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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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Tag Archives: Hal
One of the regular customers at the Tunnel Bar who we shall here call Hal was a long-time friend of Hurricane Carter, all the way from Yardville to Rahway. Hal told of an unusual Boxing match in prison with Carter … Continue reading
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
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
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
Deep in the heart of darkest December, it was a cold Saturday afternoon. The tavern was empty. The one room was about forty feet long, with maybe eight feet from the bar to the wall. Originally there were two windows. … Continue reading