The Brooklyn Hoodstars (ENY and Brownsville gang) — Brooklynian

The Brooklyn Hoodstars (ENY and Brownsville gang)

On occasion, I like to create threads that are off the usual topics we discuss. In this thread I will give some attention to the Brooklyn organization known as the Hoodstars.

As a result of killing a bystander on Friday 10/21/2011, the Hoodstarz (and to a lesser degree their rival group, which seem to go by either "Flyguys" or "Waves") were mentioned throughout the media over the weekend.

Friday’s after-school gunfire -- which also left a sixth-grade student and a parent wounded -- stemmed from an ongoing beef between two warring factions, the Hoodstars and the Waves.





But, they have been around a very longtime. Here are two pretty notable incidents that happened over the summer. On June 27

Tyquan Spann, 16, who police say was tied to the BFG, was among the first victims. Sources said Culture Bermudez, 16, a member of the Hood Starz, shot Spann in the arm around 2:30 a.m. on June 27.


On August 12th,

Sahiah “Uzi” Davis, a new member of the Wave Gang, was ordered to kill someone in her former crew, the Hood Starz, police told the Daily News.





Needless to say, the Hoodstarz didn't just pop up this summer. They have been around for a longtime and have a lot of entries on the internet's largest message board for gangs

Folks are welcome to add info to this thread as a result of personal knowledge or internet searches. In the event that we don't understand some of the terms used on Hoodup, we should utilize boards like this one:


  • My reading of the various media is that the Hoodstarz members claim an affinity for The Bloods. However, like most crews, they are largely autonomous fans.

    The present violence seems to be unrelated to their loose alliance with The Bloods, because their present opponents [the Waves/Fly Guys] also claim a similar affinity.

    ...the Hoodstarz and the Waves/Fly Guys are reportedly warring over the usual low-income teenage male nonsense: money, girls, and drugs.

    Such non-sense seems to cross racial and geographical lines.

  • Brownsville’s battling street gangs have been invited to a beef-squashing powwow later this month aimed at stopping the ongoing turf war and rising homicide count.


  • A study was recently done on NYC youth gangs in East Harlem,

    I suspect if a similar study was done on youth gangs in Brooklyn, similar results would be found....

  • While no one is The Authority on any neighborhood, I perceive this description of Brownsville and ENY as being pretty spot on:

  • Whynot, what will you do? Your favorite Brownsville gang is no more...?

  • Until a new youth gang rises to terrorize the streets of Brownsville and ENY, the local residents and I will breath a sigh of relief.

    l'll even hope that (against all odds) these kids somehow learn different ways to live while in prison or OCFS.

    ....anyone got a magic wand, and some rehabilitative services funding I could borrow? I'm gonna need both.

  • Upcoming discussion on attempts to quell crime "hotspots" before they reach the "Hoodstar" level:

    whynot_31 said:

  • An article in the NYT discusses the reactions of people who live in communities, such as Brownsville, to Brooklyn's rapid Change/Gentrification.

    I find it interesting that they do not discuss the crime rates that some of these communities have, and then link it to the "lack of gentrification".

  • I found parts of that article quite amusing as most of Emmons Ave in Sheepshead Bay / Gerritsen Beach has outdoor dining. Even the Applebee's has it. As for Brownsville not getting their fair share, well, many of the gangs "own" the housing projects on Linden Blvd. and the whole of Brownsville gets a bad rap for that. Back in the late 70s I lived in Starrett City and it was fantastic. Now, from what I hear, not so much. But, there were plenty of new housing units built near there and they weren't all for lower income families.

  • yes, the writer seemed unable to differentiate between more than two categories:

    "Wealthy Park Slope" and "Struggling Brownsville"

    They seemed unable to articulate the various degrees of wealth, education, safety, etc.

    ...surely those things relate to how one views neighborhoods like Park Slope that have undergone massive changes.

    Perhaps it was too big of a topic to attempt in 2000 words?

