La Salle “Man of the Month”
Written by Joseph McGrath ‘74
“Remember, You Are LaSalle.” Ah, those inspiring 4 words that greeted about 700 of us on a daily basis, as we ascended the stairs inside that great, old venerable building on East 2nd Street. As I think back on those 4 great years, now 44 years after I graduated, there are just so many great memories, so many great friendships formed and sprinkle in lots of chuckles and to be expected……a few tears.
I’m not composing this to bring you through all 4 years of my journey at this great Christian Brother establishment, but to take a brief trip down memory lane. And to celebrate fantastic friends made over my fruitful 4 years at LaSalle, in the shadow of the Bowery. Do I start with my friends/fellow students or the great Brother’s and Teachers’? What do you say we mix it up? As there are many priceless moments such as Brother Kevin McQuade giving the “eagle eye” to Glen Della Tacoma, Mr. Brings in Spanish class, winging a piece of chalk at about 100 mph, barely missing the 6’10” noggin of Glenn Tambon, or Mr. John Quinn, while running the floor hockey intramural league, pleading with one red headed guy from Stuyvesant Town to ease up on the body checks?
A nice comfort level was having my Grammar School friends (Issing, Downes, Fleming, Riquelme, Schemick) entering High School on East 2nd Street alongside of me in September of 1970. And my closest friend, Jimmy Murtha and I were always side by side. We lost Jimmy way too soon a couple of years ago, which is mind boggling, but I will treasure my memories of “Murt” in the back of classrooms with great teachers like Mr. Ed Beyrer, Mr. Bill Aberer, Mr. Tom Burns, Mr. Joe Krauss, Mr. Tom Moore, to name a few off the top of my head. However, we are friendly sorts here in Stuyvesant Town and many of us made other great friends, whether it be from the Little Italy area on the lower East Side, the Greenwich Village “nabe” on the West Side, Hell’s Kitchen, Sunnyside, Woodside, Harlem, or Yorkville.
A good deal of the friendships were formed while partaking in extra-curricular activities, like Intramural Hockey. Guys like Peter Farranto, Bobby Veloce, Mike Valenzano, and a guy that I still think of when I hear Jim Croce’s “I Got A Name” on the radio- little smiling Jimmy Dileto. You see that was the song they played in the church in our Freshmen year at Jimmy’s funeral. I told you earlier, there would be tears and man were they rolling that day. But the good times definitely won out and it was so great getting close with guys like Bobby Farley from the West Side (now called Chelsea), Ray Dowling from Woodside, Jimmy Jeffrey from Kips Bay and close, close friend Mike Ahearn from, you guessed it….Stuy Town! “Hearnie” and I became inseparable throughout our 4 years and remain very close to this day. What good times we had!!
One of those “Greenwich Village” guys that I also became close was Michael Moccia of Waverly Place. Better known as “Moche”…..he was the king of “scully” type nickel football on the lunch tables where we dined at around the corner at Nativity Church. “Moche” and I attended summer school after Sophomore year at Power Memorial, and will always share that special bond of why we had to know the “hypotenuse of a triangle!
Sweet Jesus (sorry Brother Edmund!) I could go on for days……the memories, the great times, the struggles, the dances, the CHSAA City Champ Basketball games, which were the norm back then with players named “Candy”, Chris Civale, Brian Long, Kelly Grant, Kevin King, Gary Druitt and Vinnie “Yak” Caruso leading the way. What pride….what goosebumps.
But most importantly, I wanted to thank the INSTITUTION named LaSalle for molding me into a man, teaching me with such Christian Brother flair……Thank you Brother Kevin Gilhooly, my first Principal, Brother Jerome Sullivan, the “fairest/strictest” Vice Principal on the earth. Mr. Aberer, Mr. Beyrer, Mr. Burns, Mr. Krauss, both Quinns’, etc. Thank you to my “Irish crew”- you know who you are, right Richie Walsh and Terry McGowan? And other good guys, that I’ll never forget….Eddie Connolly, Bobby Noel, George Willett, Larry Callahan, Joe Zaharuk and on and on! And a huge thank you to McSorleys. This should be self-explanatory as an 18 year old
I am so grateful and thankful that my acceptance letter arrived in my mail box in early 1970 and I chose LaSalle. I would not trade those 4 years for any other 4 years of my young life! And I’m also proud that my younger brother Brian, chose LaSalle as well in 1980. It made him the MAN that he is now today as well.
REMEMBER….YOU ARE LASALLE!!
Joe McGrath- Class of 1974