Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Hells Angels have left the East Village


[Photo yesterday via EVG reader Erin S.]

The last of the members of the Hells Angels who lived in their clubhouse at 77 E. Third St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue have moved out.

By yesterday, the Hells Angels logos had been removed from the building's exterior ... and the front door — featuring flaming skulls and a pitchfork-wielding, helmeted-winged demon — had been painted over.

Also gone: The plaque in memory of Big Vinny inscribed "When in doubt knock 'em out." (In 1978, according to published reports, Hells Angel Vincent "Big Vinny" Girolamo was arrested after throwing his girlfriend, Mary Ann Campbell, from the roof of No. 77 to her death. He reportedly died as the result of a knife fight the following year.)


[Image via Wikipedia Commons]

As first reported here in February, there's a Memorandum of Contract (the form preceding a contract of sale) dated this past Dec. 21 between Church of the Angels, Inc. (aka — The Church of Angels) and 77 East 3rd LLC ...



The document was signed by Bartley J. Dowling, president of the NYC Hells Angels chapter, and the purchaser, Nathan Blatter of Whitestone Realty Group.

In a cover story published Sunday at the Post, Blatter said that a deal hasn't been finalized yet. The units in the building are expected to hit the market as rentals.

The Hells Angels have had a presence in 77 E. Third St. since 1969. They eventually bought the six-floor building, which included their clubhouse and member residences (Realtor.com lists 14 units), from Birdie Ruderman in the Bronx for a reported $1,900. The deed on file with the city from November 1977 shows the then-dilapidated building changed hands for $10...



In 1983, chapter president Sandy Alexander took over ownership of the building. The deed from that time states that Alexander, his wife Collette and their family could live on the premises rent free. In addition, in the event that the building was sold, she would stand to receive half of the proceeds.

This agreement was later the basis for a legal tussle in 2013 between the clubhouse and Alexander's family. (Sandy Alexander, who spent six years in prison for dealing cocaine, died in 2007.) That deed was eventually reversed in April 2018, per public documents.



So why now for the Angels to move away? A member named Tony told the Post: "We're being harassed by the yuppies down here [who are] sitting on our bikes and pissing on the sidewalk."

And: "When the neighborhood was s–t, nobody minded us because we kept the place clean. It comes a point where it’s useless to be down here because of the harassment. [We want to] go somewhere we can live comfortably."

The yuppies have apparently been a problem dating to 1987, as this People magazine article from that year shows...



Some excerpts from the article, dated Sept. 7, 1987:

Across the street from the Angels’ clubhouse a banner touting co-ops for sale flaps in the fetid breeze. A partial rehab, featuring a fresh coat of tan paint over a soot-blackened facade, has transformed a sagging old apartment building into trendy housing for the affluent young. You might think that a beer can’s throw away from the lair of a notorious band of bikers would be a less-than-desirable homesite — and you would be right. That’s why a dark, airless, 400-square-foot, one-room apartment there can be had for only $68,000 (plus $388 a month maintenance), about half the going rate in the city’s tonier precincts.

The Angels ... view the neighborhood’s sudden ascension with mixed feelings. "We’ve moved up in social class without leaving the block," jokes chapter president Brendan Manning. But his smile can’t hide that tinge of resentment common to an area’s old families when the nouveaux riches arrive. As his biker buddy Butch Garcia notes, "We always kept this block clean when it was a ghetto, a slum. Now the rich people moved in and everybody’s trying to keep it clean."

Manning, 31, who lives in an apartment above the clubhouse, as do a number of Angels and their families, anticipates no trouble with the new upscale neighbors. "If they don’t bother us, we can deal with them," he says. "As long as they don’t complain and don’t call the cops and" — his barbarically handsome face grows stern — "don’t hit our motorcycles." He vows with a resolve as ineradicable as his tattoos that, even if the clubhouse becomes an island of sweaty denim in a sea of pin-striped wool, there will always be the Angels: "We were here first. We’re not gonna change. We don’t change for nobody. If they can’t handle it, they can move."