  • Personally I think any neighborhood can be turned around. But, it's the people who live there now that have to be the ones that want to do it. They can't always wait for outsiders to come in and spur the growth. I think the program (S.O.S.) that you work with is a fine example of that. The people who live here in Crown Heights and PLG want their neighborhood to be the best it can be. I think the people in Brownsville-ENY are still a little too apathetic. It's not just relatives of victims who have to be outraged, it's everyone.

  • Apathy plays a role, but there also needs to be some resources to build off. To build anything, tools are needed...

    ...we can't just expect people who are at the bottom of the social and financial hierarchy to be able to get organized and fix stuff: A strong non-profit, politician, or something needs to lead the way.

    Many of the strong non-profits fled Brownsville long ago.... the communities experience brain drain because folks who get an education often move away.

  • As for the smarter folks leaving, that's a pity. It shows they don't care enough to better the neighborhood that they grew up in. And as for the people being in the bottom of the financial food chain, so to speak, I always found it funny that where ever I go, those same people always have money for cigarettes and spray paint for graffiti.

  • PragmaticGuy said:

    As for the smarter folks leaving, that's a pity. It shows they don't care enough to better the neighborhood that they grew up in. And as for the people being in the bottom of the financial food chain, so to speak, I always found it funny that where ever I go, those same people always have money for cigarettes and spray paint for graffiti.

    PragmaticCuy, that's an awful harsh judgment. And I don't quite understand why its the responsibility of any individual to make return to a neighborhood simply because they grew up there.

    Supposedly what's going on in Brooklyn now is all about young people being able to move to new neighborhoods that they have no prior relationship to and bring their energy and perspective to building a better community. Why is this okay for young white kids, but black folks who have moved away to go to school must come back home and "fix" everything or they are somehow bad, uncaring, heartless people?

    Why can't they have the same motivations as others, i.e they move away to go to school and stay there, they move to where they can get a job, they move to where their boyfriend/girlfriend is, or they move to the place where they "always wanted to live"? I'd suggest that a lot of people that come from Brownsville and move to other parts of the city don't go back because its not convenient to live there if you work in anywhere in the city other than a portion of Queens, LI, or Brownsville/ENY.

  • homeowner-

    I totally agree: People should be able to live wherever they can afford, and want.

    Which leads me to think that the folks you mention may also be able to move from Brownsville/ENY because their credit scores are better than those that live there.

    It never ceases to amaze me how similar rents are in "ok" vs "bad" parts of the city. No matter how much one earns, credit scores seem to be a big influence on whether one can move to a "more desirable area".

    More Desirable Area: An areas with better transportation, neighbors, food options, less crime, and better public services (fire, sanitation, police, schools, libraries etc).

  • Of course one should be able to live anywhere they want. And why would you think that "young, white kids" would make a neighborhood better when "young, minority kids" can't do the same. And maybe as the eastern end of Brooklyn grows, and there are some very nice blocks there, the people with better credit scores and higher incomes will start moving there. Just like I did when I lived in Starrett City back in the late 70s.

  • I think we would all love for young minority kids who are seemingly lost to be as interested in neighborhood and self improvement as these .

    ...but, even with lots more resources, I make no promises.

    Part of accepting that many at-risk youth can be reached, is that many can not be.

  • Speaking of SOS....

  • whynot_31 said:

    Until a new youth gang rises to terrorize the streets of Brownsville and ENY, the local residents and I will breath a sigh of relief.

    I'll even hope that (against all odds) these kids somehow learn different ways to live while in prison or OCFS.

    ....anyone got a magic wand, and some rehabilitative services funding I could borrow? I'm gonna need both.

    As feared, those arrests didn't do much.

    Arrests are only part of addressing a problem, especially when the underlying social conditions remain the same.

  • The NY Post obtained a copy of the NYPD's list of youth gangs.

    Here is said list:

    Here is article about said list:

  • NYT wrote: A 17-year-old from Brooklyn who was wanted in the murder of a 13-year-old boy was arrested on Friday, the police said.

