Friday, November 11, 2022

Not So Long Ago in Hudson

A couple of weeks ago, Gossips shared these pictures, taken in 1985, showing the oil tanks that used to be on our waterfront, occupying the space that is now Henry Hudson Riverfront Park as well as the now vacant parcels north of the Dunn warehouse.

The photographs were provided by John Cody, who also provided these newspaper clippings about a group of Russian mobsters who were the last to utilize the tanks. According to the first clipping, which appeared in the New York Post on July 24, 1986, bootlegged gasoline was being stored in these tanks on Hudson's waterfront. 

The sixth paragraph of the clipping above reads:
The Post reported last week that the Hudson tank farm leased from Jolana has secretly stored 700,000 gallons of gasoline near a busy Amtrak station.
The following article provides some background information on the seven who were involved in the bootleg gas scandal. You can click on the image to enlarge it, or read the transcription of the article that follows.
"Soviet bloc" mobsters have taken root in Brooklyn's Brighton Beach section and have resorted to murder at least eight times in recent years, state and city authorities confirmed yesterday.
Working with traditional organized crime families in the metropolitan area, they are believed to have helped fleece the federal and state government of up to $90 million in gasoline excise and sales taxes in the past six years.
Edward McDonald, chief of the federal Organized Crime Task Force, said several members of "the "Brighton Beach mob" were key figures in the largest sweep of gasoline bootleggers in U.S. history.
Three of the seven gasoline dealers nabbed yesterday have been identified by Post sources as members of the Brighton Beach gang.
The mob's threat is so real that the city's Police Dept. Intelligence Division has formed a special unit assigned to the Soviet criminal network.
Sgt. Bill O'Connor, a member of the unit, said the Russian mobsters are deeply involved with "diamond schemes, gas scandals, extortion, arson, narcotics, credit card schemes and anything that will make money."  
He said most are criminals who were allowed to leave the Soviet Union after pretending to be persecuted Jewish citizens.
O'Connor compared them to Cuban prisoners who "immigrated" here under false pretenses after being released by Fidel Castro.
"They're criminals who used that [persecution] as an excuse" to enter America.
He said Russian gangsters prefer to remain loosely affiliated rather than grouping around strong "godfather" leaders common to traditional crime families.
"I don't think they will organize like the Mafia," O'Connor said. "There's no real strongman who can emerge in that group."
Soviet-bloc mobsters who have settled in Brighton Beach, which is affectionately known as "Little Odessa," have joined forces with traditional crime families, O'Connor said, because "it would be difficult for any group to operate without" their permission.
"They have to get closer to the Mafia to do business, to get along, to make money," and to learn mass marketing techniques.
One of the gas scam defendants charged yesterday, Joseph Galizia, is a suspected member of the Genovese crime family.
Nathan Riley, a spokesman for Attorney General Robert Abrams, said Russian gangsters have teamed up with refugees from Poland, Hungary, and other East Bloc countries.
They have quickly mastered the American system, Riley said, because of expertise acquired in dealings with the "very substantial underground economy in the Soviet Union."
He said the temptation is even greater in the U.S.--where constitutional rights are protected--than in the Soviet Union "where penalties are much more severe."
Those were the good old days. 

It should be remembered that in 1984 there was a plan to site an oil refinery on Hudson's waterfront--a plan that the mayor at the time and the chair of the Hudson Community Development Office considered "a matter of economic survival for Hudson." Thanks to Sam Pratt, who made this article from Hudson Valley Magazine available on his blog, you can read all about it here.

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