(Curtis, far right, dozes off while listening to Bob Klapisch, center, ramble on about how much he paid for Chain Gang’s “Son Of Sam” b/w “Gary Gilmore And The Island Of Dr Moreau” 7″)
With NYC’s 5 boroughs far safer than during the heyday of the Guardian Angels, Curtis Sliwa’s vigilante-with-goofy-uniforms have a new approach in the modern age, writes Newsday’s Justin Rocket Silverman.
In a city of strikingly low crime rates, where rough streets such as 103rd in Corona are increasingly rare, the Angels have been forced to redefine the nature of their work as the citizen protectors of the helpless.
“The patrols we have now are more focused and targeted on certain problem areas,” said Curtis Sliwa, who at 25 started the Guardian Angels while working as a night manager at a McDonald’s in the Bronx. “We are also given more things to do as role models and mentors instead of physical interventions in the streets.”
Now also working as mentors, the Angels run after-school centers that combine academic tutoring with martial-arts training. Some Angels teach college courses on violence prevention for public-school teachers.
“We can add a lot of street energy to what is normally very clinical classwork,” Sliwa said. “We make it hip, we make it happening and we make it cool to use the Guardian Angels philosophy in dealing with these problems.”