Jersey City Gangs
An ex-Jersey City gang member (Wolfman) from the 1950s had this to say:
In Jersey City we lived in the Greenville section near Bayonne. The only white Clubs so called Gangs were The Romans, The Loffers, The Lords, The Impressions, and yes their was rivalry between us. The Black and Puerto Rican clubs stayed downtown and mostly to themselves in the fifties, but started to move into our neighborhoods in the late fifties, early sixties, as white flight took hold. The Alquintos, The Mopos, The Chingalings, The Bee Bopers, The Top Hats, and also had chapters in New York City. The only Projects I can remember and the most notorious were the Ducan Ave Projects and the newly built Currie Woods Projects which was built in the South Greenville section of Jersey City and caused a lot of the white flight (including my Mom & Dad) in that area. That is when I got drafted into the Army Sept 1963 and got out in Sept 1965 and lived in Old Bridge NJ before moving to CA in 1966.
Does anybody know the difference between a Gang and a Club? Does anybody remember the east side kids or the bowery boys? Everybody today (including law enforcement) has taken the word Gang and put a negative spin on it. I belonged to a club in Jersey City NJ back in the fifty's Called the Romans mostly Italian Americans and we use to hang out at triangle park as most of us lived in the neighborhood. Some guys worked or went to school some did not. We all had cool reversible Roman jackets. Most of us came from middle class blue collar families. If you would like to know more about clubs and gangs see the movie Gangs of New York this is best movie on the subject as most Gangs are born out of poverty and ethnicity including the New York City Police and Fire departments.
- New Jersey Greasers
- ROMANS: Italian 1950s/60s
- BEE BOPERS
- TOP HATS
- SKULLS: 1980's Janesville
NOTE: Some The Black and Latino gangs: Alquintos, Mopos, Chingalings, Bee Bopers, and the Top Hats had sections in New York City.
New Brunswick Demographics
Easton Ave from the train station all the way up to Buccleuch Park(including all side streets, was/somewhat still is Irish Catholic and communicants of St. Peter's Church and parochial schools. Hungarians included all of French from town up to Route 27 and paralleled to the Jersey Ave. cutoff, including all side streets and all of Somerset St. including all side streets between French and Somersest, communicants of St. Ladislaus school and church on Somerset.
Then Livingston ave from the end of George St. all the way up including all side streets primarily Italian neighborhoods with communicants of St. Mary's Church and Sacred Heart School.
At that time there was a small Spanish community that lived in the Italian neighborhood and also attended St. Mary's and Sacred Heart.
Also the Jewish neighborhood would have been off of Livingston Ave on the side streets, nice homes and attended the reform temple on Livingston or the orthodox or conservative temples in Highland Park. Highland Park was known and still is as the stronghold of the Jewish community although I think the wealthy families have left that area too. South Highland Park became problematic with crime already in the 1980's.
The streets, like Lee, Codwise, Throop all had black families but there wasn't any problems at that time. The housing projects that were down on Memorial Parkway is where most families lived and the projects that were all the way up Rt. 27 almost into Somerset Cty is where they lived as well and still do.
New Brunswick Clubs
Instead of gangs as you are defining the word, kids stayed in their cultural groups...So the Italian teens stuck together. The Irish side of town was a tight knit section and there were fights and territorial outbreaks. What school you went to determined where you fit: parochial vs. public..The idea that the cool kids went to public school, generally fit the greaser image and while the parochial kids(Irish, some Italian)wore uniforms and were stalked alot by the greasers. Drag racing was the way many fights were worked out but not always. The blacks also kept to themselves and somehow as long as each kept with their 'own kind' it worked out.
Livingston Avenue Drag Races
How about cruising Livingston Ave. and drag racing at the lights until you reached the How Lane light then finishing the "official" race the rest of the way down Livingston to Rt.l, or pretty much the same thing down Jersey Ave. to Rt. l?