The Bowery Boys / Los Chicos del Bowery

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

I FOUND THE above photo of my father and some of his friends and it made me laugh. What a crew. They remind me of the Bowery Boys (aka, the Dead End Kids and the Eastside Kids), a group of New York City film characters originating in the late 1930s and running through the 1950s.

The Bowery is the oldest street in Manhattan and was a Native American footpath before the Dutch settled the area in 1626. It’s also the name of the surrounding neighborhood on New York’s Lower East Side. I had an uncle who had a bar there, inherited from his father in the 1940s. It had already seen better days. Although I really don’t know what better days ever looked like on The Bowery.

My father labeled the photo:
My father (Dave), top left, wasn’t yet 18.


ENCONTRÉ LA FOTO de arriba de mi padre y algunos de sus amigos y me hizo reír. Qué tripulación. Me recuerdan a los Bowery Boys (también conocidos como East Side Kids y Dead End Kids), un grupo de personajes de las películas de la ciudad de Nueva York que se originaron a finales de los años 1930 y se prolongaron hasta la década de 1950.

El Bowery es la calle más antigua de Manhattan y fue un sendero nativo americano antes de que los holandeses se establecieran el área en 1626. También es el nombre del vecindario que rodea el Lower East Side de Nueva York. Tuve un tío que tenía un bar allí, heredado de su padre en la década de 1940. Ya había visto días mejores. Aunque realmente no sé qué días mejores se han visto en The Bowery.

Mi padre etiquetó la foto:
Mi padre (Dave), arriba a la izquierda, aún no tenía 18 años.

The real Bowery Boys from the movies.
Los Bowery Boys reales de las peliculas.

My mother used to sing me this song!
¡Mi madre solía cantarme esta canción!

El Bowery! el Bowery!
Dicen tales cosas y hacen cosas extrañas.
En el Bowery! El Bowery!
Nunca más iré allí

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

31 thoughts on “The Bowery Boys / Los Chicos del Bowery”

  1. Your father and friends look older than they are……such characters! bet they had a pile of fun!!

    1. Jim:
      Yeah. About 2 years older to be exact. I thought I could add! That was 2 months before his EIGHTEENTH birthday!

  2. Why is it that people never look the age one would expect. I always am surprised.

    1. Ron:
      Because I added wrong! That was before his 18th birthday (NOT his 16th)!!!

  3. Imagine what life would be like in those times, war going on just about to end, probably rare that a gang of friends like that survived without some casualties – maybe they were just young enough to avoid all that

    1. Cheapchick:
      My father enlisted not long after that and experienced… at the ripe old age of 18! He was in the middle of some of the worst of it in Germany in the final years. He loved the Army and reenlisted. Wanted to make a career of it, but my mother said no. The Dowager Duchess was not cut out to be an army wife. I even have letters from senior officers trying to convince my mother of the promising future he had as an officer. No dice.

  4. I think it is the sepia tones (sounds like a doo wop group) and cigarettes that make them look even older than 18. What’s up with your father? He couldn’t get a cool nickname like Skull or Ack? I love these kinds of pictures. I make up stories in my head.

    1. Deedles:
      Actually, he DID have a nickname, although I don’t know if he would have called it cool. His name was Mousy, because he was short and dark and could climb up the schoolyard fence like a mouse. The name stuck until probably his late teens, when he grew a few more inches and muscled up a lot. Then it was Davey and everyone wanted to look like him.

    1. Mistress Maddie:
      I looked it up and, yes, that’s absolutely the same neighborhood. I wish I could remember the address of my uncle’s bar. Wouldn’t it be amazing if it was the same place? From childhood memories, the location and look is similar (and the building is old enough) but that’s probably the case for any old bar on the Bowery. I’ve got to call my one surviving aunt, so I’ll ask her. She should know the address!

  5. I do so love these photos… the Dead End Kids started out in the play Dead End as a rather frightening bunch of kids headed for a live of crime… they eventual became the Bowery Boys which as I recall we enjoyed in shorts at Saturday matinees at the local cinema.

    1. Debra:
      I agree. So grateful to have so many. I wish I had copies of my mother’s parents’ photos. I’ve been told one of my cousins took them when they died. I might have to bite the bullet and ask if she can scan some to share!

  6. Uptown got its hustlers, the Bowery got its bums… or in this case, Skull, Ack, Pino, Fisher, and Tabrisky. And you don’t mess around with Dave.

    1. Shades of Jim Croce, I love this! I’ll be humming it all day (nobody wants to hear me sing).

    2. Walt the Fourth:
      I loved the photo when I spotted it, but the caption made it so much better. Classic. And, yes, you do gotta love the name Tabrisky. I wonder if Ack was short for Ackerman!

  7. Photographs tell the stories of times long past, how lucky we are to have them

  8. You are so lucky to have old photos the tell the story of your family. This one is a keeper.
    All my photos were burned in a wildfire along with the few small family pieces handed down.

    1. Urspo:
      I didn’t know any of the guys in the photo, but my father had another large set of friends he grew up with (my mother, too) and they remained friends my father’s entire life. They even had a group they called The Friends Club that had a monthly party at someone’s home among other regular events. My mother broke ties with them after he died (and blamed them)!

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