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Family First

Photographer Lani Lee followed New York City’s Doc Marten Skinheads crew around at the group’s 30th birthday party

Don’t call them a gang. The members of New York City’s DMS crew (Doc Marten Skinheads) prefer to be thought of as a crew or a family (despite some of their members’ ventures into somewhat shady activities over the course of the group’s 30-year existence). These days, many of the original members are all grown up to the point where some of them joke that the ‘D’ in DMS just stands for ‘daddy’.

Originally started in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, DMS has since spread around New York City, around the country, and even around the world, along with the popularity of New York hardcore bands associated with the group. At their annual Black N’ Blue Bowl at the East Village’s Webster Hall, DMS families turn up with kids in toe. “You go on that weekend and its palpable,” explains Joey Cammarata, a DMS elder who helped revive the show in the 2000s. “It’s a family atmosphere, you know what i’m saying. Maybe years ago it was mostly dark in other areas, but even more than ever it’s a family based thing.”

Photographer Lani Lee got up close and personal with the DMS crew at this year’s BNB Bowl.