New York

‘I Was Wandering Through Greenwich Village on a Spring Day’

Wandering

Dear Diary:

I was wandering through Greenwich Village on a spring day, admiring the brownstones as well as the daffodils that were beginning to emerge from the earth.

I noticed a man and a woman walking toward each other in opposite directions. As they got closer, I could tell from their glances that they were checking each other out.

They passed and continued on in their respective directions. Moments later, I saw the man look back over his shoulder for one more glimpse of the woman. Shortly after, the woman did the same.

They missed each other’s second glances by a matter of seconds, and to this day, I wonder what might have happened if they had looked back at the same time. I like to imagine that they now stroll through that neighborhood hand in hand, walking in the same direction.

— Amie Hammond


The Right Spot

Dear Diary:

I was crossing the Bow Bridge in Central Park with my dog when I noticed two young women walking back and forth repeatedly from one spot to another.

A photographer was following them, so I figured there was going to be a proposal. I waited a few minutes, but nothing happened.

“If this a proposal,” I finally interjected, “what’s the holdup?”

They told me they couldn’t decide on the right spot.

“Where you are right now, that’s the right spot,” I said.

They looked at each other, one started to cry and they both pulled out rings.

I continued on, and I must have walked a quarter mile when I heard them running up behind me and yelling for me to stop.

They said they had been very nervous and didn’t know how long it would have taken them to decide if I hadn’t said something.

They asked if their photographer could snap a photo of the three of us, plus my dog.

— Sharyn Wolf


Tender Buttons

Dear Diary:

In the 1970s, my side gig was producing handmade cards. In making them, I loved to use rare vintage buttons from Tender Buttons, a world-class shop on East 62nd Street.

In those days, the card buyer for Bloomingdale’s held an open call for budding artists on Thursdays. One day I went.

“OK, honey,” the card buyer said. “Show me what you’ve got.”

With my hands shaking, I held out three cards featuring vintage airplane, tricycle and sailboat buttons from Tender Buttons.

“That’s it — all you’ve got?” the buyer said. “I need a display. Pull yourself together and make a line of 12 designs. I need a dozen each by Monday at noon.”

I stayed awake from Thursday until Monday and delivered 144 cards on time.

— Susan Hamilton


Transformed

Dear Diary:

It was a hot summer day. A woman in her 50s got on a fairly crowded noontime 5 train at Fulton Street wearing orange polka-dot pinup shorts, a white tank top and huge, plastic, ’70s-style sparkly earrings.

She held onto a pole and stared at her phone as though things were going badly. Her hands trembled as she typed out a message with her thumbs, and she stumbled on her five-inch heels when the train lurched into the Brooklyn Bridge stop.

At Union Square, a seat opened up next to a woman in her 20s who was reading an e-book.

The younger woman had corkscrew curls dyed vibrant copper and was wearing a similarly summery outfit: wispy, pale blue sundress with strappy white sandals. Silver bracelets jangled on her bare arms.

As the older woman lowered herself into the tight space, the young woman looked her straight in the eye.

“I love those earrings,” she said.

The older woman’s face transformed with joy.

“I was just wondering if there was any way to tell you that I appreciate your whole entire look!” she said.

The two women shared a deep laugh, then shook it off, looked back down at their phones and rode on in silence.

At 42nd Street, the younger woman stood up. She turned back as the doors opened and put her hand on the older woman’s shoulder, startling her.

“I really hope you have a great day,” she said.

“Well, you started it,” the older woman said, before returning to her phone with a little smile playing at the corner of her lips.

— Milda M. De Voe


Playing Through

Dear Diary:

I was on my way to meet a friend for dinner in Carroll Gardens on a hot summer night when I approached a man who was practicing his golf swing on the sidewalk.

“Fore!” I said, giving him a heads-up that I would be walking by.

He lowered his club to let me pass.

“I hope you make par on this one,” I said.

“I play this course a lot,” he replied. “I might even birdie.”

— Lisa Ruland

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Illustrations by Agnes Lee


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