Eddie McGrath (born January 31, 1906, date of death unknown) was an Irish-American gangster from New York City, who controlled the Hell's Kitchen Irish Mob and the lucrative waterfront throughout the 1940s.
Originally from the notorious Gashouse District on the East Side, McGrath was arrested numerous times throughout the 1920s and 30s for offenses ranging from burglary to murder.
After serving a lengthy stretch in Sing Sing, McGrath ended up as an organizer for the International Longshoremen's Association on the Hell's Kitchen waterfront. With the notorious Joseph P. Ryan in control of the ILA, McGrath became the primary muscle on the waterfront, with gangsters like John M. "Cockeye" Dunn (who was McGrath's brother in law) and Andrew "Squint" Sheridan as his enforcers. He became a close ally of powerful organized crime figures such as Joe Adonis, Albert Anastasia, and Meyer Lansky.
Eddie McGrath was forced to abscond from New York after Dunn and Sheridan were executed for the murder of a hiring stevedore named Andy Hintz in 1949 and the investigation of waterfront criminal activity subsequently began to escalate. He was sent to Miami as an ILA organizer at the behest of Meyer Lansky, where he spent the remainder of his life.
In Popular Culture
The character of Johnny Friendly in On the Waterfront is loosely based on a composite of McGrath, Albert Anastasia, and an ILA organizer named Mickey Bowers.
The book Dock Boss: Eddie McGrath and the West Side Waterfront provides a complete account of Eddie McGrath's life.