Metropolitan Diary

On the M72 bus in late April, a very young lad was heading home with his nanny. He began to squirm, so she engaged him in conversation.

Nanny: “Did you watch basketball with your daddy?”

Lad: “Yes.”

Nanny: “Who did you see?”

Lad: “The Knicks. But they tried hard!”

Nanny: “They tried hard?”

Lad: “Yeah. And they’ll be back next year.”

Nanny: “Yes, they’ll be back next year.”

Happy off-season, men. Your young fans await another effort.

Nat Benchley

Dear Diary:

Overheard on the steps leading from the courthouse at 100 Centre Street.

Man about age 18 or 19: “How could you tell the judge all those things about me? I thought you were my friend.”

Woman in her late 20s or early 30s: “I am not your friend. I am your probation officer.”

Roberta Posner


You only needed one,

Any suit would do,

To announce yourself

To the entire neighborhood;

And reach home

Before your parents realized

They weren’t playing

With a full deck.

Ellen Fuchs

Dear Diary:

Setting: Thai restaurant on the corner of Second Avenue and 18th Street.

Characters: Three diners, one waitress.

Diner No. 1: “I would like to order the tamarind salmon.”

Diner No. 2: “I would like to order the same, but with soy sauce.”

Diner No. 3: “ I would like the chicken special … but no nuts, please … and no seeds … and please, no sugar, salt or spices … and no seasoning of any kind … and definitely no garlic!”

Waitress: “O.K.” Then, turning to Diners No. 1 and 2: “Your dish comes with a choice of vegetable, which includes asparagus, carrots, bok choy and Chinese cabbage. You can also have either white or brown rice.”

Diner No. 3: “And mine? Does mine come with anything?”

Waitress (looking slightly piqued): “Yours? Yours comes with nothing.”

Leonid Poretsky, M.D.

Dear Diary:

On May 2, after an early dinner with a friend from out of town, I decided to show her the Upper East Side neighborhood where I’ve lived for many years.

As we strolled north, then west, the tranquil peace of the evening was suddenly shattered by loud screams from a group of young people. Packed six deep, behind police barricades, they were directly across Fifth Avenue from the , where a large fleet of gleaming S.U.V.’s with dark tinted windows was gliding up to the red-carpeted entrance.

It was the Met’s annual Costume Gala, and as the names of the superstar arrivals were being loudly acknowledged by those around us, I tried to explain to my serious and somewhat skeptical friend that despite the glitter, glitz and extensive security, this was all for a good cause. The tickets, said to be $25,000 each, would gross over a million dollars, to be funneled back into the museum, to pay for the huge banquet, and presumably, to buy more high couture outfits like those being worn tonight.

Moving on, we walked farther north, then east, and down to my street, 76th Street, where ahead, in the evening dusk, another large group of people could be seen. Assembled in front of , they were part of a wedding, I initially thought.

Until, moving closer, we could see, almost ghostlike, a long line of homeless people, waiting to receive free sandwiches and milk from the back of a small white van parked in front of the church. The atmosphere — quiet, orderly, resigned, but one of simple gratitude — was in stark contrast to the manufactured opulence and hysteria on display a short distance away.

My friend, also sensing the difference, touched my arm and said softly: “Yes, I can see, after all these years, why you still live here.”

Shaun Considine

Dear Diary:

Practice, practice, practice may be the way to , but is it worth it if no one remembers your name, much less the hall itself?

Recently overheard from a couple settling into their seats behind me before a concert: “This is where we heard that guy play the piano, isn’t it?”

John Tedford

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