‘We Lived in Brooklyn, but We Were New York Yankees Fans’



Dear Diary:

It was 1947. Larry Goldberg and I were 13 years old. We lived in Brooklyn, but we were New York Yankees fans.

The World Series that year was a memorable one. The Yankees played the Dodgers, with notables on the field like Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Berra and, of course, Brooklyn’s Jackie Robinson, in his rookie year and first World Series.

The day of Game 1, Larry and I boarded the F train on Church Avenue at 3 a.m. and headed to Yankee Stadium. I doubt very much if my parents would let me go at that age today. (The subway by the way, was 5 cents cash then, no tokens.)

When we got to the stadium, we stopped at Nedick’s for a breakfast special: their famous orange drink, a doughnut and a cup of coffee, all for 15 cents.

We waited on line until 10 a.m., when the gates opened. We bought bleacher tickets for $1 and watched the Yankees do their thing, beating the Dodgers 5-3.

We repeated the adventure for the Game 7, and we saw the Yankees win the game and the series. I still have the ticket stubs.

I am curious where Larry Goldberg is today.

— Bruce Funk


Dear Diary:

Wind in her face,
a little girl window-shopped
on Fifth Avenue.
Her dress,
white and blue lace,
blew like a tiny sail
pressing her on.
And she rolled like a tumbleweed
to the beat of the Christmas-lit city,
she told us,
to the Plaza, where Eloise was waiting.

— Kathryn Anne Sweeney-James


Dear Diary:

It was Friday evening, and my Brooklyn-bound Q train was crawling across the Manhattan Bridge.

I had my head down in a book, making every effort to get through the slog of another slow and crowded commute, while trying to distance myself mentally from the stressful workweek that had just ended.

As the train inched along, an orange light coming through the train’s south-facing windows caught my attention. I peeked up from my book and was met with the usual landmarks: the Brooklyn Bridge, the Lower Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.

These world-class sights were drenched in the glow of a roaring orange sunset. In moments, everyone on the train was either staring, pointing or scrambling for their phones in hopes of snagging a picture before the train dipped off the bridge and back underground.

The train came to a halt.

“Ladies and gentleman,” the train operator said. “We are delayed because of train traffic ahead.”

It was my first time riding the subway that I ever noticed people being grateful for a train delay. We all had just a few more moments to enjoy the view.

— Tim Foy


Dear Diary:

It was May 1983. I was one of about three dozen high-school seniors from a small town in the Upper Midwest who had been raising money for five years for a class trip: a week in New York City.

Like a parade of excited country ducklings, we dutifully trailed our chaperones from one attraction to another, never allowed to stray from the hovering adults’ oversight.

But as we left the World Trade Center’s observation deck, we were given an hour’s freedom to find dinner on our own before meeting our bus to go to the Broadway musical we had tickets to that night.

Most of the group went off together for fast food, but I didn’t want to waste the opportunity. I strolled down the sidewalk in a direction chosen at random, gawking like the bumpkin I was.

Unfamiliar, delicious aromas came out of an open door. I walked in and stood staring at the menu board. I didn’t recognize anything except the names of the soft drinks.

The man behind the counter was thin and bearded and he was wearing a stained apron. In a heavily accented voice, he asked what I wanted.

“I don’t know,” I stammered. “I don’t know what anything is. Give me what you think I should have.”

He handed me a loaded plate.

I reached for my wallet.

”No,” he said. “No pay. You eat. You like, yes?”

I think that the expression on my face, after a first tentative bite, must have answered him sufficiently. He laughed and turned away.

I don’t recall which show we saw that night. Much of the trip has faded and run together in my memory. But a bite of a really good gyro can still take me back across the decades to that late spring day.

— Nita L. Lewis


Dear Diary:

I stopped on the way to work as usual to get a coffee from a cart on 55th Street and Seventh Avenue.

“Good morning, David!” I said to the coffee man.

“Good morning sweetheart,” he said. “Happy Friday.”

I was dismayed at having to the break the news to him, but I let him know it was only Thursday.

“Actually,” the man standing behind me said, “It’s Wednesday.”

— Heda Hokschirr

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Illustrations by Agnes Lee

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