A serious riot was threatened Monday, between Jewish residents of Harlem and Porto Ricans’ in One Hundred and Fifteenth Street, between Lenox and Park Avenues. Reserves from four precincts struggled for nearly half an hour before they dispersed a crowd estimated at more than 2,000 and brought temporary peace in the neighborhood.
Three youths, alleged members of a band of twenty-five that planned to attack the Jews with long sticks and bricks, were held on charges of disorderly conduct. They were booked at the East One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Street Station as Antonio Santos. Peter De Jesus and James Monor, all sixteen years old.
Their arrest followed pursuit which led to housetops, from which bricks were hurled to the street. According to police the trouble has been brewing for months, the Jewish residents resenting invasions of Porto Rican tenement dwellers by the thousand and Porto Rican storekeepers.
For a week there have been street fights and arguments between the old residents in Harlem and the new residents, with occasional bottle-throwing from roofs.
The police had received a tip that a large force of Porto Ricans and their allies would invade the district centering and One Hundred and Fifteenth Street and Lenox Avenue. Inspector Thomas Ryan, in charge of most of Harlem, had the reserves of four precincts on all sides of the threatened point.
At 8.30 the advance guard of the Porto Rican army was signalled in the form of about twenty-five youths, armed with staves wrapped in paper, marching toward Lenox Avenue from the east. Word was flashed to the waiting police, and the reserves came charging down from four directions just as the youths began parading along Lenox Avenue. The invaders broke and fled.
Some of them ran through apartment houses and up on to the roofs, chased by policemen. Others ran through the streets. Immediately a great crowd of residents swarmed out of the neighboring houses, growing into a milling and excited concourse of thousands. They impeded the efforts of the police, and all but the three youths eventually escaped.
The police calmed and dispersed the crowd and kept a guard on the scene to prevent a recurrence of disorder during the night.