Mob Influence Still a Factor on New York Harbor Cargo Terminals

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Even as New York and New Jersey’s increasingly valuable shoreline is claimed by luxury development, investigators say the mob is still present.

In years since the 1954 film “On the Waterfront” brought attention to organized crimes influence on New York harbors, much has changed. The heavy lifting is done not by hand but by cranes, and human voices are scarcely heard amid the beeping of the straddle carriers, giant insectlike machines that move containers back and forth.

And while investigators say the mob and the waterfront remain entwined, both institutions are much diminished today, pushed to the margins of New York City. 

“You will need another generation or two to get the mob out of this port, because they are very well entrenched,” said one longshoreman who requested anonymity because of a concern for his safety and his livelihood. Those who step out of line, he said, face being reassigned from high-paying jobs unloading container ships to the cruise ship terminals, where the work and the pay is far less.

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