A stevedore in Local 47, Nick is Sobotka's nephew. He lives in the basement of his mother's house, so overnight visits from his girlfriend Aimee have to be kept secret — even though they have a daughter, Ashley, together. He wants to move out, get a nice home and set up a good life for his family — but money is tight and "hours" on the dock are few and far between.
Because he knows Nick is a smart kid, Sobotka sends his nephew to meet with the Greeks to pick up the information about which shipping cans are filled with contraband.
Nick is also tight with his mixed-up cousin Ziggy, Sobotka's son, who's always getting into trouble. Ziggy calls on Nick when he's beaten by a local dealer, Cheese, for coming up short on the sale of a drug package. Nick asks Vondas for help, and Sergei ends up going with Nick to broker a deal with Cheese's boss, Proposition Joe. Ziggy later comes to Nick with an offer to earn quick cash stealing cameras for Double-G, Vondas' associate. The success of this operation gets Nick another deal to deliver stolen chemicals to Vondas, who has taken him under his wing. That deal is paid off half in cash and half in heroin and Nick, who knows better than to let Ziggy screw this up, takes over the deal and works with Frog and White Mike to get the drugs sold on their corners. The system works well and soon, Nick's making serious money for himself and Ziggy, even though Ziggy is becoming more and more morose over the fact that he's not in the driver's seat.
With the drug money coming in, Nick tells Aimee that he has picked up some steady work. He's been drawn into a dangerous business, but with no work on the docks, he sees moving drugs as the only way to make their modest dreams come true.