‘Without Discussing It, My Partner and I Joined In for the Chorus’avril 4, 2021
On Underhill Avenue in my Brooklyn neighborhood, there is a mural depicting Underdog, the canine superhero of my childhood, on the side of a building.
One day, as my partner and I walked past it with our own dog in tow, a man walking behind us began to sing the “Underdog” theme.
Without discussing it, my partner and I joined in for the chorus:
“Speed of lightning, roar of thunder, fighting all who rob or plunder. Underdog. Underdog!”
Our very own superhero adventure on the way to the park.
— Jon Reiss
Black Felt Skirt
When I commuted to New York from New Jersey many years ago, I would take a train and then a ferry that would drop my in Lower Manhattan, where I would walk up Liberty Street to the BMT subway. In good weather, it could be a pleasant trip.
On one particular occasion, I was rather pleased with the new outfit that I had put together to conform to the dress code of my new employer, Saks Fifth Avenue: a black turtleneck sweater topping a circular black felt skirt that I had made that weekend.
Late as usual, I caught the train just as it was about to leave the station. Whirling around the pole, I was grateful to find one of the last available seats.
As I settled in, I noticed a woman who was sitting across from me. At first, she smiled. Then she began to sort of giggle. Finally, I could see that she was stifling an outright laugh.
I looked to my right to see what was so amusing.
Sitting next to me was a well-dressed young gentleman. He was sitting somewhat stiffly and staring straight ahead in an almost frozen state.
Draped across his lap was nearly half of my circular black felt skirt.
— Lois Pauley
Friday Out for a Walk
It’s a good-looking bolt of lightning
carrying a briefcase, looking straight ahead.
Bryant Park on the right, posing for pictures.
When a horse eats an apple offered by a little girl,
all the traffic lights get out of bed
and turn green.
High heels walking down Fifth Avenue.
Fifth Avenue’s a good sport.
Bryant Park around the corner
doesn’t mind the butterfly caracoling
off the side of three o’clock,
the hour in the city visiting friends.
The streets limbering up to dance
take note of the dress shops
batting their eyelashes
and smiling as you stroll by.
— Ernest Slyman
It was two days after my 28th birthday and the middle of a blizzard in February 2017. I went to a meeting and afterward, with the rest of the day halted because of the weather, I stopped at Veselka to drink coffee and eat at the counter.
I struck up a conversation with a young man who was sitting to my left. He said he was about to embark on a nine-hour bike messenger shift.
He had a thin mustache and tangly, Kurt Cobain-style blond hair and was dressed all in black . Underdressed, really, with just a leather motorcycle jacket as his only defense against the ceaseless snow. He ordered challah French toast, eggs over easy and kielbasa.
“My family keeps sending me pictures from home, in Florida,” he said.
“But do you want to be in Florida?” I asked.
“Hell, no,” he replied.
A woman came in and sat down to my right. She ordered borscht and told me that she had been coming there for 30 years. The slice of bread that came with the soup used to be twice as thick, she said.
We talked about politics and mindfulness and being strangely attracted to men while ovulating. She told me that B&H Dairy had vegetarian liver on the menu in 1974.
She said she had an older dog that woke her up too early sometimes. She said she was striving to live in the moment. One day the dog would be gone, she said, and she would curse the days she now took for granted.
She thought the bike messenger and I were related.
“Is that your bro?” she asked, smiling. “Your little bro?”
“Oh, no,” I said. “We’re all just here by chance.”
— Marilyn Haines
Korvettes Had Everything
It was July 1967. I had recently graduated from New York University and was moving into a new apartment at 55th Street and Lexington Avenue.
I walked to E.J. Korvette on 47th Street and Fifth Avenue to buy a vacuum cleaner. Korvettes had everything you could ever need then.
I found the perfect vacuum, an orange-and-tan canister model that weighed 19 pounds. Not wanting to splurge on a cab or lug it on a bus, I decided I could just carry it the 10 or so blocks home.
At 51st Street, I had to set it down to rest a bit before continuing on. A well-dressed older man observed my situation and stopped. I thought he was going to offer to help.
“Nice try,” he said, “but it’ll take more than that to clean up this city.”
And then he walked on.
— Mary Loporcaro