The Jane Addams HS boys basketball team with Coach Jon Ostrow (Ozzie) in the blue shirt.
A Favor for the Coach
Here’s one more.
I live in Manhattan’s upper eastside and for the many years I worked at Addams, which is in the Bronx, I commuted to work by car. It was an easy drive – in the mornings the southbound lanes on the FDR Drive would crawl, but I was heading north against the traffic and would breeze along.
And I’d either drive alone or carpool with other eastsiders depending on our semester’s schedule – our school had both early and late sessions. But one eastside colleague who was never in our carpool was my friend Ozzie. He coached the boys basketball team and stayed late for after-school team practices and games, and thus drove up to school himself.
However on the afternoons the team had games at other Bronx schools Ozzie would leave his car in the school parking lot, take public transport with the boys to the host school, after the game take a bus or subway home to Manhattan, and the next morning take public transport back up to school. But in addition to the inconvenience of no car for his morning commute, leaving a car in the parking lot overnight was always a bit risky as our school was in the infamous south Bronx, a high crime neighborhood.
And so one day Ozzie asked me if I would do him a favor and on the afternoons Addams had away games, I would drive his car back to Manhattan and park it. He and I lived only a few blocks apart and of course I said yes.
Ozzie was on early session and I was usually on late, and so rather than wake up an hour earlier to drive up with him, I’d come to school with my carpool and later drive myself in Ozzie’s car back to Manhattan.
I garaged my own car, but Ozzie parked his on the street so once back in our neighborhood I’d have to look for a space, being mindful of alternative-side and the myriad of other New York City parking rules. And as the upper eastside is the most densely populated residential neighborhood in Manhattan, finding a legal overnight space could take as long as an hour. Then once I found a spot, I had to let Ozzie know where to find his car. He and his wife Liz lived in a small apartment building that had no doorman, or that would have been an easy solution.
So this is what we did – I’d find a parking space, walk home to my own building, and then write a note saying where I’d parked . I’d give the note with Ozzie’s car key to my doorman for Ozzie to pick up when he got back to our neighborhood after the game.
And I’m happy to say during my years at Addams we had many winning basketball seasons. The credit goes to the boys on the teams and to their great coach of course – but maybe just a bit of the glory should go to the coach’s friend who did him a favor and parked his car!
– Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!