Buffalo Hoods

Map and Story of the Buffalo Gangs and the city’s East Side

While a few are familiar with the past narratives of Buffalo gangs on the East Side streets, including tales of the GoodYear Crew, Sly Green and the L.A. Boys, and the vintage Juice Crew and Bailey Style Posse. It is noteworthy that gang activity and local cliques in Buffalo emerged in the late 1950s and saw significant expansion in the 1970s.

Buffalos’ early gang scene was dominated by groups such as the Matadors, Mad Dogs, and Manhattan Lovers, which together created the formidable 3M Nation, considered the largest conglomerate in the city. Alongside 3M Nation, the Pythons also held sway, dividing into factions across the Cold Springs area and within the Talbert and Ellicott Mall housing projects, as well as Lamp City and Allahturks, amid the numerous other gangs that peppered the East Side’s Buffalo hoods.^

Old school Buffalo gangs were much different from the gangs, cliques, and neighborhoods of the 1990s and 2000s. Gangs of previous eras and generations were less violent and had little to no affiliations with the finances of the streets, as there was more a community pride than the mindset of modern day gangs.

Entering into the late 1980s and 1990s the streets saw a major transition as an uptick in violence in the community due to the introduction of narcotics into the community. During this period, people like Sly Green and the rest of his crew, who were often labeled as the L.A. Boys, were a major influence in the streets of the East Side. Sly Green’s reign would only last until the mid-1990s as federal indictments led to his incarceration.

The L.A. Boys might have had a presence all over Buffalo, but the East Side was notorious for its own infamous blocks, including Goodyear, which was once ruled by the Goodyear Crew. Following the apprehension of the L.A. Boys, the Goodyear Crew stepped up to fill the power vacuum. Amidst famed locales such as Montana Bridge (Montana Avenue), they emerged as Buffalo’s new reigning force. Nevertheless, their reign was brief, ending in ’95 due to a string of indictments and arrests that dismantled their operations.

Map of Buffalo Hoods

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Breakdown of Buffalo Hoods

Initially confined to a modest section centered on William Street, the East Side served as a hub for Buffalo’s black residents. Over time, the boundaries of this community gradually stretched into neighboring areas such as the Fruitbelt and Cold Springs, which are centered around Jefferson Avenue.

With the original inhabitants dispersing from Buffalo’s East Side, this neighborhood transformed into the core of the city’s urban demographic. Despite having an African American presence since Buffalo’s beginning, it wasn’t until the Great Migration, spanning from the 1920s to the 1960s, that a significant influx of African Americans from the South settled in the city.

At first, Buffalo was a relatively inclusive where segregation was uncommon, allowing people of different races to live and work side by side. But as the influx of newcomers increased through family ties and employment opportunities, attitudes toward African-Americans took a turn. They soon faced increasing discrimination and restrictive practices that confined where they could reside.

In response to the widespread distress caused by the Great Depression in the 1930s, the U.S. government instituted the New Deal, leading to the establishment of public housing. In Buffalo this included Kenfield, Perry, Lakeview, and Willert Park. As part of urban renewal in the 1960s, Buffalo built several high-rises, Kensington Heights, Ellicott Mall, and Talbert Mall.

The establishment of the Ellicott and Talbert Malls helped change the East Side’s landscape, situated between Michigan and Jefferson Avenues, relocating of hundreds of community members.

Further Readings and Resources:

^Crockett, Sherman. “Cover Your Father’s Nakedness: Forgiving the Father Who Forsook You“- Volume 1.  Xulon Press.

*Williams, Lillian Serece. “Strangers in the Land of Paradise“. Indiana University Press. 1999.

Buffalo East Side Related Topics:

1 Map of New York City Gangs & Hoods

2 Top Upstate New York Rappers

3 Map of Syracuse, NY Hoods

Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research.  Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

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