On Main Street
In the fall of 1969, I was a college freshman commuting from Bayside to Manhattan by bus and subway.
One September morning in particular, as I took my usual seat on the Q13, I noticed an attractive but unknown man sitting in the back of the bus struggling with a bunch of textbooks.
The bus filled up quickly and by the time we got to Main Street I had lost sight of him – until he found himself sitting right across from me on No.7.
We exchanged a bit of awkward eye contact, then made an obvious attempt to avoid it, as if to dispel any glimmers of mutual attraction.
Later that afternoon, as I walked home from class, a bit of fate intervened and he and I ended up in the same subway car.
When he got out of the station and walked to the back of the line for the bus, I leaned over and patted his arm as he walked past me.
“Are you following me?” I asked.
He shook his head, smiled and laughed. By the time we got off the bus together, this handsome but unknown man was no longer familiar to me.
– Cheryl Hurr Gordon
NYPL on the SIU
I pity the poor encyclopedia,
Sad and dull and dusty.
Does anyone here want to readeeya?
Long ago you were judged, true and faithful.
Every woman, every child and every manica,
Once you have browsed your pages, browsed
The treasures of old Britannica,
Now unwanted, unloved and unused.
Can’t they see you’re good looking, appreciate you?
Will they stroke your pages once more?
Why is wanting attention foiled,
When you have knowledge and information galore?
There you sit on the shelves; you are a martyr,
And ignorant thugs should be warned:
No one here among us is smarter,
Than the mighty tomes they despised.
I pity the poor encyclopedia,
Suffering from silent discomfort,
Sexy screens and alluring new media
That’s what’s on the menu these days.
– Lou Craft
My boyfriend and I broke up not long ago. Within days, I was in a new apartment.
Unpacking was difficult. With every box I find relics of a lifetime that have been tangled up like headphones in your pocket.
One morning a friend and I went for a walk in Central Park. I told him I felt weak and numb and generally terrible. He said that in early January he found himself sitting at his desk crying from a feeling he couldn’t quite pinpoint.
By the time we got back to my position, we were both a bit of a mess, clearly fragile, and we were speaking in sentences that weren’t fully formed.
On the second floor of my new building there is only one balcony. Every morning I see a middle aged woman perched there with a beret and a cigarette. She is also new to the building.
That morning we said hello to each other. Now I walked inside quickly.
About an hour later, I heard a knock on my door. When I opened it, I found a plate of chocolate chip cookies arranged around a bowl of raspberries.
“Welcome # 5!” said the note, with a peace sign and a poem by Fariha Roísín attached. “Girls from n ° 3.”
For the first time in weeks, I breathed.
– Julia Borenstein
In the early hours
When I was a teenager growing up in the Morris Park section of the Bronx in the 1970s, there were many nights my friends and I would walk “the city” to see concerts in the Garden or Central. Park.
Invariably, coming home at the end of our evening would take us back to the Bronx in the wee hours of the morning.
Knowing that the bakery opposite the church there would be bread before dawn, we knocked on the screen door at the back.
One of the guys would come out and give us some “Italian” breads and a block of butter to share.
I don’t remember all the music I heard on those wild nights, but I do remember sitting on the sidewalk under a lamppost and eating hot bread and butter before coming home.
– Donna Di Paolo
It was the early days of the iPod and mine had just broken.
I took it to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue. Using the vocabulary of a third grader, I tried to explain to a man from the “genius bar” what was wrong.
He took my device to the back of the store and returned with it shortly after.
“I found your problem,” he says. “You have way too many Aces of Base on this.”
– Meredith Begley
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Illustrations by Agnes Lee