The Crew



As a New Yorker this seemed like no big deal to me. Ethnic diversity was just a part of growing up.  While most of us have moved on and some of us are dead, the hardcore center of The Crew are still alive and keep in contact.

Growing up in New York AKA The Melting Pot is a blessing.

I heard a comedian once say New York is no melting pot it’s a salad.  Comedians may be the best philosophers we have in the modern world.  You have a chunk of tomato here, cucumber there, a bunch of lettuce and some onions.  After all, in this picture you have Spanish, African, Irish, Italian, Puerto Rican and god knows what else. New York is a salad. It’s segregated and integrated at the same time.  We are all different but we mix well with each other.

I have friends of every ethnic and religious background, and I have dated women from every ethnic and religious background.  In the words of Larry David “I go anywhere from, like, albino to, you know, Heart of Darkness Africa black.”  Both friends and lovers have never been judged by me for anything other than what is in their heart.  Although when it comes to women I am an ass and leg man.

See we have more in common than we don’t.  Do not get me wrong I am not trying to sell you that crap concept the we are one race, the human race.  The facts are we all love and our proud of our race/ethnic background and we should be.  We have so much to learn from each other and plenty of common ground to work with, without having to give up our individualism.

Being Irish Catholic, I grew up with a tribal violent mentality.  After all, it was that mentality that helped the Irish keep their own traditions while the English were taking over the world. The Irish are just across the sea from the English and for 800 years “we” fought to hold on to what we are.  My Grandma had a bumper sticker on her car that read “Human Rights for Northern Ireland”.  Her family was a part of  the IRA and it cost them dearly. I was reminded daily about oppression and the need to stand up for what you believe in.

Out of all the guys in The Crew, I was the brawler.  Growing up right down the block from a black neighborhood I was often targeted for being white.  It was the same thing with my friends who crossed into my neck of the woods.  But that is what we all had in common; we didn’t give a fuck what others thought of us no matter where we were.  It was our friendship that mattered not the color of our skin, religious background or sexual orientation.

Being a good fighter has nothing to do with the color of your skin.  It’s a skill you learn. I had three older brothers and a father that was special forces.  I learned to lead with my left by kindergarten. My brothers kept me in training with beat downs and by backing me up on the streets.  But as a white guy hanging out in a black neighborhood I was often judged as being soft because of my skin color. Those who judged this book by it’s cover learned the hard way that I had a ruthless right.

My dad loves this saying “Where your rights end, mine begin”.  I love that concept as well.  What I picture when I hear those words are people stretching out their arms with just their fingers tips touching. Individual links forming one chain. Each person holding onto what makes them unique but respecting the views and rights of others.  The world could learn a lot from New York and a little gang of guys from the 80’s known as The Crew.

As I grow older, I realize violence isn’t the answer, but I also know that it’s tough to find common ground when all you see is your side of the tracks.  Open your eyes people and seek out those that seem different from you.  You may find out that you have more in common than you realize.  It’s a belief worth fighting for.


*Picture copyrights Eddie Rodriguez









13 thoughts on “The Crew

    1. Rochelle,
      There nothing to thank me for. I should be thanking you. After writing my 100 word story this week and reading the comments I started thinking about perceptions people have and why some people were having a hard time understanding my characters having a friendship. It made me realize that not everyone in the world is socialized the way New Yorkers are and that it’s kind of a shame. Not that New Yorkers are any better than anyone else….So I thank you.

  1. Awesome Tom! Its been almost 19 yrs since I lived in NY. no matter where I am or where I live. New York is always home.

    Thank you. Tom

    1. Eddie,
      Glad you like it and being one of the hardcore members of the crew it great seeing you on the blog or any where else. I hope I did us some justice…


  2. As a latecomer to the “crew” I can still relate to everything you said. It was no different in my neighborhood, which was just a town away from yours! I feel extremely blessed to have grown up during those times when we actually had more freedom and less cares!

    Just like the sun….the rainbow children rise!

    1. Trina,
      First off thanks for reading and taking the time to post a comment. I think we ran wild back then because the world was not so instant and in your face. Children were on the streets and not in their house playing war games. Mass murders were not on the news. Life was more personal and the good and bad of things were a shared experience.
      Can’t wait to see you again when you are in New York. I am sure it will be soon.
      Let us hope as we rise we make this world a better place.


    1. Kent,
      I rambled this off after a few comments I received on 100 word story last week. Nothing bad about the comments but my wheels started turning. I am glad you liked the story and took the time out to comment. Thanks!

  3. Being from the south our town was just black and white. But I definetly feel you on The Crew…just friends, no color. I love the comedian reference to NY being salad. I agree about comedians..they are watchers of people and see things that most don’t see in society. Thanks for guiding me here. I enjoyed it. I’ll write more on this subject. Its important to me.

  4. I live in Africa, where the locals are all black, so we now discriminate against each other based on tribe.
    I think the whole thing is based on fear and ignorance, which feeds upon itself. Just my though.

    1. Abraham,
      I come from Irish blood and we are as tribal as the next race and the one after that…Irish names are clan based and for hundred of years we fought each other. Fear and ignorance is a problem with people all around the world, it seems to be a universal law to fear your neighbor…It’s sad. Thanks for reading and keep up the good fight. As the Irish say “When you are right, you have not right to fear”.

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