The Old Neighborhood

The only trips Tony had ever taken were of the LSD variety. He still lives in the same pathetic illegal studio apartment over his Uncle Madicuhe’s barber shop on National Street. Tony has never really left the neighborhood.

By default, Tony has become the unofficial or de facto oral historian of the entire Corona neighborhood, including Lefrak City. Seemingly one of the few leftover neighborhood residents from my past, what choice did I have?

He talked, I listened.

Tony decided to proudly start with the infamous and still legendary Italian-American street gang known throughout Queens as Club 21. Back then they were the reigning youth street gang and were headquartered and populated from Corona.

Both neighborhood sections (Lefrak and Corona) shared Newtown High School. Teens from both areas had to mingle. Club 21 hoods would follow Lefrak City kids home or come by Lefrak City after school to beat them up and extort money and other items of value. Tony still thinks this was quite amusing.

We all shared a zip code, but Club 21 had the muscle, organization and zip guns. These tough second generation Italian kids were known as “Hitters.” In Lefrak City there were two groups,“Hippies,” and then just regular kids like me.





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