Back at Home
After skidding into home plate—arriving back in Philly—I was notified the next day that my homeboy had just arrived back in town. According to Doddle, after they nabbed him, the NYPD escorted him to the bus terminal and threatened him jail time if he was ever caught back in town. I asked Doddle about a Band-Aid on his cheek and knots on his head. He said, “The cops started wailing on him during questioning.” I replied, “I’ve told you before about your temper.”
Meanwhile, I asked mom if she had received the letter I had sent to her while I was in Gotham. I had written the following: “Mom, I’m in New York City, and I’m doing fine. I’ve found a job with a company that has me installing TV antennas on top of tall buildings. See you soon. Love, Sonny.” Mom said that she knew it was a bunch of hooey. I was so surprised how easily she had peeped my shuck and jive.
Prior to the Capeman story, natives of Gotham tended to accept guys wearing capes as if they were fictional action heroes—similar to Batman and Robin. Then after the tragedy, everyone kept their distance from any guy clothing a cape. A decade later, producers of the movie The Out-of-Towners made humor of an umbrella and cape man. These unsavory characters were portrayed as operating in the same neighborhood—65th and Central Park West.
The musician, Paul Simon, has a passion for Afro-Caribbean music the same as I. This is revealed in the following statements taken from his website The Story of the Capeman:
The Story of Capeman comes from a sensational 1959 news story in New York City. Late one night on August 30 of that year, a teenage gang from the upper West Side called the Vampires went searching for the Norsemen, an Irish gang from Hell’s Kitchen. They came upon a group of teenagers who weren’t affiliated with any gang, but happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. During the rumble, 16-year old Salvador Agron stabbed to death two of these bystanders and fled. He was described by the other kids in the park as a tall Puerto Rican kid, wearing a black cape with a red lining—hence the name “The Capeman.” His associate, Tony Hernandez, who allegedly wielded an umbrella during the fight, became known as “The Umbrella Man.” [(aka “Dracula.”)].
A Broadway musical version of “The Capeman” adapted by Simon and Nobel prize winning author Derek Walcott opened January 1998.
Members of the Vampire gang were also once affiliated with the Mau Maus, formerly lead by Nicky Cruz, now a notable Christian of the film The Cross and the Switchblade. See Mau Maus documented on Wikipedia.