Good Deeds, Part 2

emmawatson  Emma Watson’s Good Deed: Putting books in the NYC subway to be found and enjoyed.


As I mentioned last time, the “Metropolitan Diary” has been a place for New Yorkers to share their important moments with the New York Times and its readers. Here are 4 more letters submitted to, and published in, the Times recently.

Two Dogs on a Sidewalk Named Desire by Paul Genega   June 8, 2017

We combined two names for our beagle pup: Stanley Kowalski, for the macho hunter in him, and Stan Laurel, for his sweeter, gentler side.

On one of his first forays onto the streets of the Upper West Side, he was sniffing wildly as he walked one cautious step at a time. On Broadway, about a block from our apartment, a young man approached with his own floppy-eared puppy in tow, much larger and heavier but clearly a cousin hound.

“And who do we have here?” the dog’s owner asked, crouching down to say hello.

“Stanley Laurel Kowalski,” we answered, proudly.

“Well…I do…I do declare,” he said, grinning. “Meet Blanche DuBassett.”


“Upstreamed” While Hailing a Cab on West End Avenue by David Rapkin                         May 17, 2017

On a cold Friday night on West End Avenue at 83rd Street, an older man and woman hailed a cab that flashed its lights in response.

As the cab waited for the the light to change, a young man grabbed it. The older man could be heard saying to his wife that being “upstreamed” was part of New York City life and to be accepted.

The young man unexpectedly jumped from the cab, approached the couple, apologized and turned toward Broadway to find another cab.

The older man saw a second cab and hailed it, calling out to the younger man, who happily climbed in.

Only in New York can being upstreamed create an encouraging circle of good citizenship.


Spotting Celebrities on His Lunch Break by John Cunningham   June 7, 2017

In 1988, I was working for a bank on 57th Street and Park Avenue. I spent my lunch hours walking around Midtown, grabbing a quick bite, and then returning to work. Invariably, I would see a celebrity at least once or twice a week and would tell my co-workers about these encounters.

After a while, a few colleagues challenged me over how truthful I was, saying that they had been working in the neighborhood for years and had never seen anyone famous.

I said I had a habit of looking into the face of every person who walked by me or stood next to me on the street, something that maybe most people did not do. “I’m not telling any tall tales,” I said.

One day, my friend Tracey said, “I’m going to lunch with you tomorrow, and we better meet a celebrity.”

The next day came, and we left the office together and walked 10 yards to the corner to wait for the light.

“Have you spotted any yet?” I asked her.

She looked incredulous, “What –we just left,” she said.

I leaned across her to the gentleman standing to her right. It was Henry Winkler. I asked if I could shake his hand and thank him for all the wonderful memories he gave to us as Fonzie. He was quite gracious.

After shaking his hand, Tracey turned around and went right back to the office, no doubt to tell everyone about her new friend Henry.


My First Panic Attack by Nadia Owusu   March 23, 2017

I had just moved to New York from Kampala, Uganda, to start college at Pace University. I was on a bus, on my way to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

My Uncle Bob, with whom I stayed for a week in the Bronx before moving into my dorm, told me to get a nondriver identification card and to lock my passport away in a secure place. Identities, he said, are stolen in America every day.

I was squashed between a couple arguing about whose fault it was that Grandma Jean was not coming to Larry’s birthday party. I couldn’t see above or around them, and I was certain that I would miss my stop and end up in a part of the city full of guns and heroin and people who stole identities.

I was clutching my passport,sweat dripping from my armpits and my heart racing. I felt my vision start to blur. The couple stopped bickering.

“You O. K., baby?” the woman asked.

I nodded and felt myself falling backward into her husband’s pillowy flesh.

When I came to, I was lying on the sidewalk with my head in the woman’s lap. Her husband, shouting that he didn’t have a cellphone, motioned for someone to stop. He reached out to grab the sleeve of a man with a briefcase. The man fluttered his hand and kept going.

Finally, a young woman stopped and handed over her phone. An ambulance arrived, sirens screeching.

In the emergency room, a baby-faced doctor asked me some questions. He listened to my heart, and then told me I should try to be less anxious.







About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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