2006-12-18 Metropolitan Diary analysis
Continuing my catch-up, but this has disappeared into the Times Select netherworld. I quote it in its entirety below but if you have Select you can see the original.
It happened one rainy morning on the bus going down to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Cast of characters:
My cousin Blanche, a friendly, great-grandmotherly woman.
Young mother with two very young children in tow: approximately 4-year-old daughter, approximately 2-year-old son.
Blanche to little girl: ''What are you doing on the bus on such a nasty, rainy day?''
Little girl: ''We're going to the museum.''
Blanche: ''Oh! I'm going there too. What are you going to see?''
Little girl: ''We're going to look at the broken statues.''
Blanche: ''Oh my! Broken statues! I wonder who broke them!''
Little girl: Pointing an accusing finger at her younger brother: ''He did!''
And cousin Blanche met me at the museum and we looked at broken statues, too.
Category: Precocious NY Kids (no other explanation is necessary)
Seen on the marquee of the Midway Theater in Forest Hills:
WE NOW SERVE COFFEE
STRANGER THAN FICTION
Category: Amusing Misspellings (it's really an "Unamusing Juxtaposition" but you gotta stick with what you got for categories)
[terrible poem comparing Tiffany's to a dragonfly]
Category: n/a (I don't do poems)
On a Third Avenue bench, I am enjoying a bright warm afternoon viewing the constant passing show of life in New York.
An older woman (my age) approaches with arms akimbo asking (demanding), ''Where's the bus stop?'' (As in, ''What did you do with the bus stop?'') I ask, ''Which bus?'' (There are many on Third.)
She said, ''You know, the one that goes UP and DOWN.''
Although buses only go UP on Third, I instantly know what she means: the bus that goes UP Third, DOWN Second.
''Fiftieth Street,'' I direct (Know-it-all!).
''Harrumph!'' says she on her way UP Third.
Category: New York Eccentrics (a category often used to capture annoying and tiresome interactions with old people such as this)
An elderly friend of ours is a resident of the Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home at York Avenue and 72nd Street. Recently I took her out for her weekly ride in her wheelchair in the neighborhood she has lived in for more than 50 years.
As we crossed York Avenue at 71st Street, we passed in front of an M72 bus stopped at the light. Suddenly the driver began to tap on the windshield, waving enthusiastically at my friend.
When we reached the sidewalk, he opened the door. ''Where have you been?'' he asked. ''I haven't seen you in a long time. You look great. You always do!''
With that, the light changed. A final wave, ''Keep well.'' The door closed and the bus proceeded up York Avenue.
Category: New Yorkers Aren't So Bad, After All! (the nice bus driver remembers the old lady)
After the New York City Ballet's opening-night performance, the promenade lobby at the New York State Theater was beautifully set with decorated tables for the gala dinner. Exquisitely dressed patrons and socialites were making their entrances, and lovely music set the scene. The tables were adorned with sprays of delicate flowers, and waiters stood at attention to serve the guests.
We ordinary audience members from the upper rings passed by this lush setting, and a mother with two 8- or 9-year-old girls was overheard to say, emphatically, ''There are a lot of speeches, very little eating, mediocre food, and we're not invited.''
Category: Precocious NY Kids (for a second I thought the kids had said this, which would have been a slam-dunk for this category, but I'll leave it in, as the mother is saying this to the kids, which tends to indicate that they will either grow up precocious or full of class resentment. Either way, Precocious it is.)
Leaving a delightful concert at Carnegie Hall recently, I walked to the 57th Street station to catch the F train back to Queens. In the station, I first heard and then saw a man playing Vivaldi on his violin. A group of young people were gathered around the older man, quietly listening to the lilting sounds.
When the piece was finished, one young man admiringly said, ''Yo, you play that violin like Tupac raps!''
Category: New Yorkers Aren't So Bad, After All! (uh, because the obviously "urban" kids are enjoying the violin player)
The other morning there is the usual purposeful chaos at the corner store's deli counter on 14th Street.
The counterman shouts, ''What you want?'' and people shout back, ''Black with a buttered roll,'' ''Two, light and sweet,'' and so forth.
A young guy in construction-worker clothes steps up to the counter. The counterman shouts, ''What you want?''
Young guy answers in a thick Eastern European accent, ''I - want - coffee.''
Counterman shouts, ''How you like your coffee?'' The young guy looks puzzled.
Counterman shouts louder, ''HOW YOU LIKE YOUR COFFEE?'' The young guy doesn't understand, so the counterman really shouts, ''HOW - YOU - LIKE - YOUR - COFFEE?''
The young guy now understands and is pleased to answer with complete confidence:
''I like my coffee very much!''
Category: Amusing Misspellings (though not a misspelling, this category is frequently used to indicate "foreigner misunderstands something")
Note: I am withholding the totals for a future "January 1st 2007" entry.