Once Upon a Time in Kingsbridge
by John Delach
By Geoff Jones as told to John Delach
After Judy and I married in 1964, we moved from Westchester to a rental apartment on Webb Avenue in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. Judy’s prize possession, her 1962 Corvette, accompanied us to our new digs. I understood that my new wife was an ardent automobile aficionado and remains so today.
We were young and naïve about city living and gave little thought to protecting her Vette from theft or damage. It became my job to deal with alternate side parking by seeking out safe spots. I can’t recall how long I did it, but I remember being frustrated after only a few weeks.
The apartment we rented had a driveway and garage. The building owners were real city people who didn’t have a car, but they had rented their garage to a couple who lived next door. We were free to use the driveway but only when we were home, so we didn’t block their access. I can’t recall that we ever had an issue with the couple who seemed nice and who liked Judy’s car.
One summer Sunday, we drove out to Jones Beach for the day. That evening we arrived home exhausted by the sun, surf and the long drive in crappy traffic. Even so, that was a lucky night as we found a spot in front of our home. We grabbed it making unloading the umbrella, cooler, blankets etc. easier. We sat down after bringing our stuff inside and fell asleep, forgetting we’d left the Corvette’s convertible top down. Sometime before sunrise, I awoke and remembered what I had failed to do. My dread that the car had been stolen was lessened when I saw the keys on the table, but what if it had been vandalized? Fortunately, there it was completely untouched.
You can imagine my relief! I’m not sure if the crime rate in our neighborhood was better than I’d imagined, or if the Vette looked like a setup to catch car thieves. Whatever, this event may have been my motivation to find a garage. The primary impediment to securing garage space was that we didn’t feel we could afford to rent a spot.
One day, though, we noticed a “parking space for rent” sign on a house only a hundred or so feet away. I checked with the building owner who showed me the spot. The garage was an odd space located beneath their house. It only had one door and already had a car in it. However, it was a long enough to accommodate two cars, one behind the other.
I felt that could only be a problem, but the lady said the spot for rent was not behind that car. There was an open space on the left just inside the garage door that had been her husband’s workshop that he no longer used. The woman believed a car could be parked there. It was a tight squeeze, but our Vette was shorter and slightly narrower than many normal vehicles. I asked for a tryout and Judy and I found we could maneuver our car in and out without damages. So, we took it.