A few years ago, I helped drive a panel truck filled with a dozen heavy Omaha sculptures to a gallery in SoHo. My traveling companion was Lee Lubbers, a sculptor and Jesuit priest at Creighton University.
His medium at the time was recycled boxcar axles. He heated them in a huge furnace owned by the Union Pacific Railroad and then, using a giant hydraulic anvil, forged them into a modern steel menhir that weighed three-quarters of a ton and was about 11 and a half feet tall. from above.
We were assured twice before leaving for New York that the gallery had a 12 foot ceiling.
After arriving on a cold, gray afternoon, we unloaded the first of the sculptures and tried to erect it, only to find that the gallery’s 12ft ceiling had apparently shrunk to around 11ft.
We retired to a nearby store to discuss our options over coffee. There was only one other person, a woman, there, and she obviously hadn’t been served yet. She sat down at a small table, seemingly unable to get the attention of the man serving us.
After continuing to ignore her for a while, he finally looked at her.
“What’s wrong?” he said in an annoyed tone.
“I don’t feel well,” replied the woman.
“When you’re not feeling well,” he said after a pause, “you go to the doctor, not the deli.”
“I just got out of the doctor,” she said.
“What did the doctor say?”
“He said go down to the deli and get yourself a cup of tea.”
—Michael M. Dorcy
It was a beautiful spring day in April 1971 and “cutting day” at my high school in New Jersey. It was my senior year, and four of my girlfriends and I decided to go to New York to do some shopping. It was only a 50 minute drive and we couldn’t wait to get to Bloomingdale’s.
When we arrived at the store, we immediately hopped on an escalator to the junior department on the second floor.
Halfway we heard a familiar voice and saw a friend’s mother coming down the descending escalator. She waved at us and smiled.
“Oh, hello, girls,” she cried, “we’ll talk tonight.”
My husband, son and I were on a Q train from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The car was quite crowded and we had to stand near one of the poles.
A young girl who was sitting next to her father leaned over to him. She must have been about 8 years old.
“This train is really old,” I heard him whisper in his ear.
A young man of about 22 with hair dyed bright yellow stood nearby.
“I’m sorry to interrupt you,” he said, “I couldn’t help but overhear. But did you know that they started making this train when my grandfather was a boy? »
The other passengers started smiling.
“And now they throw them in the ocean when they’re done with them,” the young man added.
“Yeah,” someone else said. “They grow reefs there!”
People started nodding their heads in agreement.
“Your hair is golden!” an older woman shouted at the younger man.
“My friends and I had a little too much fun last night and that’s what happened,” he said. “My mother is going to kill me.”
“Well, I think you look brave,” the older woman said.
— Suzanne Pettypiece
Parking all night
One evening, after searching for parking in Washington Heights for almost an hour, I reluctantly decided to put my car in a garage.
Upon finding one, I asked the attendant if they had picked up any cars overnight.
Yes, he said, for $40.
As I rummaged through my wallet, the attendant waved at me, then pointed to a car parked in a spot just outside the garage entrance.
Even though he didn’t speak English very well and I didn’t really understand what he was saying, I realized that the car he was pointing at was his. It soon became clear that he was offering me his seat instead – for $25 cash.
A few minutes later, I was happily walking to my destination, and he was enjoying the fruits of an enterprising approach to solving my parking problem.
Back when the area of Lower Manhattan where the World Trade Center was located was known as Radio Row, I went there to buy a platinum cartridge.
I went to a store that was usually my first stop and offered a $90 price tag. I then went to a second store, where I was quoted a price of $75 but was told the cartridges were out of stock.
Back at the first store, I asked the salesman if he would accept his rival’s price.
“Why didn’t you buy it there?” He asked.
“They were out of stock,” he said.
“OK,” he said, “so we’re also out of stock and the price is $65.”
Illustrations by Agnes Lee