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The last few days we have been discussing ‘The Jokers‘, ‘Bengie‘, ‘stabbings‘ and ‘gangs’; a change of direction to say the least, huh?

For the past five years we have been talking about a lot of positive situations that went on in the neighborhood.  I hope everyone is cool with the latest topic. I understand it’s painful for some, but on the other hand, it makes for a very intriguing discussion.

As for the book, I checked on-line and Bruce Davidson’s “Brooklyn Gang” is running close to $1,000. Mamma Mia!

Davidson, in 1959 made a visit to the neighborhood and followed a few teenagers around and snapped pictures of them and came out with a book. Not a bad deal, huh?

There’s no way I could afford the book today but I did go to a local library and I happened to come across some of Davidson’s work.

One image in the book that I thought was really cool is of the girl in the mirror. (Cathy O’Neal)

I also found a quote from Davidson when he went back a few years later and paid a visit to Cathy.


“In Brooklyn I had found the girl who combed her hair in the Coney Island mirror. She had married the gang leader. Their daughter is fifteen, the same age she was then. She said, “We all had a dream, but we lost it. Most of the kids we knew are on drugs, in crime or dead. You meant a lot to us because you were someone from the outside who had a camera and was taking pictures of us.” I told her that her picture is hanging in museums around the world. When her teenage daughter came into the room, she turned to her daughter and said, “Look, this is a picture of momma when she was your age.” The she turned to me and smiled, “Maybe my dream isn’t quite lost.” (Courtesy of Bruce Davidson Photographs)

I’d love to hear about Cathy from anyone who knew her…