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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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- Union Terminal Cold Storage lobsters catch Pudge | Second Thief, Best Thief - Jersey City Short Stories by Anthony Olszewski on Barney’s
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Monthly Archives: July 2011
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
When Workman shot “Dutch” Schultz in Newark, the hit man (a drug addict) went through the victim’s pockets, looking for something to steal. In a Mafia hit, nothing is to be taken. This gives the clear message that the intention … Continue reading
When working in a dive bar, you’ve always got to be on the alert. A fight might be about to break out. A drunk could be ready to fall and crack his skull. Someone might be stealing something out of … Continue reading
“Hobo, hows about givin’ me a lift inta d’ City?” “George, It’s late. An’ whats for anyhow? Y’er tapped out.” “Don’t worry, I gotta good connection ove’dere. He’ll front me.” “Y’er payin’ f’r d’ gas an’ d’ tolls?” “Y’spring an’ … Continue reading
Jack Terrier was a prominent lawyer in Hudson City. A “Criminal Attorney,” his clients were a miserable mix of small time bookies, petty drug dealers, and failed thieves. A maestro of the criminal justice system, Jack would perform before nodding, … Continue reading
Billy Jansen and Artie called Hoboken home, but they bounced into the Tunnel Bar (just outside of the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City) a couple of times a week. Billy Jansen did roofing and maintenance work for his father, a … Continue reading
Limousine Stan had a good thing going unloading trucks in New York City’s 14th Street meat market – until the IRS put the kibosh on that. In his forties and only 5′ 5″ or so, Stan stacked the heavy cases … Continue reading
The Reprobate opened the front door to the tenement apartment and then started to walk up the stairs. After about six steps there was a second door that was supposed to be locked. It wasn’t. The Reprobate opened that door … Continue reading
The Reprobate knocked on the door of the tenement apartment. Bo opened the door. Before the Reprobate could walk inside, Bo stepped out into the hall, shutting the door behind him. “Shhh, I gotta talk t’ ya ‘bou’ somethin’. We’s … Continue reading