“I’m just so tired of my body failing me in different ways,” I heard a woman behind me say as I was crossing a street in Morningside Heights.
“You should just do what my grandma did,” her male companion replied. “Just remove your spleen.”
The woman gasped.
“You can do that?” she said. “Just live without a spleen?”
“Yeah, I mean, she’s doing it,” the man said as we reached the other side of the street.
“Well, then, get it out of me!” the woman said as they walked off up Broadway.
— John Finnegan
Good First Date
I was on a very good first date in Riverside Park, but I had to meet friends near the Museum of Natural History.
Since I was new to New York, my date gave me directions to the nearest train station. We hugged goodbye, and I started to walk toward West 110th Street, glancing down every 30 seconds at Google Maps.
As I was walking, I heard someone driving down the street yell, “Hey!”
I pretended not to notice.
“Hey! Hey, you!”
Now other people were looking at me. Oh no.
Reluctantly, I turned my head to see a young man in a van. He stopped at a red light beside me.
“Come here,” he said.
I complied. He was grinning.
“She likes you,” he said.
“It’s all in the body language,” he said.
I stood there, perplexed.
“That woman you were with, giving you directions,” the van man said. “She likes you. I could tell.”
I cracked a smile.
“Thanks, man,” I said. “That’s good news.”
“No problem,” he said. “We’ve got to look out for each other.”
The light changed and he drove off. I continued walking, this time without looking down at Google Maps.
— Ben Cohen
A T-Bone Rides the 1
A T-bone steak was riding the uptown 1 train on the evening of July 5. I noticed this oddity when I boarded at 34th Street. The steak sat alone at the end of a row of orange seats: fresh, bright red and grocery-wrapped in plastic on a white, plastic foam tray.
Passengers were fully distancing themselves, almost shunning this conspicuous item. (It looked fine, actually.)
I broke the ice.
“Look, a T-bone.”
The couple next to me supposed that someone had dropped it.
“Manager’s special,” the man noted. It was 1.03 lbs., $7.99/lb., from Ideal Marketplace.
The couple got up to leave. I had taken an open seat across from the steak, so the row was empty again.
“If you want to enjoy that T-bone,” the man said, giving a friendly slap on the back as he got off the train, “it’ll be our secret.”
At the next stop, a small man in moccasin slippers and no shirt got on. The white tray took up half of the seat next to the door, and he sat on the other half, over the molded seat ridge. Odd.
“T-bone,” I said, gesturing toward the meat. “Full pound.”
The man peered to his side. Eventually he became curious, picked up the steak, felt it and then tossed it a seat or two away.
I thought about using the other guy’s line on him when I left. But I missed my chance. The man in the moccasins exited hastily at 86th Street. He had grabbed the steak. And I never promised him it would be our secret.
(Really, I’m sure it was perfectly fine.)
— Paul Klenk
One early fall morning some years ago, I decided to walk to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and spend a few hours there before meeting a friend for lunch.
It was one of those days when the weather could not make up its mind between bright and sunny or cool and cloudy. I grabbed a sweater from the closet, wrapped it around my waist and set off.
After wandering through the museum’s galleries for a while, I headed south on Fifth Avenue to meet my friend. The sun had just disappeared behind a large bank of gray clouds, and I was glad I’d brought a sweater.
Standing at a corner waiting for the light to change, a man at a hot-dog stand waved and called out to me.
“Lady, are you walking as far as 72nd Street?” he asked me.
He reached under his cart and pulled out a light blue windbreaker.
“Could you please take this to my wife?” he said. “She has a hot dog cart just like this one.”
“Of course,” I replied, grabbing the jacket just as the light turned green. The man grinned and waved.
About 10 minutes later, I spotted a shiny steel hot-dog cart. A woman stood beside it, her shirt collar turned up against the cool breeze.
“Your husband sent you this,” I said, handing her the jacket.
“Oh, thank you so much,” she replied with a smile, quickly putting the jacket on. “He is a good man.”
— Faith Andrews Bedford
I was crossing a street in Midtown Manhattan. I noticed a man approaching from the left. We reached the corner at the same time.
I stopped to let him pass.
“Please,” he said. “You go. I’m retired. I don’t have to be anywhere.”
— Arthur Flug