"The waterfront's tougher, Father, like it ain't part of America." On the Waterfront
On January 8, 1947, at 7:00 AM, Andy Hintz, a hiring boss on Pier 51in Manhattan, stepped out of his front door and while his wife and children watched in horror, he was shot to death by a waterfront hood named Cockeye Dunn. Just before he died, Hintz identified his killer to his wife “That was Johnny Dunn. You tell them that Johnny Dunn shot me”
Within hours, police arrested Dunn, his partner Andrew Sheridan and a Danny Gentile, a onetime prize fighter turned enforcer and charged them with the Hintz shooting, learning that Hintz was murdered because he refused to be replaced as hiring boss by Dunn’s handpicked man “Ding Dong’ Bell, a well-paid enforcer for the violent International Longshoremen’s Association, (ILA) the corrupt union that represented New York’s dock workers.
According to witnesses “Dunn sent around one of men to tell Hintz he was out, but Hintz replied, “You tell Dunn that I said he should go to hell”
They murdered him the next morning.
No one on the waterfront expected Dunn or his gunmen to do any jail time over the murder of Andy Hintz. If anything, it bewildered most that the killers had even been arrested. It was commonly assumed on the docks that those who had ordered the killing, the Mob and the all-powerful ILA were not only above the law; they were, in, fact, a law unto themselves, at least on the waterfront.
In 1948, the New York- New Jersey waterfront was home to the largest, busiest Seaport in the world. Every fifty minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, massive seagoing ships cleared its passages that were spread out through 750 miles of shore line, dotted by 1,800 piers, of which 200 were so large they served 400 ships at one time. Every year, one million passengers departed from the waterfront on luxury liners, 35 million tons of cargo passed in and out of docks with a 1948 value of eight billion dollars. The waterfront was home to 2,500 tugboats, barges, derricks and scows. It was where 1,250,000 tons of fresh fruit arrived to feed Gotham, most of it carried by the12 major railroads' companies that were headquarters in its vast lots. The waterfront of 1948 was a bastion of free enterprise that reeked with cash.
There was another waterfront. A poorer, shabbier waterfront that housed over 50,000 ill paid workers in run down brick row houses. A crime invested, closed little world rarely seen from the outside and known to few. It hadn’t always been like that. Before the days of the American Revolution, New York’s waterfront was the finest residential district in North America. Here, the best families and rich merchants built enormous, fine homes along wide, tree-lined streets. It was where George Washington resided when he was inaugurated President of the United States, not far from the elegant mansion of John Hancock.
The waterfront held to much promise for riches to remain a fashionable resting place for the new nations' elite. Manhattan was becoming the leading port in North America, largely because ships could use the ports to reach further inland, the Mohawk Valley and the Erie Canal. As the ports grew, wave after wave of German, French and English immigrants flooded into area in search of work, forcing the aristocrats to flee deeper into Manhattan. Eventually the Germans and English gave way to the Irish and Italians who arrived by the hundreds of thousands and settled into what was, by the mid-18th century, the dismal and miserable existence of life along the waterfront.
In South Brooklyn, Columbia Street was the boundary between the Italians and Irish longshoremen, two warring tribes so much alike and yet so far apart. What they shared was the boarder of filthy water that was oily, the harbor bottom rose several feet each year in a thick blanket of sludge. The sailors who ran the big harbor dredges used to say that they could bottle the harbor water, they’d sell it for
It wasn’t just longshoremen’s ghettos of South Brooklyn that had surrendered its once pristine beauty to the air of defeat and depression. The Catholic Labor activist Dorothy Day recalled the Docks of 1944 as “Mott Street, New York, is a mile long, extending from Houston Street down to Chatham Square. It is a curved street, very slightly and gently curved. It turns into Chatham Square where the Bowery ends and becomes Park Row, where East Broadway, New Bowery, Bowery, Park Row, and Mott Street all run together.
All of Chatham Square is dark and dank under the elevated lines, for here the Third Avenue line branches out and goes down Park Row to Brooklyn Bridge, and down New Bowery to South Ferry, a mile or so away. Here Chinatown and the Bowery meet, and the Bowery used to be like a bower, and lovers used to walk there. Now it is a street of the poor, a street of cheap hotels, where men can lodge for twenty or thirty cents a night. In all the larger cities of the country they have such streets, and the migrants call them Skid Roads, and the term originated in the northwest among the lumber workers who came to town from the woods with their pay envelopes and either put the skids under themselves or had them put under them by the liquor they drank or the company they kept.
