New York Stories: My own Metropolitan Diary

For years, predating the internet, my favorite part of the New York Times has always been a section called Metropolitan Diary in which real people (long before they had blogs of their own) wrote to the editors with “only in New York” stories for publication. Or sometimes, they were just good stories. They still are actually.

These are few of my own recently.

city kid | copyright Mom101


The New York Child’s View of the World
Thalia, who is  now eight (eep, how did that happen?), expressed to me that she would be really sad if she was the only person left in the world. It would be lonely. But on the bright side, it would be easy to get a parking space, and you wouldn’t have to wait on line for a cronut.

Never Yell MOVE YOUR SODA! In a Crowded Theater
My parents were recently in a packed movie theater in Manhattan, and a woman they described as slightly drunk was alone, to their left. She asked my stepmother to move her soda from her left armrest, explaining, “I’ve recently written an article on movie theaters and did a lot of research. You are always supposed to put your soda on the right side.”

My stepmother answered, “I’m happy to move it but…that’s BS.” The woman went on, “no…it’s not. It’s true. I’ve done so much research for this article and no theaters have cup holders on the left side.”

My parents, noticing that indeed there were cupholders on both the right and the left armrest of the aisle seats asked her where exactly her article was published. “Oh…well…it doesn’t matter,”she stammered. “But I wrote it . And I did a lot of research.”

Movin’ on Up
Last night I took our elevator down to the subcellar to get out the Christmas ornaments. As the elevator door opened and I walked out, a giant cockroach walked on. When I got back to the elevator again, it was gone. I’m wondering if it went to the penthouse. Because if I were a giant cockroach, I would totally want to live in the penthouse.

Ain’t Too Proud to Beg

banksy at brooklyn heights cinema | copyright mom101


Elevator Etiquette
My subway station is a small station with an elevator ride required to exit. There are three huge elevator cars–although we’re lucky if two are running–and common etiquette is that you hold the door until all the passengers from the last train have gotten on, or the car is full. (It’s a very nice subway stop.) But recently, there was an angry middle-aged woman who got in, then blocked the panel with her body so no one else could keep the door open. I saw an older couple running for the door, and so I reached around her and held the door open button anyway.

Oh, how she  lost it. It was glorious.

She screamed, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? CONTROL FREAK! CONTROL FREAK!” which is only sometimes true. I clutched my girls’ hands and calmly said, “Ma’am, I’m just being polite. Everyone has families they want to get home to, too.” The rest of the passengers muttered in agreement.

We rode up with the woman raging under her breath the whole way. As the door finally opened to the street, she murmured something about how that’s the difference between Democrats like me and Republicans like you! And then she stomped off.

I suppose that in Brooklyn, maybe people don’t have enough experience with them to know a Republicans when they see one. Cheat sheet: Republicans are people who hold elevator doors for the elderly.

And It Wasn’t Even a Cronut
I overheard my girls playing with their school friends in the living room this week. They were playing Cupcake Shop. When my daughter asked, “how much for a cupcake?” her friend answered, “that will be $40 please.”

And with that, I think we need to get out of the City more.


17 thoughts on “New York Stories: My own Metropolitan Diary”

  1. This is a ridiculous vision: May I recommend you put on some pearls and a Pendelton black watch vest, take a walk up east 78th street , hang a left up Park, start skipping, singing the Hills are Alive , wave your (freak) Brown or Hotchkiss flag, and know that heck yeah you know how if flies on the East Side. Weezie and Mr. Drummond both would know you have arrived! So would Penelope (Louis winthorpe’s fiancé ) and her friend Constance, but they would keep their distance anyway cuz you’re too wacky, too clever and creative,, plus your family might be the New Yorker Woody Allen type.

    Here’s something more realistic , perhaps, go to Litchfield (Or fill in the blank north, west, northeast but heck not the East End heaven help us) County. We were just up there and what an awesome battery recharger that was! Love reading your writing.

