‘Horrified, I Watched the Beads Come Off and Bounce Onto the Asphalt’

Dear Diary:

It was September 1994, and my boss and I were headed back to our Midtown hotel after a business meeting.

I was wearing a long, crystal-beaded necklace I had inherited from my grandmother. Getting out of the taxi, it got caught on the edge of a leather folder I was carrying, and the string broke immediately.

Horrified, I watched the beads come off and bounce onto the asphalt. It was rush hour, and there was no way to pick them up in the traffic.

Clutching what remained of the necklace to my chest, I followed my boss to the mezzanine bar. She was unfazed by my drama and wanted to drink and debrief.

Unable to focus, I went to a large window in the lounge and looked down. There were the beads, twinkling brightly on the street as cars zipped by.

I had to do something, although I wasn’t sure what.

“I’m going back down,” I told my boss. She sipped her Tom Collins and scowled.

Down on the sidewalk, I saw that the traffic had increased. My rescue mission felt impossible.

Then, in one magical moment, the street emptied of vehicles and became quiet. The rhythm of the avenue stoplights was suddenly on my side.

I ran into the street and began picking up beads.

“You need help?” a guy shouted from the curb.

“Yeah! Yeah!” I shouted back.

He joined me, and then another person did, and then another, all of us playing beat the clock.

When the traffic started moving, my helpers met me at the curb, smiling as they dumped beads into my hands. Some of the beads were gone, but we had retrieved enough for me to restring the necklace.

— Karen Yates

Dear Diary:

I was standing on the corner, waiting for the light to change. Two women were chatting nearby.

“Didja hear?” one said to the other. “My husband has a price on his head.”

“No!” the second woman replied.

They both smiled.

— Andy Robinson

Dear Diary:

I was walking alone down Canal Street to the East Broadway F station on a Saturday night in February when two older men approached me near Eldridge Street. One asked for directions to the subway.

I asked which train he was looking for.

“We’re trying to get to 46th and Fifth, so what is that, the B.M.T.?”

I laughed.

“When was the last time you were in New York,” I asked. “1968?”

“1970,” he replied matter-of-factly.

I explained that the train lines now went by numbers and letters only, that the F was nearby, that it would take them to close to their destination and that I was going there myself and would be happy to show them the way.

As we walked to the station, the man who had asked about the B.M.T. told me he had immigrated to New York from France when he was 14, had attended City College with the man he was with now and had driven a taxi in the city for a time before leaving in 1970.

When he marveled at how much Chinatown had grown since he had left, I explained that Manhattan’s Chinatown was now smaller than those in Queens and Brooklyn.

When we got to the station, the man asked me how to pay the fare. He was impressed when I showed him how to pay by tapping a credit card.

“What’s the fare these days?” his friend asked.

I told him it was $2.90.

“Nooooooo!” he cried.

— Aaron Chase

Dear Diary:

Anything is possible in Coney.
Everyone believes that dreams come true.
It’s an Eden of illusion,
That indulges your confusion,
A mystery without a clue.

Everything is wonderful in Coney.
The Ferris wheel will bring you to the sky.
As you gaze across the ocean,
You can somehow get the notion,
You will soar and you will fly,

I found my love, she’s gone now, in Coney.
In Coney.

Everything is possible in Coney.
In Coney Island all your dreams come true.
You must never ask what is it,
But just know that it’s exquisite,
And all you’d ever want
Is there for you.

— Lou Craft

Dear Diary:

I was at a performance of “Days of Wine and Roses” on Broadway and seated in the mezzanine in front of a small group of charming but quintessentially talkative New Yorkers.

Shortly before the show began, they became anxious to get an extra program. They waved and called for help, but could not seem to summon the word “usher.”

“Excuse me!” one shouted. “Theater worker!”

“Program person!” another said. “Stage hand? Stage hand!”

An usher wandered over with a bemused expression on his face.

“Is that right?” one person in the group asked. “Is stage hand what we call you?”

The usher smiled.

“No,” he said, a twinkle in his eye. “You can just call me the guy who’s given up on his dreams and is here to collect your trash.”

— Christa Scott-Reed

#Horrified #Watched #Beads #Bounce #Asphalt

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