The Bowery is the street of the poor, and there are pawnshops and second-hand clothes shops. Here sailors and coal heavers and dockworkers without families come to live because they have not enough money to live elsewhere. Here are their cheap amusements, movie houses, penny arcades and taverns. Here also the unemployed congregate, and there is a thieves’ market, where everything can be sold, from a razor to a pair of pants. The very clothes on one's back can be sold and substituted for overalls or dungarees. Here, too, men lie prone on sidewalks, sleeping in doorways and against the house fronts. Here, too, are fights; and because of this the street now has the name of a street of bums and panhandlers, drunks and petty thieves. But it is the street of the poor, the most abandoned poor.
It is the street of missions, where for a confession of faith, men are given a bed, and thus religion is dragged, too, in the mire, and becomes an attempted opiate of the people. Here is Christ in His most degraded guise, spat upon, buffeted, mocked, and derided.
This is not a glamorous neighborhood. There is no romance or beauty here in the Waterfront neighborhoods"
The largest longshoremen’s neighborhoods were Red Hook, in Brooklyn. Originally a Dutch village called Roode Hoek, the name came from its red clay soil and the hook shape of its peninsular corner of Brooklyn that still projects itself
Out into the East River. While most of the longshoremen’s enclaves left the outsider with the sense of sinister otherworldliness, it was truer in Red Hook than anywhere else. In 1946, the opening of the Gowanus Expressway and the 1950 opening of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel cut the neighborhood off from the rest of the borough of Brooklyn, giving it an other worldly aura.
In the 1850s Red Hook became one of the busiest ports in the country. Grain barges from the Erie Canal would wait at the mouth of the Gowanus Canal for their turn at the active piers. At its peak, in the early 1950s, Red Hook housed 21,000 people, almost all of the longshoremen or the family or longshoremen, who got by in cheaply built so-called Red Hook Houses, built in 1936 for the growing number of dock workers who were priced out of the city, as part of one of the first and largest Federal Housing projects in the country. Among its residents were Al Capone and Lucky Luciano.
In 1948, Red Hook pulsated with activity, with droves of seedy workingman
Bars and restaurants that were open 24 hours a day, seven days a week all catering to longshoremen and sailors, places where checks were be cashed, credit was granted and the prices were low. A saloon owner remembered: “Red Hook in those days sounded like maybe what took place in the Tower of Babel. You know, and people can hear crickets now. In those days, you couldn't-, you would hear the-, the sound of steel against steel, all your pile drivers going, and ships coming and going, and horns blowing, and just so much activity. Then people getting off of ships and-, and running to get to what-, wherever it was they could get to after having traveled from wherever they came from. That 12 o'clock whistle would blow and all the gates - and there were many - all the gates, and the whole of the neighborhood would open up. It was like a stampede”
Before he gained fame as the author of the international bestseller, Angela's Ashes, writer Frank McCourt worked on the docks in Red Hook “You had to be careful you're not takin' jobs from longshoremen because they think nothing of sinking a baling hook in your skull and pushing you down between ship and dock, on the chance you would be crushed beyond recognition.
They make better money on the docks than we do in the warehouses, but the work is unsteady and they have to fight for it every day. I carry my own hook from the warehouse, but I've never learned to use it for anything but lifting.
I'm glad to be getting decent wages again. Seventy-five dollars a week, going up to seventy-seven for operating the forklift truck two days a week. Regular platform work means you're on your feet in the truck, loading pallets with boxes, crates, sacks of fruit and peppers. Working the forklift is easier. You hoist up the load of pallets, store them inside, and wait for the next load.
No one minds if you read the paper while you wait. But if you read The New York Times, they laugh and say, "Oh, look at the big intellectual on the forklift."
It's gone now. All that remains of Red Hook, as it was, is the name and the staining red clay and foul smell of the oily water. But while it lasted, Red Hook and the docks gave New York’s massive pool of unskilled laborers, generations of them, steady, reasonably well paying work and right to belong to the almighty, all powerful I.L.A, the International Longshoreman's Association.
As the dock workers had predicted, the murder of Andy Hintz went unsolved despite a positive identification of the killers by the victim. Hintz’s killers walked free and the world outside the secluded world of the waterfront was no wiser for it. However, there was one person on the waterfront who had refused to allow the Hintz murder slip away. He was Father John Peter Corridan, a "rangy, ruddy, fast-talking, chain-smoking, and tough-minded, sometimes profane Roman Catholic priest" who was sent to the docks by the church to open a Labor School, St. Francis Xavier Labor School, near the west-side piers of Manhattan, in 1946.
