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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.
- daphne on That’s how you play the game.
- N.Labruno on A week or so after the abduction and murder of Butch Cap, . . .
- Alex Riddick on Tommy’s comments on the reports of his death.
- Patrick McLaughlin on The father of “Crazy” Joe Gallo was in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on a fine Italian dinner.
- maria scariati on Life-long resident of Jersey City hired as Security
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In Jersey City PG (Pre-Gentrification) rock stars and heiresses were few and far between.
Once someone makes the existential choice of substance abuse, next is the practical matter of financing this new lifestyle. Since in Jersey City PG (Pre-Gentrification) rock stars and heiresses were few and far between, adventurous locals had to rely on … Continue reading
Taking Numbers at the corner of 4th and Grove
My father had many stories about taking numbers — the illegal lottery — during the ’50s and ’60s down by the corner of 4th and Grove in Jersey City. (The Green Door tavern, Jean’s Luncheonette, Lou’s Barber Shop, the fruit … Continue reading
You can’t do everything at once . . .
Vinny Buchelle spoke of an amusing incident that occurred when he was working (as an inmate) in the morgue at the Trenton State Hospital for the Criminally insane. On one particularly busy day, they ran out of slabs. Another inmate/worker … Continue reading
That’s how you play the game.
My father was a numbers (illegal lottery) bookie in Downtown Jersey City from the ’50s through the ’80s. Back when he ran his operation out of a candy store on Fourth and Grove (back when there was a Fourth and … Continue reading
Life-long resident of Jersey City hired as Security
Back around ’88 or ’89, Jersey City PG (PreGentrification) had an interesting interlude with the NEW AND IMPROVED version. There was a building upgrade / redo going on in the Heights. For who knows what reason — the developers acquired … Continue reading
It must be the computer games!
Some years back, I was walking down my block in the Jersey City Heights when I spotted a notorious local career criminal. I at first couldn’t believe my eyes for the last I’d heard was the he had been sent … Continue reading
Tommy’s comments on the reports of his death.
Some decades ago, here and there in the Heights and in the Tunnel Bar stories about Tommy — a dealer in rare powders — often were in the air. I was in the tavern one day back then when in … Continue reading
Tommy’s handling of other things of value
Tommy — as a dealer in rare powders — needed creativity to a degree not known to conventional merchants. As a f’rinstance, inventory just was not going to go on display in a glass case under the counter. Any number … Continue reading
Eddie Sarge’s partner Vito Genovese
Jersey City is the world’s biggest small town and here’s yet another example to prove that. I’d often heard stories about Vito Genovese — the partner of Eddie Sarge — From the Transfer Station crowd and Tommy. I never thought … Continue reading
’71 — my father’s car appeared in a NYC police surveillance photo
Back in ’71, my father took me to see The Anderson Tapes when it opened over in Times Square. Early in the summer evening, he parked the car — a distinctive black and white Buick Wildcat — on 47th St. … Continue reading
A week or so after the abduction and murder of Butch Cap, . . .
In 1977, a week or so after the abduction and murder of Butch Cap, Tommy — a dealer in rare powders — was back in his North Bergen cliffside location and I visited him there. Partly from his pack rat, … Continue reading
Jersey City people often had a peculiar take on things.
People in Jersey City PG (PreGentrification) often had a peculiar take on things. Case in point: Back in the late-’70s, an altercation arouse in a local basement (anti?)social club. Someone tried to pull a gun. Another someone correctly realized that … Continue reading