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
When I was a kid, now and again there was talk of distant relatives winning the Irish Sweepstakes. Nobody ever actually knew one of the lucky; it always was a cousin of an aunt’s in-laws who’d emigrated to Australia. I … Continue reading
Back in the mid-1980s, I was walking to the Tunnel Diner in Jersey City from the 15th Street side. A car came up 14th Street from the direction of the exit of the Holland Tunnel and sped into the diner’s … Continue reading
Thirty-five years ago or so, Tommy — a local dealer in antiques and other things of value — held a soiree at his North Bergen cliffside retreat. Something struck me that night concerning Tommy’s partner, the nephew of a Hudson … Continue reading
The Friendly Stranger – former bodybuilder, former mental patient and Tae Kwon Do black belt – spent summer Sundays in Central Park. Wandering off the path a bit, he stretched out on the grass. Using his back pack for a … Continue reading
When I was a kid, our family doctor from Union City got locked up for selling machine guns. After the good healer was sentenced to many decades, one wag had him exclaiming to the judge, “How’m I supposed to do … Continue reading
Did you ever see one of those cartoons where a tiny devil is talking in one ear and an angel in the other? That actually happened to me — when I was interviewed by Gay City News. Back when James … Continue reading
The Brian Jonestown Massacre at Emo’s East, 2012 Austin PsychfestDownload 10 minute MP3 Audio. Anthony Olszewski http://UrbanTimes.com Walking through the courtyard at the 2012 Austin Psych Fest early Sunday afternoon, I noticed Anton Newcombe standing off to the right, near … Continue reading
The Traveler fell through the swirling void. Suddenly, his heels hit something solid. Reality then took shape around him. It was dark and cold. People were there. Some sat curled up on the floor, heads between their knees and arms … Continue reading
In an attempt to murder all five heads of the New York Families, a malcontent armed with a machine gun burst into a meet. The gun jammed. The bosses turned on the would-be killer, beating him senseless. Share and Enjoy:Anthony … Continue reading
In the street outside of the bar at First and Jackson in Hoboken, an independent operator — a “cowboy” — pulled a gun on Martin “Motts” Casella, demanding money. Casella said, “Don’t you know who I am? Do you know … Continue reading
The father of “Crazy” Joe Gallo was in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on a fine Italian dinner.
The father of “Crazy” Joe Gallo was in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on a fine Italian dinner. The places were set in the dining room. His sons — all in good cheer — came in the door. The … Continue reading
As a young man, Aniello Dellacroce, had an affair with another Mobster’s wife. This nearly always results in a death sentence. But, as Dellacroce was a financial wizard, the Boss convinced the aggrieved husband to accept a cash settelement. Aniello … Continue reading