The name “Labor School” was somewhat misleading. The Jesuit order, which ran the schools, distinguished itself by its theme of bipartisanship rather than a union-only focus, an outgrowth of the Catholic social welfare movement which called for the curbing of excessive profit-taking through regulation of the rates, return to ownership of public utilities, progressive taxation, participation of labor in management decisions, and a wider distribution of ownership through cooperative enterprises and legal enforcement of the right of labor to organize.
Although the social vision program was widely opposed by most members of the American hierarchy and by the broader Catholic Church community in general, it provided some legitimacy for social justice initiatives including the labor schools. Founded in 1936 as the Xavier School of Social Studies, held its focus.
To the labor movement with a goal was to concentrate its efforts on organizing Catholic workers in New York City by shepherding them away from the growing influence of the Communist Party since, as one Xavier priest said, “the Communists seemed to be spending most of their money and their energies on the unions...."
Throughout the late 1930's and into the war years, the target union for the Xavier School was the Transport Workers' Union (TWU) whose Communist leadership held steady sways over its overwhelmingly Catholic membership.
However, by late 1948, the Communists were losing their grip in the TWU and the Xavier School shifted its attention to the waterfront. A shift that coincided with the arrival of Father Corridan in 1946
Classes at the schools were held one or two nights per week for eight to ten weeks; running one hour, with two to three class periods per night; a set of core courses consisting of ethics, public speaking, parliamentary procedure, and labor problems. The faculty consisted of largely lay practitioners: union leaders, labor attorneys, school teachers all of who volunteered their services. Clergy or religious normally handled the ethics course. The cost was minimal ($1- $5) or, at times, free. Sometimes enrollment was restricted to Catholics or unionists, but in the case of the Jesuit programs, open to all. St. Xavier’s was somewhat different, in that it sponsored forums addressing broader issues such as the criminal justice system, public education, communism, etc., appealing to the entire community. They also offered workshops or extended courses tailored to special occupational groups such as lawyers, public school teachers, and senior labor relation’s management staff. However, the essential mission of the these schools was improving the material and social well-being of the largely impoverished American working class; overcoming the growing Communist presence and influence in the United States work force.
Lastly, their mission was the deepening the faith-life of the American Catholic worker in an increasingly secular culture that tended to divorce religion from economic life.
In a speech given on June 6, 1937 during the "Little Steel" strikers in Youngstown, Ohio, Msgr. Charles Rice told the strikers: "Because I have come here at this moment I shall be accused of injecting religion into the labor issue, and I reply: It is about time that religion was introduced into that issue. The reason we have labor strife today, the reason we have had it for generations, the reason six men lost their live in Illinois last week is that religion and religious principles have been kept out of the labor question. Because religion was forgotten, no not forgotten but deliberately thrown aside, too many industrialists have conducted their affairs as if Christ had never lived and died, as if there were not just god in heaven, and have tried to rule like the absolute Pagan Emperors of old, forgetting that they were dealing with human beings, endowed with human rights by the God who made them."
The work of the Jesuit directors, like as Corridan, ranged widely, from mediating/arbitrating labor management disputes, to lecturing to Church, business or civic organizations, to service on government boards overseeing employee relations. Corridan was one of many Jesuits active in social issues in the 1950s. In 1937, Father Charles Own Rice of Pittsburgh founded the Catholic Radical Alliance and organized the first picket line at the Heinz Food plant. He was an early supporter of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Spring Mobilization for Peace in New York in 1967, he protested against America's involvement in Vietnam in 1969
Father Lou Twomey, SJ, at the Loyola University Institute in New Orleans moved into the racial issue in the late 1940s well in advance of the decisive court cases and early protest marches of the mid-'50s. He also authored the newsletter "Christ's Blueprint of the South" which for almost two decades served as basic social justice reading for all the seminarians
The St. Joseph's Institute in Philadelphia, led by Dennis Comey, SJ, staked out an image of a sophisticated, academically demanding, labor-management program, while Comey himself became known as the Waterfront Peacemaker through his extensive arbitration work.
Fr. Willie Smith, SJ, after starting the Crown Heights Labor School in Brooklyn in the late 1930s, introduced the most diverse range of labor/management educational programs of any Jesuit Institute. He also published articles for the national media on this labor school tradition.