In 2009, the Angels started having issues with hostel guests from next door sitting on their bench. You may recall that episode here.

In recent years, there were other territorial issues involving parking spaces and their orange cones. In 2016, there was a reported shooting over a parking spot outside the clubhouse. And in late December, a deliveryman was allegedly sucker punched by a member when he parked his car in front of motorcycles outside the clubhouse.

No word yet on where the members may relocate. According to the Sunday Post: "The gang hopes to relocate to a neighborhood where they won’t be bothered by Starbucks traffic, pushy tourists and nosy cops." As Giovanni noted in the comments on Sunday: "I sincerely hope they enjoy their new home in Wyoming."

37 comments:

Giovanni said...

I think I just found the Hells Angels a new home on Trulia.com where they won’t ever be bothered by loud Yuppies, aggressive food delivery men or pesky AirBnB tourists anymore. And as luck would have it, there’s a neighborhood in Cheyenne, Wyoming with a name that will make them feel right at home: Hellman Heights! Via Trulia:

3012 Thomes Ave
Cheyenne, WY 82001

Don''t miss this 5 bedroom home located in Hellman Heights! The main floor features a large living room with hard wood floors, and a fireplace! There are 3 bedrooms on the main level and 2 more in the basement along with a spacious family room! There is a bonus room in the attic and a 1/2 bath. 1 car attached garage and a fenced backyard!

The price is right at $199,900, which works out to an estimated monthly payment: $1,015/mo. Since it comes with a garage they won’t ever have any more parking problems. The closest Starbucks is about 5 miles away. And traffic is non-existent. Enjoy Wyoming, Hells Angels, and don’t forget to write!

T. Faneuff said...

Thank you for remembering Mary Ann Campbell.

B Ferrari said...

Call me crazy but I have mixed feelings about the nostalgia for the plaque honoring the POS that threw his girlfriend off the roof.

Donnie Moder said...

Whenever I found myself on that block, I walked down the sidewalk on the other side of the street. I thought the reserving parking with cones was bs. But they are a gang and I just stayed clear.

Donnie Moder said...

I will miss that sense of danger and grittiness their presence created in my mind, but I think we are better off.

Unknown said...

I loved having them on the block,I lived in building #80,in the 60's.I remember the HA arriving on the block. They did clean up the block of drug addicts and thiefs breaking in the apts when ppl went to work. They treated ppl fairly, I remember the block parties on the 4th of July. My dad was in one of the short films of the HA.I have family still living there. I will always remember the HA ,there part of my youth and more ,I'm now 61. HA for ever in my heart..

tarakyan said...

When I was a teen female in the Village, I used to walk by that block regularly. I received an escort from the Angels more than once, making sure I arrived safely at my destination and they were as polite and respectful as could be. I cannot imagine that neighborhood without them.

noble neolani said...

what's next the crows at the tower of London?

Melba LaRose said...

I lived on St. Mark's back in the day and the Angels were always good to me and protective.

afbp said...

NEVER/STILL DO NOT understand how ANYONE will miss a bunch of useless thugs that promote female trafficking and drugs---just listen to yourselves :(

Jim Carrol said...

Dont let the cell door hit you on the way out..

ev resident said...

unknown--are you aware the block parties stopped because the HA accidentally killed a young boy by putting fireworks in a garbage can.

Pet Danforth said...

"Such great guys....". Beatings, ahootings, deaths, involvement in organized crime, prostitution, racketeering, drugs, noise, bullying... Why the fuck would anyone miss them?!

Biff Thuringer said...

I lived right across the street for a few years, in the apartment above a ganja supermarket run by West Indians. I've got a dozen stories about our neighborly interactions, which were unavoidable. It was like living across the street from The Punisher. Entertaining, and often dangerous, for somebody or other. I made my peace with them early. Here's a podcast with a little snippet from that time from a book I wrote: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zS3YqUGO1t4&fbclid=IwAR2bIpMlQ6eXL4YSyGQawkBsEnZuOKRzsqQngOSlD1zq1uCHxDTAawRA2S0

Unknown said...

