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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
Vinny Buchelle, one of the regulars at the Tunnel Bar, some decades before had been sent off to Trenton State Prison for statutory rape, or so he claimed. Underneath all that steel and concrete, Vinny suffered a breakdown and so … Continue reading
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
One of the Spanish guys who’d hang out all weekend at the Tulsa gas station on Henderson Street was in the Tunnel Bar for a six pack of beer and a pint of rum. Sal Jr. was the bartender. As … Continue reading
Teddy Kucz (“Jackson”) first became homeless during a summer of endless drinking. When the steady freeze of January set in, being free as a bird was not enjoyable for one unable to fly south. Cold and hungry in Journal Square, … Continue reading
This was inside, over the cash register. Share and Enjoy:Anthony Olszewskiaolsz@bellatlantic.net
One of the regulars at the Tunnel Bar, Hal, was something of an expert on the NJ correctional system. He had an amusing story of his graduation from a youthful offender to an inmate. Transported from Hudson County early in … Continue reading
View Larger Map I was walking past Ripley’s Believe It or Not! at Times Square when all of a sudden it jumped out at me that a shrunken head in the window was someone that I’d known ten years before. … Continue reading
When I was a kid, our telephone number was 656-3060; the jail’s was different by just one digit. Weekends — and during the full moon — the phone regularly rang with people looking for the lockup. I’d tell ‘em the … Continue reading
Are any of these stories like for real? Nah, course not, I jus’ make ‘em all up. BTW, the abraded area at the business end was from where the serial number disappeared. Back in the anything-but-boring ’70s, there was a … Continue reading
The Tunnel Bar sometimes found itself suddenly paradigm shift from front row center to an up on the stage performance participant in law enforcement dramas.
Like the audience at a New Theatre production, the Tunnel Bar sometimes found itself suddenly paradigm shift from front row center to an up on the stage performance participant in law enforcement dramas. The first was Russell. Back in ’77, … Continue reading
Back in the ’80s, two gung-ho cops started snagging junkies as they rode back to NJ through the Holland Tunnel after Lower East Side re-up jaunts.
Back in the ’80s, two gung-ho cops started snagging junkies as they rode back to NJ through the Holland Tunnel after Lower East Side re-up jaunts. It’s not like it was hard to spot the returning shoppers: five people stuffed … Continue reading