Most importantly, in the waterfront school, the director was to be high profile. At a time when so many working people were labeled as communists because of their pro-union views, the priest's presence was an important affirmation by the Church to the working community. This was especially true on the docks, where, under the reign of the ILA’s Joe Ryan, being Red smeared was a long favored tactic.
Like most New Yorkers, Corridan knew little of life on the waterfront. Under the tutelage of Father Philip Carey, Corridan learned how to deal with the longshoremen and to recruit activists that could confront both the ILA leaders and Communist militants. It was dangerous work, for the priests and the activists alike, and Corridan’s organizing was done with painstaking slowness. A native New Yorker who had entered the priesthood late in life, Corridan knew all about the mob and he fully understood the dangers inherent in taking on the longshoremen’ struggle as his own. It would be three years before he had established himself enough as a public figure in the media before he felt completely safe on the waterfront. The mob probably wouldn’t harm him bodily, but they would (and did) use their considerable influence from within the Catholic Church and New York politics to do whatever they had to do to stop him. At first, Corridan appeared at the docks but realized the tactic was useless, no one wanted to be seen talking to him. Afterwards, he and Father Philip Carey dropped leaflets advertising the classes in all of the locales frequented by longshoremen. Father Carey claimed that leaving leaflets in toilets "served a double purpose, it gave a man freedom from fear while he was reading it and number two it gave him sufficient time to reflect on its contents."
Contacts with longshoremen were sometimes made in alleyways and basements away from the ILA and mob snitches who were everywhere on the docks. Over the next few months, Corridan learned everything he could about the waterfront. He walked every pier, took a ferry across the river and looked at the docks from angle, even once traveling into Manhattan to view the waterfront from the Empire State Building. He concluded that problems on the waterfront were not insurmountable and that he would change them. He began by building an extensive intelligence network made up of a handful of longshoremen, altar boys, reporters, housewives and anyone else that would provide him with accurate information on the ILA and the mob. By the end of his first year on the docks,
Corridan had collected sixteen filing cabinets full of information.
What Corridan learned was that the ILA, the International Longshoremen’s Association, was the union controlled virtually all of the hiring on the New York-New Jersey waterfront. The ILA was begun in 1877, by a Dan Keefe, Irish tugboat worker (or possibly a tug boat owner) from Chicago who formed the first local of the Association of Lumber Handlers and then successfully expanded membership to include dockworkers. Keefe set the iron fisted management style that would rule over the ILA for the next century. Keefe also established the ILA’s ruthless methods to achieve its ends. Under his rule, the ILA eliminated independent stevedores by threats and intimidation and secured the ship owner's loyalty with a guarantee of uninterrupted work in return for a closed dock. When Keefe resigned in 1908, and then due only to his advanced years, the ILA had just over 100,000 dues paying members, mostly in the Great Lakes states. His handpicked replacement, TV O'Connor, another Great Lakes tugboat man, would have a far shorter reign, just under twelve years, but would use that time to establish the ILA as New York’s leading stevedore union.
As the ILA grew, power shifted increasingly to the Port of New York, where, in 1949, 30,000 longshoremen moved more than 6.5 billion in cargo through the New York-New Jersey Ports. By the late 1940s, Joseph Patrick Ryan, AKA The King, was running the New York docks as the ILA’s International president. Ryan, a crude, obnoxious little man, had come to power in 1927 and stayed there through his deep connections inside New York's political machine, Tammany Hall. For a cut of the unions' profits, Tammany assured Ryan protection from the police and other criminal investigations. Furthermore, in exchange for control of a handful of his Manhattan and New Jersey locals, the powerful New York mobs paid Ryan and Ryan paid Tammany.
Joseph Patrick Ryan was born on May 11, 1884 in Babylon, Long Island, the son of Irish immigrants, both of who died before he reached age nine. He moved to Manhattan with his stepmother and grew up in the Chelsea neighborhood, taking his elementary educated at St. Xavier Catholic parish, which would later be headquarters to the labor school that would bring about his demise.
Ryan left school at age 12 to work as a janitor and stock boy in Manhattan. In 1912, at age 28, he got his first job on the docks, in the hold of a ship, at 25 cents an hour for a mandatory 60-hour week. In 1916, he joined the ILA, buying his union book for $2.50 “The finest investment I ever made” he said.
