Not surprisingly, Al Baker is on the byline of the good piece (Benjamin Meuller is first on the byline):
Over nearly three decades, Mr. Perez held court on this block of East 157th Street off Melrose Avenue in the South Bronx. It was here that he climbed the rungs of the street heroin trade, wooed women, muscled out drug rivals from nearby public housing projects and, as he got closer to middle age, counseled young men to save themselves and to get honest work.Arguably, Mr Perez shouldn't be honored with a public memorial mural...
By turns brutal and vain, comedic and exacting, Mr. Perez survived police raids, stickups, territorial incursions and a transformation of the city’s drug trade as it came to rely less than it once had on hand-to-hand street sales.
When he was 13, his mother died from complications of H.I.V. His grandmother took him in, but then she died, too. He lived with an aunt until she moved away. A second aunt, Maddie’s mother, took over raising him; about a year later she also died from complications of H.I.V.
As his crew’s muscle, Mr. Perez was targeted for robberies and beatings, friends said. Going to the police was akin to self-imposed exile. He built a reputation on responding with startling force.
“In the streets you just don’t make money, and then get power and respect,” said a friend who worked with Mr. Perez, and who like many people interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid unwanted attention from rivals or the police. “Hell no. You’ve got to put in some type of work, meaning violence.”
The police arrested dealers in buy-and-bust operations only to find most of them quickly back on the street, whisked through the revolving door of an overburdened court system.
It's worth reading all these stories about murders this year in the 40 Precinct. So far there's 1, 2, 3, 4, this one, #5.