The 1954 film classic On the Waterfront starring Marlon Brando was an iconic and very realistic depiction of what life was like for many decades along the New York City and New Jersey docks. For an early film, it was praised for its accuracy in portraying the stranglehold the Mob had on that industry, squeezing every single resource like you would a lemon to extract all its juice!
Since the early 1900s and maybe before, Irish and Italian hoodlums gravitated to the various waterfronts and their related industries. As unskilled immigrants, those ethnic populations looked for work on the docks as one of the few jobs that they could do, and do well!
It was backbreaking work, but you didn’t have to really speak English or have an education. You just had to have a strong back to make a meager living, but a living nonetheless! So, it was only natural that the criminal element in those two ethnic groups would be drawn to the docks as well!
With that said, this expose will attempt to investigate and delineate what became one of the most important industries to New York City and, for that matter, the entire country.