We’re all used to the changing face of Brooklyn at this point. Instead of “Bed-Stuy do or die” we’ve got “eat some artisanal spam at Bed-Stuy’s Do or Dine” and instead of the Brooklyn Dodgers bumbling their way through a baseball season we’ve got the Brooklyn Nets bumbling their way through a basketball season. We’ve also got a big shortage of teen gangs spread throughout the borough, as shown by the above map, part of a Times story about the perils of teen gangs in 1974 (h/t Harry Siegel).
It seems like Brooklyn is just forever fated to be a place where groups of people with bonkers names congregate. It’s just a question of whether you live in the era where gangs with names like Justice of Brooklyn, B’nai Zaken, Inc., Screaming Phantoms, Tikwando Bros and Brooklyn Hell Devils or the one where bands with names like Ex-Cops, Blind Idiot God, Weed Hounds, Wild Yaks and Total Slacker determine whether you have a good night or a not so good night.
Not to say there are no gangs anywhere left in Brooklyn, but for all the paranoid talk about Mayor Tall’s secret Soviet agenda to drag us back to the bad old days, it would take a hell of a collapse in public order to wind up with 48 different gangs clustered around territory from Brownsville to Greenpoint. So sure, it sucks that Brooklyn is now overrun with disgraced heads of state, fro-yo and ghastly condos that belong in Miami, but it’s worth remembering that it could always be worse.