Adam Gopnik's Metropolitan Diary

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Dear Diary: To be filed under "T for That's New Yorkers for ya": Setting: The M4 Limited. Dramatis Personae: the commuting population of Manhattan, and a male writer of a certain age, wearing an insouciantly knotted ascot, who appears to have recently traveled to France. The population throws off dozens of make-your-day anecdotes, which the straphanging scribe strains to sample.

Writer [thinking out loud]: "Oh-la-la, this is great material! Certainement, I could get
3,000 words out of this, pas de problËme !"

An elegantly dressed Melodie Bryant, seated at the writer's crotch retorts: "3,000 words? Where you from, pal? Take it from me, the Times never runs anything over 150."

There was a sudden silence from the passengers, and then applause.

The sunny Hearst intern who witnessed the incident later emailed her phonecam pictures of the crestfallen writer to Gawker.

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This is an offering for possible publication in Metropoloitan Diary. Couldn't find where else to send it.

Having lived in New York for many years and loving the Metropolitan Museum, I was glad to be visiting again from my home in San Francisco.

At 41st Street and 5th Avenue I was ready to walk to 85th and thought it might be a good idea to get lunch before beginning the jaunt.

Stopping at a small, unimpressive coffee shop at about 11:15 AM, I ordered a sandwich - my mouth already opened and poised to consume it ,after seeing the rather unexpected price. Somewhere near $9.50.

At 11:30 the sandwich was delivered, as was the request of the serious, unsmiling waiter: "Please finish this by around 11:45AM"

When I asked him why he said that, he informed me with a tone indicating I should have been able to figure it out myself: "Because the lunch crowd will be here by then".

Marlyeen Stettner
San Francisco

(Can you let me know if you will publish this?)

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

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first published: April 28, 2003.

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