My pieces in The New York Times Metropolitan Diary

Revised July 2, 2018 – Welcome, New York Times readers and fans of the Metropolitan Diary! If you followed a link to this site from David W. Dunlap’s fine article about the column’s history, you can read more about our November 2016 anniversary celebration here.

Below are my Metropolitan Diary items, and my thoughts about the column. If you enjoy them, I’d love to hear from you.

Illustration by VICTOR KERLOW

“Godfather Waltz” ( | A haunting melody heard through the courtyards. | July 2, 2018

“A Stranger in the Building on Official Business” ( | At first, he thought maybe the woman in the elevator was from a utility company. Then things got interesting. | April 13, 2017

“Ivy Hears Me in the Hall ( | A poem about a neighbor’s sweet potato pie. | October 13, 2016

“A Practice Nook in the Subway” ( | A singer found a great acoustical cul-de-sac in a Midtown station where he could exercise his scales. | April 16, 2015

“A Reader at Home in Middle-Earth” ( | With his scruffy beard, ginger hair and eyes matching those on the dust jacket, the subway rider looked like the Tolkien characters he was reading about. | January 21, 2015

“A Busker Counts His Coins” ( | An occasional subway performer reflected on how people’s gratitude for his singing meant more to him than the money. | August 24, 2014
Illustration by LARS LEETARU

“A Misunderstanding at the Starbucks Counter” ( | A customer hears what he thinks is racially offensive coffee terminology. | May 22, 2012

“The Motormouth” ( | A memorable quip from a hilarious cabby. | March 29, 2010

“The Lollipop” ( | A sweet but sticky subway situation. | May 5, 2008

“The Goose” ( | A cabby and his passenger kick off the holidays together. | December 19, 2007

“The Tourists” ( | Visitors to New York City get an exciting firehouse tour, but no pole dancing. | March 19, 2007

“The Everything Bagel” ( | My first Diary piece, about an unintentional quip that never fails to make me smile. | May 29, 2006

– Paul


Each Monday in its print edition, and each weekday online, The New York Times publishes reader submissions about life in New York City in the much-loved and widely read “Metropolitan Diary” column. It’s a day-brightener of anecdotes, cute stories, overheard conversations and acts of kindness which reflect the city’s unique signature.  The Diary was edited and curated by Michael Pollak during most of time I have contributed; since the fall of 2016, Ed Shanahan has been at the helm. The column has run since November 1976 (

It has been a distinct honor to have had a number of my original works of creative nonfiction and poetry, some of them autobiographical, selected for publication in this column. At last I can say I am a regular contributor. Entries are published under my byline (and some listed in the Times’s author index).  Two stories were cleverly illustrated; one by Lars Leetaru (“The Tourists”), and one by Victor Kerlow (“A Busker Counts His Coins”).

I look forward to submitting more work for consideration, keeping my fingers crossed each time I hit the send button, and joyfully sharing my pieces when they appear in the column.

In the future, I plan to coordinate gatherings here in NYC for other Diary contributors, for fun, support, and the joy of sharing our experiences with each other over lunch. If you are a published Diary contributor and wish to receive invitations to these private gatherings, contact me at

– p.k.