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Second Thief, Best Thief – An Old Jersey City Saying
The Jersey City Waterfront once was covered with warehouses and piers. Adjacent to these were miles of railroad yards dotted with innumerable sheds and small buildings for use as storage and as workshops for mechanics, machinists, and welders.
During the depression, children from impoverished families would climb onto the roofs of the outlying structures, both to hide and to gain a view of the surrounding area. From up there, they'd watch for workers stealing from the docks, the trains, or the warehouses. The initial crooks would sneak off into the weeds to hide the swag with the idea of retrieving it at the end of the shift. Seeing opportunity made available, the kids would wait a bit for the situation to cool. Then, they'd climb down, grab the goods, and make a getaway through the vacant lots.
Practitioners coined the saying "second thief, best thief" to describe this method of survival.
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Author Archives: Anthony Olszewski
Remember Jimmy Time Bomb’s buddy Joe? He had a story about just happening to be driving with some friends south on Kennedy Blvd., down by Lincoln Park. Stopped at a light, for no particular reason, he looked off to the … Continue reading
Old Grumpy Will’s place at 212 15th, Jersey City was a hub of homosexual action down by the Tunnel Bar. This was not any first wave colony of creatives wending their way to Jersey City. Instead, these were some who’d … Continue reading
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Back in the early-‘80s, I had a Harley-Davidson Super Glide. Though the engine was the same 74 cu. in. as a police bike, lacking the racks and packs, the appearance was quite dissimilar. With shoulder-length hair and clad in worn … Continue reading
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One day back when Jimmy still owned the Tunnel Bar, a stranger walked in, took out a twenty dollar bill, sat down and asked for a Seagram’s 7 with water. Jimmy put a shot glass and a chaser in front … Continue reading
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I was attempting to navigate the fog of 6:45AM and coffee not having kicked in yet, when all of a sudden, after nearly forty years, this reef of memory surfaced. # # # Me and some other guys were hanging … Continue reading