As an introduction, my brother David wrote a book on the 1950’s New York teenage gangs, and in the process, had many fascinating conversations with people from those gangs. He would often share little gems with me during the research and writing of the book. There was one man – Anthony – who had particularly delightful descriptions of growing up in Brooklyn.
This scene is from his neighbourhood and the haunt of his gang – the Sands Street Angels. The diorama had a later addition of rats because of this humorous description from Antony:
“We lived not far from the docks and they had water rats. The rats used to chase the cats (we had a lot of cats in our neighborhood). They had plenty of food because of the docks, and freight cars had all kind of goodies for them when the men would sweep the box cars out onto the streets. I took a sick water rat to a pet show one time in a bird cage that we found down on the docks. Mr Carvello and Mr Kavanour from the Navy Yard Boy’s Club went crazy!”