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‘We Banged on the Trunk of His Cab and Reprimanded Him’

‘We Banged on the Trunk of His Cab and Reprimanded Him’
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‘We Banged on the Trunk of His Cab and Reprimanded Him’

‘We Banged on the Trunk of His Cab and Reprimanded Him’

Dear Diary:

When I was at Barnard College, my best friend and I often walked into town from campus on weekend mornings. At full speed and singing extracts from musicals at the top of our lungs, we owned the world.

One day, a taxi driver cut us off at a crosswalk.

Outraged, we banged on the trunk of his taxi and berated him.

The window slid down to reveal the grumpy man behind the wheel.

“Ah, get over it,” he said. “Worse things have happened to better people. “

My friend and I looked at each other in disbelief and said the same thing aloud at the same time: “Better people?

– Catherine Puranananda


Dear Diary:

My aunt, a lifelong opera enthusiast, started taking me to the old Met at the age of 16. His enthusiasm for a performance often overwhelmed me as well.

At the age of 20, Lincoln Center was the opera’s glamorous new home and, feeling very tall, I decided to head into town on my own to listen to “La Bohème”.

I got into a taxi waiting in front of the port authority.

– Lincoln Center, I say intelligently.

“Opera?” the driver asked, stepping away from the sidewalk.

– Yes, I say.

“Do you like opera?” he asked, somewhat surprised.

“Oh yes,” I replied cheerfully, trying to play the part of my aunt.

With that, to my surprise, he erupted in a high-pitched falsetto voice and began to sing “Ave Maria”.

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I was flabbergasted. How are you supposed to react stuck in the back of a taxi speeding through the city center with a driver singing his heart out?

He caught my attention in the rearview mirror. I think he sensed my discomfort, but he continued to sing with a broad smile on his face.

Then I thought of my aunt and realized that she would have been delighted.

Her solo ended around the time we got to Lincoln Center.

“Well done!” I said, handing him the ticket and getting out of the taxi.

“Thank you.” he cried. “Enjoy the show!”

“Oh, I already did! I replied as I walked through the plaza.

– Leonora Green


Dear Diary:

I take the A train
Going into town
In search of a street
Called Memory Lane

It hurts to hear a Harlem chorus
In an old famous swinging club then
I take the A train

We smoke now I can’t complain
A brass token takes me
Uptown, not down
I take the A train
That boy with the horn
Has he retained
The art of blowing such
Its bittersweet?
To discover
I take the A train

This famous old club
Ah, what was his name?
The Duke played there
And taking his word
I take the A train

I remember through the smoke
Black eyes ask,
Am i blue
A shrill riff of steel wheels
Carries me to the top of town
The island of dreams
I take the A train

We are slowing down
I go
Uptown not down
I take the A train
In search of a street
Called Memory Lane

– Sharon Williams


Dear Diary:

In the early 1960s, I was a student at the School of American Ballet, the official academy of New York City Ballet. I liked all the dancers in the company, but Jacques d’Amboise was my favorite. It was seeing him in “Apollo” by Balanchine which led me to ballet school.

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Forty years later, I was working in London and saw that the National Dance Institute was offering a two-week teacher training program in New York. Jacques had founded the institute in 1976 to give New York school children first-hand experience in the arts.

I knew I was well over the usual recruiting age. A friend who had known Jacques from their beginnings together at City Ballet wrote to him on my behalf and I was accepted into the program.

During our first workshop, Jacques entered the workshop.

“Where’s Kaye’s friend?” ” He shouted.

I pushed my way past the other dancers and stood facing him. I told him how much seeing him dance Apollo on that little downtown stage had meant to me.

He began to hum a few bars of Stravinsky’s score, rising in demi-pointe, his arms encircling his head.

He was Apollo again.

– Madeleine Piepes Nicklin


Dear Diary:

I was taking the N train from Manhattan to Queens on a sunny Saturday afternoon recently when a woman in a brightly colored sundress and big round glasses leaned out the door of our subway car in stopped Lexington Avenue and shouted, “Alfredo! “

A gray-haired man sitting across from me intervened.

“Fettuccine,” he said.

I laughed. I was the only one of the dozen nearby passengers who seemed to have heard and understood the joke.

Minutes later, after the train surfaced under the East River and proceeded to Queensboro Plaza, the man stood up to exit the train.

He turned to me as he walked through the door.

“Farewell, linguine,” he cried.

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– Cynthia Wachtell

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Illustrations by Agnès Lee


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