Sol Yurick, 1925-2013

“While working with poor families, he encountered children who were members of street gangs. He found it impossible to talk to them directly about gang life; they would tell him only what they believed he wanted to hear. A rented panel truck gave him a way to observe them secretly. He walked the streets where the gangs ruled, and once went on foot through the subway tunnel between 96th Street and 110th Street. It was a scary experience. He wanted to show that street gangs, universally seen as a symptom of social dysfunctionality, gave to the poor a structure of loyalty and a sense of community. They were neither sick, nor bad, only poor.”
 — Brooklyn author Sol Yurick, who turned his experiences at the NYC welfare department into a 1965 novel, The Warriors, that Walter Hill would turn into a movie that would turn into a cornerstone of hip-hop, died Saturday of lung cancer. Put three beer bottles on your fingers and clink them in his memory.