Here I am probably in 1951, or maybe 1952. This may be an Easter Sunday photograph, actually. The reason why I'm dressed like a little hoodlum is that my father dressed like an adult hoodlum.
The reason for this is that he grew up, in the '20s and '30s, in a Park Slope that was very different from the yuppie haven it is today. Some blocks to the north was Carroll Street, where Al Capone had made his start years earlier. Only two blocks away was the gang run by the Gallo boys. This gang would someday become known as “The Gallo Mob,” and would run organized crime in New York City. The neighborhood also abounded in other criminals who never achieved nationwide publicity for more than a day or two. I'm sure you've seen from photographs how those folks all dressed when they thought they were dressed up. There was a sort of hoodlum fashion sense. My father had the same fashion sense as they. And so when it came time for him to get dressed up, he dressed like a hoodlum. And when it came time for him to dress his son up for the first time he brought this fashion sense to the job.
Actually, I like the fedora. Interesting touch on a little boy.
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All photographs and text copyright © 1998, R. Paul Martin