I the prohibition of drugs and prostitution have worked so well and done wonders for America. ( Some people will believe anything and continue failed policies in perpetuity. Sorry if everyone doesn’t share in your puritanical American buricratic failures. The only market more abusive than the black market are all corporate markets endorsed by our Kleptocracy. I’ll take HA over GOP any day.)

Syndicalist said...

Back in the day, I'd just respectfully walk by, maybe glance at a bike or two or just walk looking at my feet

Unknown said...

This first commenter is still hurting over Election Night 🤣

Scuba Diva said...

People in Little Italy have the same nostalgia for how clean and orderly things were when the Mafia ruled their neighborhood. I always kept my distance from the Angels and kept walking, but they were a fact of life, a presence on the block.

I'll miss them like a case of the clap.

bilbo bagginski said...

End of an era. I lived above The Edge for a while. Never had a problem with ha. Too bad that the city's changed into a playground for the super rich. Zero cukture, everything sterile and devoid of soul.

Unknown said...

I lived at 87 East 3rd St from 1979-2003. I was there for Big Vinny's funeral and the memorial that was spray painted on the abandoned building across from the club house. I got along just fine with guys despite their reputation, and they kept the street safe and were good to the people on the block. Yet another part of the fabric of the history of NYC (for good or ill) goes away.

Gojira said...

@ev resident, in actuality a young boy lost a hand, not his life, during one of the HA's legendary Fourth of July block parties, where it was common practice for them to throw lit firecrackers in garbage cans; at one of the fests in the early 1980s an M-80 didn't go off so the kid reached in to grab it, and it was at that point that it blew up. But he survived.

And whether pro- or anti-HA, I think we can all agree that this is definitely the end of a more colorful era in EV history...

Anonymous said...

https://www.nytimes.com/1990/07/06/nyregion/youth-14-dies-after-fireworks-explode-in-can.html

Biff Thuringer said...

I wouldn't call what I'm feeling on reliving these experiences anything approaching "nostalgia." It was memorable, though. Just after I moved into the apartment across the street, on the first floor above a West Indian ganja market disguised as a religious candle store, I made an inadvertent early peace with them. This was the result of a harrowingly successful night being drafted as a pool partner to one of the scarier gang members, at the bar down the street. Luckily I was on fire, playing the game of my life and winning for us. We were "pals" forever after that, although I still kept my distance, when possible. For the rest of my stay on E 3rd I had a reserved parking spot for my car or van, when I had one, and was aided by the Angels, sometimes violently, in any disputes that arose.
For instance, one of them once threatened and assaulted the vehicle of a Middle Eastern cab driver who was blocking my ex girlfriend's car, potentially making her late for work. The Angel recruit was manning the orange cones, administering parking as usual. Low man on the totem pole ... probably not "made" yet. He always had a big claw hammer hanging off a loop in his pants. The cabbie was refusing to move. Dude noticed, came over and pulled the hammer out. Waved it and said, "move the f***ing cab!!" Cabbie refused. Bashed in both taillights, both headlights, then waved the hammer at the poor guy's windshield in front of his face. He tore away, and my ex got to work on time. Neighbor helping neighbor. I said "thanks" and went back inside.

Jax said...

No, not just his hand. Angar Hussan. He was a fourteen year-old boy and he lost his life. 1990. You can look it up. I remember it well. There was a street mural dedicated to him painted on the front of the building where it happened for a few years afterward. Three others were also injured. Two of the club members were charged with second-degree murder months later. Not sure of the outcome.

Biff Thuringer said...

