Awesome NYC Moment

Andy Ostroy
2 min readMay 25, 2022

I was jogging down the street yesterday and one of my Apple Earbuds fell from my ear and dropped into a sidewalk grating…about 5 feet down. I scurried home, grabbed some packing tape, gum and a wire hanger and headed back.

Quickly realized the hanger’s not long enough.

I get another hanger from a doorman. Tape ’em together to make it long enough. Put some tape on the end. Lower it. Touches the Earbud. Doesn’t stick. An Uber driver on a break is standing with me, fascinated. Calls his wife and begins to give her an emotional play-by-play.

“Shoot…the tape doesn’t work!” he laments to her.

I lower it again, this time with chewed gum on the end.

“He’s trying it with gum now!”

Again, failure.

A pack of teen boys walk by.

“Hey man, you gotta get a MAGNET! I put one on a shoelace once to get mine. You know, they’re magnetized!”

I was seconds from running home to find a magnet.

And then a guy walks over and says, “I have a magnet!”

“You have a magnet?”

“Yeah! (points to the luxury hi-rise behind him). I’m the building manager here. I got everything! Be right back…”

“He’s got magnets!” the Uber dude beams!

Uber and I are making predictions for success.

Five minutes later MagnetMan returns with a professional magnetic pick-up stick. But it’s only about 3 feet long.

So I tape it to the already taped-together wire hangers to make it longer. The round head requires a bit of pressure to get it through the largest opening in the grate. I lower it to the Earbud with circumcision-like precision.

Boom! It sucks it right up like a Hoover on lint.

I raise it to the top of the grate, again to the largest opening, which still requires a forceful few tugs.

Slow and steady. Didn’t want to drop it…although the magnet seemed pretty strong.

One last yank and it was in my hands. Mission accomplished.

Unbeknownst to me, a small crowd had gathered to watch. Lots of high fives and fist bumps.

The moral of the story? Get a 5-foot magnetic pick-up stick ASAP!

And, New Yorkers are fucking amazing…



Andy Ostroy

Director, producer, podcaster, writer, resistor, non-profit-supporter of women filmmakers