With time, Ryan was promoted to financial secretary of Local 791 and then to organizer, for $30 a week. A natural and gifted speaker, he was the ideal organizer and soon came to the attention of Tammany Hall, New York’s Tammany Hall, New York’s entire powerful, thoroughly corrupt Democratic machine. With political clout behind him, in 1927 he was appointed president of the ILA. Despite the fact that he was extremely unpopular with the rank and file, Ryan was eventually made, self- appointed actually, the unions “president for life” in 1943, a tittle, which he insisted, was "an honorary title reflecting my stature and prominence with the working men"
Officially, his salary was less than $28,000 a year. However, according to the state of New York, his off the books' earnings were probably ten times that amount. He lived well on the wages earned by the sweat and labor of his membership. An indulgent father to his two daughters and an attentive husband to his wife of forty years, he had no use for other women and held an Irishmen’s puritanical contempt for other married men who wandered from the bonds of matrimony. The family seldom missed Sunday mass or an evening at Toots Shors or Cavanagh’s, the Tammany meeting place on West 23rd street. They belonged to the best clubs, including the exclusive Winged Foot Country Club in Westchester County. With loot taken from the ILA, he formed the Joseph Patrick Ryan Association; a Catholic political club that eventually became the mouthpiece or the powerful Trades and Labors Council. Every year, the Association held a dinner dance in his honor, a must attend on every politicians schedule. At one dinner in 1937, New York’s reform Mayor, La Guardia, found himself sitting an elbow away from the ILA’s top killer Cockeye Dunn and Mafia boss Phil Mangano. The following year, La Guardia canceled his reservation.
While Ryan may have been president of the ILA, he wasn’t the ultimate power on the waterfront. In fact, there were a myriad of powers on the Docks consisting of Ryan, the Mafia, independent Irish gangsters, the shipping companies and the Democratic parties of Tammany Hall in Manhattan and Frank Hauge in Jersey. However, directly over Ryan was William J. McCormack AKA Big Bill.
It was from McCormack’s political patronage that Ryan drew his power. In turn, Ryan acted as McCormack’s eyes and ears on the waterfront, inside Tammany and the Mob. Everyone who was anyone knew Ryan, because Ryan wanted it that way, however only a handful of insiders knew who McCormack was or how powerful a force he was.
Like Ryan, McCormack was an Irish-American from Manhattan, the son of immigrant milk wagon driver and like Ryan, and he sprang up from grinding poverty.
Always an enormous size, even as a child, McCormack, who left school as a 13-year-old boy, was able to handle of team of horses as a wagon driver on the Jersey waterfront. Tough and fearless, by age 23, McCormack and his brother owned their own trucking company and were early supporters of Jersey City’s colorful but hopelessly corrupt Mayor, Frank “Boss” Hauge ( Once, while he was supposed to address a group of young criminals with an uplifting speech on proper citizenship, Hauge told the children “Yous didn’t do nothin different from me when I was a young stud, cept, yous got caught and I became Mayor” )
During World War One, McCormack, working for the Jersey waterfront, made a fortune as a meat shipper, using that money to buy out several other trucking firms to create the US Trucking Corporation of America. When Tammany’s Al Smith lost his bid for Governor, McCormack (A Republican) was shrewd enough to appoint Smith President of US Trucking. When Smith was elected governor in 1922, he made McCormack the States Boxing Commissioner.
Five years later, McCormack sold US Trucking and entered the sand and gravel business. Using his considerable labor and political power, McCormack and his partner, Italian publisher Generoso Pope, almost cornered the ready mix concrete market in Manhattan. By 1932, McCormack had investments in banks, railroads, contracting, sand, harbor dredging, oil tankers, a race track and, most importantly, a Stevedoring firm that employed thousands of longshoremen. His estimated cash worth in 1950, not including real estate holding and stocks, was $20 million dollars.
With his money, came more political power and enormous clout within the shipping industry and control of Joe Ryan and the ILA.
Ryan’s partners on the dock was Mafia chief Vincent Mangano and his underboss, Albert Anastasia who, in turn, controlled Emil Camarda, vice president of the ILA. Likewise, Camarda controlled Dr. Tom Longo, who ran a powerful political organization, the City Democratic Club, located at 33 President Street in Brooklyn. (Camarda owned the entire block) just a few minutes’ walk from Pier 11. Longo was the Mobs and ILA’s contact to William O'Dwyer, the Brooklyn District Attorney.