Anyway, if any of you are jonesing for a bigger taste of lovably shitty old lower Manhattan, including E 3rd St., before its transformation into a Eurotrash shopping mall, there's plenty of that in the first half of a book I crapped out in the six months after 9/11 and just published this year. It's called "Wasted: A Story of Love Gone Toxic," by Biff Thuringer. It's paperback on demand, on IndieBound.org and all the horrible bookstore-killing other platforms you can think of. Here's a good review, which explains things better than I can: https://hudsonvalleyone.com/2019/03/07/from-9-11-to-hudson-valley-brownfields-in-biff-thuringers-wasted-a-story-of-love-gone-toxic/

Anonymous said...

Sad whenever anyone feels harassed or disrespected in their own neighborhood. NYC people are so mean these days, I don't blame the HA for moving. I hope to move out of here soon too! It's so stressful.

Charlie said...

the yuppies and the rich are still working, now they want to take out the minorities in Alphabet city Smh ..Culture Vultures at its best

Anonymous said...

I guess it’s nice when the Hells Angels are beating people up on your behalf, but it’s not so nice when you’re the one on the receiving end of their murderous, drug dealing crime syndicate. There is no denying they have ruined, and ended, many lives.

The facts:

The New York Times
Youth, 14, Dies After Fireworks Explode in Can
By RICHARD D. LYONS
JULY 6, 1990

A 14-year-old Bengali youth who had come to New York City a few months ago died yesterday, one day after he was hit by metal shards while watching firecrackers being set off at a Fourth of July block party sponsored by the Hell's Angels, the police said.

The boy, Angar Hussan, was struck in the throat by a flying piece of metal when a steel garbage can exploded outside the Hell's Angels clubhouse on East Third Street, between First and Second Avenue, in the East Village, the police said. The motorcycle club sponsors the party annually, neighbors said.

Three other bystanders were injured, two seriously, the police said.


2 Hell's Angels Are Charged In Death of 14-Year-Old Boy
October 23, 1990
The New York Times

Two members of the Hell's Angels motorcycle club were charged with second-degree murder yesterday in the death of a 14-year-old boy during an explosion on the Fourth of July, the police said.

The men, John Tannuzzo, 31, of 77 East Third Street in Manhattan, and Anthony Morabito, 42, of Lowell, Mass., were arrested Sunday and charged yesterday, a police spokeswoman, Sgt. Tina Mohrmann, said.

The youth, Angar Hussan, died after being hit in the throat by pieces of flying metal after someone detonated explosives in a steel garbage can near the group's clubhouse on East Third Street.

Anonymous said...

the hells angels motorcycle club will be sorly missed ,they are like the statue of liberty in that city ,a icon ,all the best to the nyc crew in there move much respect

Sarah said...

Yeah, let's not forget Mary Ann Campbell. They sure weren't protecting her.

Anonymous said...

So the relentless gentrification of the East Village/Lower East Side was finally able to do what the NYPD, FBI and District Attorney's offices were unable to do after years of investigations and prosecutions. Incredible.

Anonymous said...

Remembered

Anonymous said...

So, ironically, the gang members are now all turned into yuppies as they split $10MM

Anonymous said...

I've lived near the bikers for 40 years. They have repeatedly proven themselves to be a violent and dangerous criminal gang not to mention the meanest of bullies. Romanticizing them is incomprehensible. Will the Trump gang be remembered fondly some day? The pity is they made out like bandits selling the building thanks to the gentrification they claim to scorn. One of their many monikers was "The Filthy Few" -indeed. Or like one of their silly hotrods had painted on it - "Hell Bound"
I hope so.

Anonymous said...

My few interactions with the Angels was always positive. They treated me with respect and protection from other bullies and all without violence!! I cannot speak for other people. I treated them with respect and received the same. 🤔

Anonymous said...

Good riddance to this bunch of insecure, violence-seeking a$$hole bullies. THEY were harassed? Yeah right. Boo hoo. Hell is where they indeed belong. Buh-bye!

Grumpy old bastard said...

Would work if they were not part of the New York Charter