  2. Love you and your relatives’ cryptic insights and only in NYC kind of experiences. I once submitted to Metropolitan Diary and it got published- what a thrill- so if you don’t mind- I’ll share my submission below:
    Dear Diary,
    The other day my seven year old son, Jacob, came running into the kitchen.
    “Mom, I saw a lady who was trying to kill herself!”
    I was completely intrigued. “Really, Jacob, what did you see?”
    “She was smoking and jay walking at the same time!” he replied.

  3. In ‘burb land, it’s doors that aren’t automatic and someone lets it close on you – right in your face, crazy middle-aged women in minivans who steal your parking space, and nary a cronut within a 50 mile radius. Also, you can generally tell a Democrat v. a Republican by the inflammatory bumper stickers on their SUV’s.

    1. I always try to think, what if I close the door and that person turns out to be a mom at our school or a person I will interview with one day.

      It’s a good way to make sure you keep the door open.

      Also, look at your watch; it’s usually a difference of maybe 15 seconds most. (Not that I’m not wildly impatient too.)

  4. I like how your pushing the button that she’s trying to block makes YOU the control freak. But maybe she also wrote her own article about that and did a lot of research….

  5. Okay what exactly is a cronut? I’ve heard it mentioned a zillion times, yet never seen one. Whatever it is, it won’t come to Denver for ten years.

    Laughing majorly at the elevator part.

    1. Donut + Croissant. People wait on line for 6 hours to get one. I have yet to experience the joys myself because I’m lazy and don’t have 6 hours to wait in line for baked goods. But if you were to bring me one, I’d gladly accept.

      1. 6 hours?! Come take a relaxing vacay to Southern California. Cronuts are on every corner and you can probably find them in Gluten Free varieties as well, lol. That is if you can wade through all the Democrats…

  6. Classic, Liz.

    I’d like to add my own favorite Metropolitan Diary experience:

    Two years ago, I took my teenaged sons into the city for their first overnight Manhattan experience. First up, the subway downtown.

    When we got into Penn Station, I’ll pulled the kids aside from the crowded station to read the subway map. Just then, we saw two Port Authority cops with semi-automatic weapons who were sheepishly escorting a man toward the exit.

    “But I’m Jesus!” the man implored while my suburban kids stared.

    “And there’s a New York Moment you can’t script, kids. You’re welcome,” I said, and off we went to the #2 train.

  7. I have had donut muffins (yummy!) but never a cronut. Hmmm. I wonder if I can rectify that on my coast?

    The elevator story is funny to read, but my heart would have been pounding if that happened to me! Confrontations make me nervous.

    I may just now have figured out why I had to leave New Jersey.

    (This is not a swipe at New Jersey! I actually like it. But I don’t belong there. When I lived there, I thought everyone needed to chill out and they all thought I had a ridiculously sunny disposition. Neither impression is really right!)

  8. Damn you and your uplifting, heart-warming, fist-pump inducing elevator etiquette.

    Thank you for these NYC morsels.

  9. Me and the hubs took a quick weekend trip to the city from Massachusetts with my sister. I wanted her to experience NYC while she was visiting from Cali. We even got a little crazy and split the cost of a room at the W (prchased criminally cheap on one of those discount airfare/hotel websites)

    Upon walking into our four star room, i kicked off my shoes and proceeded to cut my foot on a piece of glass. On our way to walk to city and see the sites, i stoppef at the front desk to request the floor be vacuued lest there be more shards of glass waiting to strike upon our return. The lady at the front desk gave me the stink eye while repeatedly confirming use of said discount website, as if that made me less worthy of a vaccum and more likely just looking for a fun weekend lawsuit. She refused to send made service stating they had “no reports of glass ever having broken on that room- oh but you bought your room through that website didn’t you”) just. Ugh.

    Ultimately she pissed me off enough that i requested to speak with someone else- who immediately upgraded our room (who knew there were better than four stars? ) and giftef us a $30 breakfast certificate (which is cool cause id have probably died without having that orange juice- also four stars means no continental breakfast- go figure)

    I wonder if they vacuumed.

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