    The suspect, Akbar Johns, of Brownsville, was one of a group of about 20 youths who confronted a smaller group that included the 13-year-old, Ronald Wallace, just after midnight on Aug. 24, the police have said. The groups got into a dispute that the police said was gang-related and Ronald was shot in the back.

    Mr. Johns was arrested on charges of second-degree murder and weapons possession, the police said.

    NYNP wrote: The Resilience Advocacy Project (RAP) has launched a new awareness-raising campaign that highlights the myriad causes, and far-reaching consequences, of youth poverty. The campaign – What Really Causes Youth Poverty? - features two videos, which depict a young boy and a young girl each expressing their deepest thoughts about why they are poor. RAP, a youth advocacy organization working to empower youth to break cycles of poverty, drew the idea for the content of the videos from years of working with youth from the poorest communities in New York.

    Click here to see the video.

    “So many young people internalize what they see around them, and it makes them think they are flawed somehow,” says Brooke Richie-Babbage, founder and Executive Director of RAP. “We know that that’s not true. We know that poverty is perpetuated by failing schools, funding cuts for after school programs, a fragmented job training system, ineffective sexual education… But because we never have frank conversations about the link between these and poverty, young people are left to come to their own conclusions.”

    Youth poverty statistics are increasingly alarming. The 2010 Census found more young people in poverty now than at any point since the Census began its tracking, and in certain pockets of New York City – like the South Bronx and Central Brooklyn – close to 50% of children and teens are living in poverty. Over 250,000 teens in NYC are “disconnected” from school and work; Approximately 1 in 6 NYC teens is a teen parent, and almost 4 in 5 will be arrested before their 18th birthday. Only 21% of NYC 8th graders can read proficiently, and only 26% can do math proficiently.

    “We are largely silent as a society about the real causes of youth poverty,” says Meghan DiPerna, RAP’s Board Chair. “But how can we figure out real strategies to end poverty if we don’t really talk about its causes? RAP aims to figure out real strategies – this campaign is part of that effort. ”

    As the city heads into the final two months before the election, RAP aims to tap into the political and social conversations that are occurring more frequently concerning our country’s leadership and values. The ultimate aim of the campaign is to make the issue of youth poverty part of those conversations. The videos challenge viewers to ask themselves: What do I think are the real causes and consequences of youth poverty, and what role do I play in ending it? RAP will be collecting all of the comments and responses to the videos, and sending them – along with the videos – to the Obama and Romney campaign directors on October 6th – exactly one month before the election.

    “Now is the time to spark a real conversation about what we can do to end youth poverty," says Richie-Babbage. "We have to start by helping young people see just how much power they have to shape their own destinies, and by creating a society that provides real support for their efforts to move out of poverty.”

  • What we can do to end youth poverty.....uhh, how about the parents having a job instead of sitting around doing nothing. How about the parents making sure kids are in school and doing their homework so they can help themselves to get out of poverty. Throwing money at poor people doesn't break the cycle. What helps the most is parents giving a shit. Kids are poor because they're born into it or something happens to the family that changes financial matters. Kids are not poor because of genetics. So, ending youth poverty doesn't start with the kids, it starts with the parents.

  • While I think we (i.e. not their parents) can do a lot of constructive things to reduce the cycle of poverty, I think this statistic is exaggerated in the above article:

    almost 4 in 5 will be arrested before their 18th birthday


    Surely this statistic does not apply to NYC teenagers as a whole.

  • Funny thing, or maybe it's not so funny, years ago I got held up in my office at gunpoint. Three teens. Cops took me for a drive around to see if I could spot them. We passed a schoolyard where a bunch of kids were playing B-ball. Cop says to me..."pick any one of them. They'll all end up in jail anyhow." That was 1997. Maybe they knew something we don't.

  • Some teachers currently hold similar attitudes. a certain point, such attitudes become deterministic.

