Ralphies Kids on St.Johns Place and Utica Ave. Crown Heights, Brooklyn NYC.
In the mid to late 80's a group of teens in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, New York joined forces to form a collective group of shoplifters that targeted the high end luxury brand Polo by Ralph Lauren. The teens took on the name "Ralphies Kids" to show their devotion and love for the clothing company that painted a picture of upper echelon WASP living. A majority of the Ralphies Kids lived and hung out on the corner streets of St.Johns Place and Utica Avenue (Where the above picture was taken) and were one of the earliest boosting clicks to brand and market themselves on the streets of Brooklyn while incorporating Polo by Ralph Lauren as their main uniform of choice.
Ralphies Kids on a bus trip outta state.
It wasn't meant for these two worlds to cross paths but out of necessity for the need of food, clothing and shelter and lack of employment opportunities in the inner city during the 1980s. It became extremely difficult to earn a living during these trying times and when that happens criminality spreads. Drugs were usually the go to means to earn lucrative amounts of cash during the 80's but was not an open market for anyone to try their hand. First it wasn't east to find drugs wholesale if you were not connected or plugged in with someone that had weight and two it was a dangerous job that cost people either their lives or freedom.
Shoplifting better known in the hood as "Boostin" was a new lucrative crime that could generate a person lots of money if they were good at it. Even like the drug game the boosting game was just as clicky. You had to kinda know someone to get introduced in but unlike the drug game with boosting someone can start with no money down and in a week look like a million bucks! During the 80's small patches of blocks in different neighborhoods started to form these boosting clicks As the popularity started to spread these clicks became more competitive and larger in numbers.