My Own Little Metropolitan Diary

I keep a journal of odd/amusing interactions—akin to the New York Times’s “Metropolitan Diary,” but less fit for print. N.B. Howard is my pug.


BMCC security guard: [Making the stabbing gesture from Psycho] Are you one of those stick-the-needle-in-the-vein people?

Me: [Pause.] I’m here to swim…?

Security guard: Oh. There’s an IV clinic here this morning.


eye pussyI’m always photographing street art and graffiti for Tribeca Citizen, so I couldn’t resist this one on Cortlandt Alley. (It was around two feet tall.) I took my sweet time making sure I had the shot composed right, not realizing two sanitation workers were watching me from their nearby truck.

Sanitation worker: Interesting artwork, isn’t it?
Me: Well, yeah! But why would they write that?
Sanitation worker: I don’t know but they did a damn good job!


I always feel a bit offended when one of those New York Dolls guys offers me a card. Do I look like someone who goes to strip clubs? (Don’t answer that.) Today, I very firmly said, “No!” when one of the guys approached me.

“No, thank you!” he corrected me.


macaronAt Everyman Espresso….

Me: Does anyone not know what a macaron is at this point?
Barista: You’d be surprised.
Me: That was the snottiest thing I’ve said in a long time.


In the elevator with our neighbor, Mr. Overshare….

Me: No! Sit!
Mr. Overshare: Who’s he trying to bite, you or me?
Me: You. Definitely you.
Mr. Overshare: I don’t taste so good.
Me: No! No! Sit! Sit!
Mr. Overshare: My boyfriend won’t even eat me.


In the elevator with a neighbor….

Neighbor: I hate other people.
Me: They’re the worst.
Neighbor: Aren’t they?
Me: It’s a shame they have to exist.
Neighbor: Yes.


I was walking Howard on Worth Street when he decided to poop on a part of the sidewalk made extra narrow by a pile of garbage bags. Normally, he gives some warning—a straight sprint that we call “the poop run”—but this time he went right into a squat. Ever since his spinal surgery, he tends to waddle while he squats, often in a vague circle. This isn’t such a big deal in City Hall Park, where there’s usually room to maneuver. Worth Street is another story….

Two groups of pedestrians, it turns out, were right behind me. I never got a good look at the first group. I only heard one of them mutter a complaint about my sudden stop, to which I responded, “My dog is pooping and you’d be wise to get out of the way!” (Because of that vaguely circular walking, the poops often shoot out tangentially. It also means the person picking up the poop has to hustle to keep up; since this had all come as a surprise, I missed the first couple poops, and I had to warn everyone to watch where he or she walked.) They took my advice and moved on: One even blithely wheeled his cart right over a poop, clearing it by a hair.

The second group, who had a Midwestern air about them, decided to stay and watch till Howard was done. “Everyone poops!” said one, as I was reaching down to do my caretaker duty. “Still warm!” said another. I wasn’t sure of the appropriate response—if he had phrased it as a question, I might have offered to let him feel the bag for himself—so I simply replied, “Yeah, you bet.” Unsatisfied, he yelled it louder: “Still warm!” And they were off.


I wore my “Octogenarian” T-shirt to Juice Press.

Cashier: What does that mean?
Me: Someone in their 80s.
Cashier: I don’t understand.
Me: Uh, well, it means someone who is at least 80 years old but not yet 90 years old.
Cashier: I thought you meant like an 80s band.
Me: Oh! No, not the 1980s. I guess I don’t find the shirt as funny as I used to—every year I get older, it gets a little less amusing.
Cashier: Were you born in the 80s?
Me: [Pause.] Sure!


Previously in this series
••• August 2012



  1. Did the pool at BMCC reopen??

    • That anecdote is from a long time ago.

      • Oh, you got me so excited for 1 moment. On Sunday afternoon the lights were on in the pool area and the windows looked like they had lots of condensation on the inside, so I jumped to conclusions!

        FYI, back in September, in an attempt to find out the status of the pool repairs I somehow got transferred to a BMCC assistant coach who told me that no repairs have been performed on the pool since it closed and that the College disbanded the swim team this year because it was too hard for the members to travel for practices at LaGuardia and there’s no eta for the pool to reopen.

  2. This should be a regular future with contributions from readers. The one in the Times has devolved into a string of boring sad stories and bad non-poetry (it’s not poetry if it’s just sentences with line breaks) and not worth reading anymore.

    • You’re so right about the NYT’s column — it’s humorless, and so many of the anecdotes come from decades ago. I submitted one recently, but they didn’t take it. When I see what they’re choosing instead, I wonder if they aren’t taking it in a really tedious direction.

      As for doing this regularly, it would have to include other folks’ submissions — because this post has taken over a year to come together. I’ll try to find a way to get the word out broadly, but in the meantime, email your amusing/insightful/sentimental Tribeca anecdotes to

  3. I used to write a blog for the Connecticut Post (“Blogalogue”). One irregular but frequent theme was “Overheard in Passing.” Since I walk around so much, I pick up comments that are even funnier because they’re out of context. I collected hundreds over the years. I asked readers to send in their own “overheards,” with the rule to “state ’em verbatim.” One remark I overheard was from an earnest, middle-aged guy talking to a friend:
    “The thing I love is that for a while flying saucers were made of metal.”