  • Kids will mirror the behavior they see. If a child is being raised by someone who never 1)lived in a stable home; 2)was parented by a stable adult; 3)was taught that school and education were important; 4)understood that making a living is different than bringing money home you'll get kids that have screwed up morals and displaced values.

    I heard the following two statistics from Rachel Lloyd, executive director of Girls Educational and Mentoring Service (GEMS), which is an organization devoted to helping teenages child sex workers get out of the life. These help frame how vast the problem is.

    * The estimated median age of entry into the commercial sex industry in New York City occurs between the ages of 12 and 14.

    * A 2007 study showed that 75 percent of sexually exploited and trafficked children in New York City were in foster care at some point.

    We talk about parents working and getting a job in that "Duh" way - like its a common thing. But what we fail to understand is that for many kids, the values we take for granted - working, education, and stable relationships are not seen as being important in their families. So how do you deal with those kids? Can you reprogram their parents at 24, 25, 26 or are they simply lost causes?

  • Attempts to reprogram the parents are usually done only once a child is in danger of entering the foster care system.

    Various preventive service (ie "home visits and mandated classes") programs are then implemented in order to keep the kids at home. Foster care is expensive. Foster care has miserable outcomes. Foster care is a political nightmare.

    As a result, the bias is toward keeping kids home, and/or in their own neighborhoods.

    ....12 - 14 year old girls in the neighborhoods and situations we are describing are very susceptible to the older man who tells her she is beautiful and gives her some $.

    ...many boys are susceptible to proving their manhood and earning some extra $ by entering the local drug trade.

  • The folks behind Crown Heights SOS (the Center for Court Innovation) have just been awarded a federal grant to begin a similar project in guessed it... Brownsville:

    Bklyn Eagle wrote: Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) Director Denise E. O’Donnell, speaking in Brooklyn on Tuesday, announced more than $11 million in awards to address neighborhood-level crime in 15 locations nationwide.

    The awards, administered through the department’s new Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) program, will target locations or neighborhoods with significant levels of crime.

    The announcement includes a $600,000 award to the Center for Court Innovation (CCI) for the Brownsville Anti-Violence Project. In addition to the Center for Court Innovation, this partnership organization is supported by the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, the New York City Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of New York, the New York State Department of Corrections, the Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District and the Brownsville Partnership.

    O’Donnell was joined by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta E. Lynch, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, and Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes.

    BCJI is a part of the Obama Administration’s larger Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative (NRI), which helps local and tribal communities develop community-oriented strategies to change neighborhoods of distress into neighborhoods of opportunity.

    “While overall crime rates have continued to decline nationwide, some neighborhoods have experienced troubling increases in specific types of criminal activity, which is why the department and our partners are providing additional resources to communities that need them the most,” said Attorney General Holder.

    Earlier this year, BJA awarded, through an agreement with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), $2 million in Public Safety Enhancement grants to HUD’s Choice Neighborhood grantees in Boston, Chicago, New Orleans and San Francisco.

    “In times of limited resources, community leaders need tools and information about crime trends in their jurisdiction and support to assess, plan and implement the most effective use of criminal justice resources to address priority crime issues,” said O’Donnell.

  • Wow Im so sorry I wasn't part of this thread earlier. Thanks for the insight whynot_31

  • I view the effort as kind of going to the "big leagues".

    Through SOS, CCI was able to prove it can engage high risk individuals in a pretty violent area (Eastern Crown Heights). Now, it has been awarded a similar contract for an even more violent area: Brownsville.

    A while ago, CCI received funding to begin a program in Harlem, but with city (not federal) funds.

    ...While all money is good, Federal funds tend to last longer than City funds.

  • A new program for Brownsville school age females involved in the criminal justice system:

    Bklyn DA Hynes Adds

    New "Back on Track" Program

    Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes today announced a new six-week program that will take place at his Back on Track center in Brownsville. FEMCHO is a health and educational program for girls, created in 2010 by Tina de Lemps, which helps boost body image and self-respect while maintaining physical fitness. FEMCHO will work with girls at the District Attorney's school program ReStart Academy at Back on Track.

