By Leah S. Dunaief
It’s a new year and I have a new suggestion for our readers. Inspired by The New York Times column that is published on Sundays, called Metropolitan Diary, we would like to offer a similar feature. The Diary is made up of short vignettes, sent in by readers, of anecdotes and interactions that occur as part of city life. Each week, while individually interesting, they also reflect the unique tone of what it is like to live in New York City.
We would like to start a Village Diary, perhaps to run once a month, which would be fun to read and also speak of our existence here in Suffolk County. We would have to depend on you to do this because it would consist of stories and conversations you would like to share. They could be anything exemplifying, “Would you believe this!” to “Why I am proud of the place in which I live,” or “This is what my wife said to me at breakfast this morning,” or even “What they yelled at the umpire.”
As an illustration, I can tell you one of my favorites from the NYT about life in the Big Apple. Two couples were sharing a cab ride to the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. The older couple was taking the younger one to their first opera, Verdi’s Otello. The older man was seated in front, and as they rode along, he draped his left arm over the back of the seat and was telling the plot to those in the back. Just as he got to the part of Iago, his green-eyed jealousy, and the misplaced handkerchief, they pulled up in front of Lincoln Center, and he reached over to pay the fare. To his surprise, the cab driver blocked his arm and said, “Nobody leaves this cab until I hear the end.”
There are a couple of encounters I have thought to send in. One involves parking my car in the theater district. Because I have special plates, I usually park on a block west of the district that has four spaces reserved for those cars. This time, when my friend and I pulled up at the usual place, the spots were taken by cars without proper plates. “Where else can you park?” asked my friend.
As I sat there, my head down, trying to think of alternatives, there was a knock at my window. Surprised, I turned to see a smiling man in an orange jumpsuit. When I opened the window, he asked, “Want a parking space? Wait two minutes and you can have four.” I looked back and there was a long, flatbed truck with a huge hook on the end.
True to his word, he had pulled the illegally parked cars onto his truck in a couple of minutes, and with a wave, he and his load were off. I now had my choice of spot. “You are lucky I am here as a witness,” commented my friend. “No one would believe this story.”
Another such incident involved a friend who was visiting from Boston and was driving us both into the city. Only when she had stopped alongside the electronic machine of the EZ Pass lane at the entrance to the tunnel, did she realize she was not driving the car with the pass on the windshield. “You can’t back up,” I yelled. “Oh my gosh, here comes a cop,” she shouted. Indeed, a police officer was bearing down on us from the next lane, a ticket book in his hand and a deep scowl on his face.
“Whatsa matter wit chou?” he yelled as he reached us. “Don’t ya know hadda drive?”
“I’m so sorry officer,” my friend replied. “I thought I had the other car.” Only she didn’t say “car” but rather “cahhr,” revealing her origin.
“Cahhr? Cahhr?” the policeman repeated. Then, “Go on, get odda here,” and he waved us through the raised gate. We never paid the toll.
Please send any such local stories to [email protected] We will gladly print them.