Gangs Documentary Diary
27th 2006 entry - Down
the Ducky Turf with some Ducky's
my great Ducky pal Geri, I was able to get an interview with a Ducky
Boy leader and a Ducky Girl leader on their old turf - Bronx Park &
Botanical Gardens! Needless to say i was quite excited about this great
opportunity - But my trusty regular cameraman Leon
Leybs (yes the same guy who did the Richard and the Young
Lions documentary with me) was unable to make it today.
initial confusion who my cameraman for the day would be, my good friend
Jimmy Diamonde stepped up to the plate and saved the day for me.Some
of you may know Jimmy Diamonde as the bass player for the great NJ band
and the Riffsurfers (who you should all check out because
they are really good and Jimmy helped me out in a tight spot)
& I headed up to the Bronx at 9am on a Saturday morning and found
our two subjects Lenny and Phyllis. As there is some obviously sensitive
history here, I will only be referring to them by their first names.
Both of these two were quite the characters who had seen each other
twice in the last 30+
years.. Really nice people who loved the chance to reminisce at their
old stomping grounds..
Phyllis, Lenny and James Hannon
Jimmy Diamonde, Phyllis & Lenny
saw places like Leech Beach, Rat Island, Snuff Mill, and the abso-freaking-lutely
the best - the old tunnels where they used to hang out in 1961-63..
And guess what??? Their old graffiti was still
there!!!!! I have a picture of Phyllis standing in front of graffiti
of her name that she wrote 43 years ago!! And one that says "Ducky"..
Ducky Gang Graffiti from 1961-1963 -- still there in 2006!
Phyllis next to her name painted on the tunnel wall in 1963
In the tunnels..
I turned around and Lenny was gone. I went out back and there he was
climbing the fence into the Botanicals (the man is 59)... Phyllis (58)
was up right behind em and then called for Jimmy & I to climb..
threw over our stuff and started to climb.But I got to the top, saw
the sharp edges of the top of the fence and started calculating a way
to get out of this gracefully.. Luckily (for me), i had parked at a
two hour meter and it had 15 minutes left on it...If I crossed the fence,
I'd never get back to the car in time (i had to run back to get there
in time)... Jim had no such luck finding an excuse.. And was up &
over the fence after suffering some non-life-threatening punctures to
the groin. God bless Jimmy Diamonde for suffering for my art... Rest
assured, I will not hear the end of this one for quite some time...
Late 50-something year olf Ducky's climbing a fence. Unbelievable!
off into the Botanicals went back to the car and brought it around to
the next stop on the trip - The Twin Lakes aka The Duck Pond aka the
source of the Ducky name.. I met them there on a rock
(where in the 60's they stole "something" (watch the movie
to find out what}and drove it off the rock and into the lake - about
a 30 foot drop).
bit I got there.. We talked on camera for a bit about a lot of things
that I won't be giving away here - but rest assured the information
was great. Some things happened that day that I can't even mention (lets
put it this way, there was a point where I almost had to destroy the
tape as evidence), but in the end everything turned out all right.
a really good day.. Some really great things happened (great interviews
& footage, graffiti in the tunnels from 1963, Jimmy coming on board
and going above & beyond. Some bad things too - a microphone crapped
out and some bleached out footage that hopefully can be fixed.
a day to remember - Thanks to Jimmy Diamonde, Lenny & Phyllis!