Rightly or wrongly, New Jersey has always been portrayed as a haven for crime and corruption. This portrayal has spawned two major HBO series, Boardwalk Empire and The Sopranos. It’s pretty hard to argue that New Jersey is a place filled with fields of lily pads and Julie Andrews running across the prairie signing The Sound of Music. We’ve certainly had our share of crime here in The Garden State, but every other state can claim the same. It’s just that here in New Jersey, we commit a lot of crimes.
There was Aaron Burr, the current vice-president of the United States, and Alexander Hamilton, the former secretary of the Treasury, a duel which at the time was prohibited in the northern United States. Held in Weehawken, NJ, the draw didn’t end well for either of these gentlemen. Burr’s bullet hit Hamilton, Hamilton’s bullet hit a branch behind Burr’s head and Burr rowed across the Hudson immediately after prompting him to be charged with murder in New Jersey and New York .
There was the unique and terrible kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby. The abduction of famed aviator Colonel Charles Lindberg’s 20-month-old son and his with Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The baby was removed around 9:00 p.m. on March 1, 1932, from the second floor nursery of the Lindberghs’ home in Hopewell New Jersey.
A series of ransom notes back and forth, mud prints at the scene, interrogations of people close to the crime, and the involvement of New Jersey State Police, the Governor, and numerous politicians. The baby was found accidentally about 4 miles from the Lindberghs’ home in Mount Rose New Jersey, Mercer County.
An autopsy suggested the baby was injured during the abduction and may have hit his head against a ladder rung and was killed instantly. After years of searching for the killers, the evidence has landed and pointed to Bronx’s Bruno Richard Hauptmann. .After years of appeals and retrials, he was finally convicted and sentenced to death by electrocution. On April 6, 1936, at 8:47 a.m., Bruno Richard Hauptman was electrocuted here in New Jersey.
Enoch L “Nucky” Johnson. Nucky Johnson was the basis of the “fictional” character in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. The character played by Steve Buscemi in the HBO series is not too far from the truth about the real Nucky.
Nucky Johnson was the political boss who ran Atlantic City and Atlantic County, New Jersey. He was sheriff of Atlantic County, a crime boss who ruled South Jersey and controlled Atlantic City and Atlantic County from the 1910s until his conviction for tax evasion in 1941.
He played a leading role in the handling of the ban; he also had strong ties to gambling and prostitution. There was not a street, parade, building, or school that would be built in Atlantic City or Atlantic County without Nucky Johnson’s blessing. He stood up and demanded respect from the New York crime families who frequently tested the strength of Nucky’s reach.
He found success and helped ease tensions with black neighborhoods in Atlantic City. He helped get black people to vote, albeit for his nominated candidate.
Nucky was a tall, strong man a little over six feet tall, always impeccably dressed and wearing a fresh red carnation on his lapel every day. This was well represented in the Boardwalk Empire series. He was a living legend, men feared him, women wanted him, and Atlantic City grew stronger because of his fortress.
The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. All opinions expressed are those of Big Joe.