    FEMCHO's core principles are Feminine, Energetic, Mindful, Cool, Healthy, and Original. It is a program designed to develop health and confidence for girls, teens and women. FEMCHO will offer their six-week session at their Back on Track location, starting on January 8. This special version of FEMCHO, called Girls at Risk, is based on the core principles of Foundation, Education, Mentoring, Challenges, Hopefulness, and Opportunity.

    "We are always looking for innovative ways to help our youth move forward, away from a life of crime," said Hynes. "It is important to reach these young girls at an early age. By providing them with a strong foundation, focusing on education and mentorship, these girls realize that they are not alone and learn how to cope. I am proud to collaborate with FEMCHO on such an influential program.”

    Tina de Lemps, Founder of FEMCHO said, "As I've worked with women, I began to notice that in spite of the enormous opportunities and options available to women today, they suffered from the same or worse self-esteem and body issues than I did 50 years ago. I believe that our program will be meaningful to the Project ReStart participants and I hope that the program will have a positive impact on their lives in some way. By the end of the program, the girls will learn how to overcome challenges and they will have the tools that they did not realize they had.”

    As part of the six-week session, the participants will dance, move and engage in fitness while discussing topics important to today's youth. Each week a facilitator will lead the girls through a particular aspect of the FEMCHO program, one of their core words. The facilitators will help to engage the girls in "Girl Talk”. The focus of the program will be helping the girls create the "best version of you”, asking them how can you be/do your best?

    Some of the activities during these sessions can include t-shirt making, poster making, or original choreography. Every class ends with each participant extending a compliment to one another.

    Back on Track is a juvenile justice initiative aimed at steering at-risk young people away from criminal activity. The program provides the help the wayward teens need to stay off the streets, stay out of jail and get Back On Track. It serves as a one-stop shop for Brownsville residents, ages seven to 21, who are chronically truant, involved with the criminal justice system, or considered at risk for dropping out of school. A full-time social worker works with the participants and their families to make sure they get the assistance they need. Services offered include parenting workshops, GED classes, computer and office skills training, vocational assistance, CDL and drivers' education, adult and continuing education, ESL, and access to medical, dental, and mental health services, and substance abuse treatment.

    ReStart Academy is the educational component of Back on Track, for students ages 13 to 16, who are in need of a school setting that encourages and enhances attendance and the quality of education for youth. These students have been truant and have been held back one or more times. The program provides assistance to help the students successfully pass their middle school exam, so they can qualify to enroll in high school. Services include full-time social workers, guidance counselors and mentors, who are available daily to assist students to overcome those personal issues that may impede their learning.

  • This article states Brownsville is merely the 3rd worst place to be a kid in NYC:

  • When you have complete breakdown in community, people tend to stay in their homes:

    -They are afraid of the crime, and plagued by all the problems that go hand in hand with poverty (drug use, diabetes, obesity, mental illness).

    This, of course, simply makes the situation for crime to replicate itself. ...those engaged in criminal activity tend not to be afraid of criminals, so they rule the streets and hallways.

    When too many people die and are injured by violence, the circumstances sometimes become "right". By this, I mean that the police are forced (or depending upon your perspective "finally given the resources and the go ahead by those in charge") to take action.

    Given the obstacles faced in areas such as Brownsville, such actions create gains that are often temporary in nature. As a result, many people view the efforts as being futile and/or being too fraught with political risks.

    In my view, a combination of "right circumstances" have led police to be very assertive over the two years, and contributed toward progress on street violence and crime.

    Here's a video put out by a partnership of the various non-profits and gov agencies that are trying to figure out what to do in an area that has so many entrenched, generational social problems.

    Their present strategy is:

    Step 1: Get people to leave their homes, so the gains from all of the resources and efforts put in place by law enforcement over the last year are not quickly lost.

