The Stickup Kids: Race, Drugs, Violence, and the American Dream

By Randol Contrems | Go to book overview

ONE
The Rise of the South Bronx
and Crack

THE BRONX IS A LAND OF STEEP HILLS, green parks, and elegant architecture. The borough is slightly smaller in square mileage than Boston, but with over 1.3 million residents, it has almost two and half times its population. Still, it is only New York City’s fourth most populated borough, coming ahead of just Staten Island.1 The Bronx is also the only borough attached to the mainland; Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island— water separates them all. The land borders Long Island Sound to the east, the East River to the southeast, the Harlem River to the west, and the county of Westchester, a wealthy neighbor, to the north.

The natural landscape is beautiful, with parkland covering nearly a quarter of the borough.2 These parks offer shady trees, green grass, athletic fields, and colorful playgrounds, all for pleasant mornings, evenings, and afternoons. On streets outside the parks stand butter-colored art deco buildings, a signature of curves and arches that soften the Bronx sky. These elegant buildings have housed residents from all over the world; in their early years, from Europe, and later, from Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America.3

But a close inspection reveals severity. Sidewalks wrinkle with cracks, roads crater with potholes. Building facades crumble, litter adorns the street. Every bright color is dimmed by soot, a thick coat of gray. Though reviving, the Bronx is still the Bronx. Next to most New York City boroughs, it is crime ridden, poverty ridden, and uneducated.4

It is here that the lives of the Dominican drug robbers have unfolded. Not so long ago, the South Bronx was an urban inferno, with thieves, drug pushers, and vandals roaming its abandoned streets. This was not always so. The Bronx was once a glorious city. But some political, economic, and social woes reversed the borough’s forward momentum. Then it was the Hopeless

-35-

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The Stickup Kids: Race, Drugs, Violence, and the American Dream
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Stickup Kids - Race, Drugs, Violence, and the American Dream iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations (after Page 11 4) ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Preface xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One - Becoming Stickup Kids 33
  • One - The Rise of the South Bronx and Crack 35
  • Two - Crack Days- Getting Paid 56
  • Three - Rikers Island- Normalizing Violence 72
  • Four - The New York Boys- Tail Enders of the Crack Era 87
  • Five - Crack Is Dead 105
  • Part Two - Doing the Stickup 115
  • Six - The Girl 117
  • Seven - Gettin’ The Shit 136
  • Eight - Drug Robbery Torture 151
  • Nine - Splitting the Profits 176
  • Ten - Living the Dream- Life after a Drug Robbery 191
  • Part Three - Todo Tiene Su Final 203
  • Eleven - Fallen Stars 205
  • Conclusion 235
  • Notes 243
  • Index 267
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