had working there failed to show up.