I was relocating from Michigan to be with my girlfriend. Moving in together meant packing her things and moving them a block east.
Naturally, I balked at hiring movers.
I learned that day that a block is actually pretty long, east to west, and our short move quickly descended into five grueling hours of hauling, hoisting, and cursing my Midwestern naïveté.
When the time came for our last trip, I hastily overloaded our rented dolly. I was eager to be done. Too eager.
We had almost made it across Eighth Avenue when one of the dolly wheels caught hold of the moving blanket dangling over its front edge.
With a sudden jerk, half the blanket disappeared and became a hopeless, tangled mess. In an instant, we were stuck in the bike lane with the light about to change.
My girlfriend paced nervous circles around the dolly while my head spun. For a moment, I felt ready to let angry cyclists run me down and take the Ikea drawers with me.
Just then, a woman with sandy, close-cropped hair and a kind face appeared. She looked me in the eye, bent down low and put a hand on the dolly.
“You and I are going to lift this straight into the air,” she said, then gestured toward my girlfriend. “And she’s going to pull that blanket out. Are you ready? We can do this.”
With fresh fire in my heart, I helped her lift, and the bike lane was quickly cleared.
I stood on the sidewalk, breathing hard with my hands on my hips, struggling to find words.
“Have a nice day,” the woman said. And then she was gone.
— Danny McAlindon
Long Walk Home
It was 5:30 p.m., and I was walking home nine blocks with my 14-month-old son. It was hot out, and he was screaming.
He did not want to sit in the stroller. He wanted me to carry him. But I was holding my purse and his diaper bag and I was pushing the stroller. I couldn’t carry him and everything else.
I cringed as people passed me. Did they think I was a horrible mother? My son continued to scream as we kept walking. I started to cry.
At one point, I stopped to readjust and to try to comfort my son. We only had four blocks to go.
An older man was sitting on a nearby stoop. He had probably heard us coming from a block away. He watched me struggling and my son crying.
The man looked at me, and I braced for a negative comment.
He shrugged and smiled.
“Maybe he is practicing to be an opera singer,” he said.
— Eileen Adder
In the early 1980s, before it expanded to its present size, the Frick Collection was a much more intimate museum with a small coat check room just off the entrance.
On the rainy autumn afternoon when I visited, an older woman was taking coats and bags. We chatted while she took my umbrella.
When I gave her my raincoat, I asked her to please handle it with care as it was about to lose a button.
Later, as I boarded the Madison Avenue bus, I began to button my raincoat. As I did, I realized that the woman at the coat check had sewn the loose button back on.
— Jessica Weber
It was September 1969. I was on Columbus Avenue somewhere in the mid-90s motorcycling toward my place on West 81st Street at around 9 p.m.
I was riding very slowly, mesmerized by the complex symphony of clicks, purrs, clacks and whirs my brand-new CB 750 Honda’s overhead camshaft, four-cylinder engine was performing.
Suddenly, I sensed a presence to my left.
Turning my head, I saw a topless Mercedes-Benz SSK roadster circa 1930. The driver was wearing a large flat cap and an equally oversize pair of jet-black shades. He looked directly at me, nodded slowly and pulled away.
It was Miles Davis.
— Tom Benghauser
I walked across the street from my apartment in Chelsea to grab breakfast at a bodega.
As I waited to order, the man behind the counter looked up at the woman in front of me.
“Good morning,” she said.
Without replying, he began to whip up a delicious-looking bacon, tomato and Swiss cheese omelet that he folded onto a golden croissant.
He wrapped up the sandwich, handed it to the woman and turned his eyes to me.
“I’ll have the Good Morning,” I said.
He gave me a blank, inquisitive look.
“I’ll have the Good Morning sandwich like that one you just made,” I said.
The counterman chuckled.
“That lady’s been coming in here for the last 10 years and orders the same thing every day,” he said.
— Rob Beck
Illustrations by Agnes Lee
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