Vincent Mangano, the ultimate power, was an old style Mafia boss whose power within the ILA was unquestioned although virtually unknown outside that secular universe. Vincent Mannino, a lawyer who represented six ILA “pistol locals” testified before the state of New York’s crime commission that he was “shocked” to learn that his position had been granted only after the personal recommendation of Mangano. Nino Camarda, brother of ILA Vice President Emil Camarda told him “Of course it's true. Without Vincent Mangano's okay, no-body could work here."
While Mangano was certainly ruthless, he wasn’t ruthless enough. In 1951, his Underboss, Albert Anastasia, tired of Mangano’s careful, old world ways, murdered him. He then took control of his organization and all twenty miles of the Brooklyn docks, stretching from Pier One just below the Brooklyn Bridge, south to the end of the Bush Terminal Docks all the way into Hoboken, New Jersey.
No one ever doubted that Albert Anastasia, dubbed “The Mad Hatter” by the press, was insane. Just how insane he was, was made clear one night in 1952, when Anastasia was home listening to the news on the radio, when he heard that bank robber Willie Sutton had been recognized and turned in by one of his neighbors in Brooklyn, a young man named Arnold Schuster. Anastasia got up from his chair and called one of his men, an escaped convict named Frederick Tenuto, told him about the news story and said, "I hate squealers, find this fucking Schuster and kill him." On March 8, Tenuto walked up behind Schuster on a New York Street and shot him to death. When sanity returned to Anastasia, and he realized what he had done, he ordered Tenuto’s death as well. His body has never been found.
Anastasia long, often spectacular criminal career had started as a labor terrorist on the waterfront. He was once arrested for the stabbing/strangulation murder of a longshoreman named Joe Torino in a dispute over unloading cargoes. There were several witnesses to the killing and Anastasia was convicted and sentenced to death, spending 18 months in the death house of Sing Sing. However, just before he was to be executed, he won a new trial when several witnesses reversed their statements. The state dropped the charges and Anastasia walked out of jail a free man.
Anastasia’s enforcer on the Brooklyn docks was his brother, Tough Tony Anastasia who was also a Vice President of the ILA and boss over the very powerful ILA Local 1814. He was also on salary with the Jarka Stevedoring Corporation as an executive, a major employer on the waterfront. When Jarka’s president, Frank Nolan, was pressed by state investigators to explain why the near illiterate Anastasia was on the company’s payroll as a senior executive, Nolan replied, "He is resourceful and tireless on the job. He preserves discipline and good order on the part of the men."
He preserved discipline on all levels through fear. Once, when a reporter from the New York Sun had written an unflattering piece on his brother Albert, Tony cornered the reporter and asked "Why do you keep writing all of those awful, terrible things about my brother? He ain't killed nobody from you're family" and then added "Yet"
During the Second World War, Tony claimed to have arranged the sinking of the French luxury liner SS Normande inside New York harbor, as leverage to release Mafia boss Lucky Luciano from far away Dannermore state in prison in upstate New York, to a jail closer to the city where he could still run things from behind bars. Under pressure from Naval Intelligence, New York State relented, and Luciano was released. The mob stayed to its unholy bargain and for the remainder of the war; through their help, there was never any Nazi infiltration or sabotage in the harbor.
Under Tough Tony were the front line enforcers, lieutenants like Joseph Adonis, Joe Profaci and Tony "Tony Springs" Romeo, all members of the Mafia who controlled the heavily Italian Brooklyn locals. One of the reasons that the hoods were able to run the locals with such ease was due to the high number of illegal aliens within the local. A longshoreman explained “ If you have an all-Italian local and a lot of the men working there are young men who've jumped ship, may be illegal immigrants in many cases-and very likely to do what they're told”.
On the Irish West Side there was Edward J. "Eddie boy" McGrath who had risen up the ranks of Irish gangdom under Manhattan's powerful celebrity gangster "Little Owney" Madden. Officially, McGrath, who had a record for twelve arrests for crimes ranging from petty larceny to murder, was a salaried officer for the ILA and carried the title of "Organizer at Large", a position he was appointed to by
ILA president Joe Ryan. His actual duty was front line political and police corruption and running a crew of thugs that included Johnny "Cockeye" Dunn, and Andrew "Squint" Sheridan who controlled the lucrative numbers racket throughout the port of New York.Dunn was the son of a merchant sailor who was lost at sea when Dunn was still an infant. His mother remarried, only to have her second husband killed in a railroad