  • those engaged in criminal activity tend not to be afraid of criminals, so they rule the streets and hallways

    The best deterrent to crime is the presence of police walking the beat. True, it may not be the most pleasant experience for the cops as it tends to be tiring. In fact, that's why cops were called "flat foot" or "gumshoes". But it does benefit society by keeping the hoods from making themselves visible.

    In the 20 years that I lived in East New York (a portion of which is now said to be part of Brownsville), I well recall how police where no where to be found when trouble took place. One day a hood committed a crime and was cornered by several people. A woman made a frantic call to the cops. Nobody came. She made another call. Nobody came. Then she got wise, made a third call and said a cop had been injured. In only about a minute 10 police cars appeared with the cops having their guns drawn. The lady lied because she knew it was the only way to get the cops to the scene. Thankfully nobody was injured and the hood was taken away.

    By contrast, I worked in Manhattan's down town area. Every where you went there were cops in every corner. Often they would be in groups chatting away about anything and everything under the sun. I often wondered, why the hell are they here when they should be patrolling the streets of ENY and Brownsville?? A friend of mine who was a cop said that while I was rightfully angry at this unjust employment of the police, they were only following orders. Therefore, the politicians should insure that police resources are properly distributed. Indeed, I don't blame the cops for their absence on the streets of Brooklyn. It is the pols who need to see to it that the communities get their share of protection and resources.

    Put the cops back on the beat - that will significantly reduce the crime problem.

  • 1. Policing downtown Manhattan has few political risks.

    2. The FAILURE to police downtown Manhattan has great political risk.

    Only under the right circumstances is EITHER statement true for Brownsville and ENY.

  • This article doesn't say that the police are using the initiatives described more as a result of the increased scrutiny on juvenille stop and frisk, but they report they are quite successful in modifying behavior:

  • 1. Policing downtown Manhattan has few political risks.

    2. The FAILURE to police downtown Manhattan has great political risk.

    Only under the right circumstances is EITHER statement true for Brownsville and ENY.

    Right you are. Cops kiss up to the politicians and the public be damned, sad to say.

  • Today, an article was published that depicts a few residents of NYCHA.

    I post it here because usually only the crime in these places makes the news. A complex picture of the lives of the residents rarely makes it into the dialogue.

  • Great article - thanx for sharing.

  • Geographically, this shooting between young gang members took place in a different part of Brooklyn:

    Socio-economically, it seems identical.

    Clearly, this is not about geography...

  • Likewise, this article about gang violence (and preventing it) in LA is quite relevant to the struggles and efforts here in Brooklyn. It is also a good read....

  • One way to improve your neighborhood is to improve how it is depicted. This causes people to do business there and leave their homes, which in turn causes them to "own the streets" as opposed to cower in fear inside.

    Here's a grassroots effort that is taking place on Pitkin Avenue, in Brownsville. In prior years, most of these businesses would have been closed on Halloween out of fear of crime:

  • edited December 2013

    In this article the police discuss a gang known as Addicted To Cash, and credit themselves with reducing the teenage murder rate:

    It would not surprise me if lots of other factors deserved credit for the decline as well as the work of the NYPD.

  • Addicted To Cash remains active:"The earlier shooting, outside a party in Brownsville on Dec. 31, left five male teenagers with gunshot wounds to their legs and feet, the police said. Detectives believe three of the victims in that shooting — two 16-year-olds and an 18-year-old — were associates of a crew, Addicted to Cash, that has been the target of multiple police investigations and an extensive gang takedown. “That was a gang rivalry,” Mr. Herbert said. No arrests have been made, the police said."
  • A story in a picture?
  • This week, the Wave Gang and The Hoodstarz made NY Mag:

    I do wonder what goes thru the minds of the "average" reader of NY Mag when they read the above piece. it like reading about a completely foreign land?
  • Let us not forget, these young people live in Brownsville too;
This discussion has been closed.