Vote for the Best Urban Diary Entries of 2022

Since 1976, the Metropolitan Diary has published weekly stories for New Yorkers of all ages and generations, no matter where they live now: anecdotes and reminiscences, odd encounters and overheard snippets that shed light on the city spirit and heart.

In 2021, we ask your help to pick the best journal entries of the year. This year, we asked again.

We’ve narrowed it down to five finalists here. Read them and vote for your favorite. The author of the entry with the most votes will receive a print of the illustration with the artist’s signature, Agnes Lee.

voting deadline Monday, December 19, at midnight. Until then, you can change your vote as many times as you want, but you can only choose one, so choose wisely.

Click “Vote” to choose your favorite 2022 Urban Diary entry.

Click “Vote” to choose your favorite 2022 Urban Diary entry.


dear diary:

That was December 1967. I just finished basic training in Fort Dix, NJ and was heading to Boston in uniform. For reasons I no longer remember, I stopped in New York City en route.

Walking on the Upper East Side during a snowstorm, I spotted another man in uniform. He is older, and his hat has the familiar gold band that shows he is an officer.

I simply saluted. It was not returned. The uniform is not familiar, I guess he is a foreign officer. The military salute still requires me to salute.

A little further up the street I met another officer, to whom I saluted again, but was ignored. His uniform also looks weird to me.

The third time this happened, the guy I was saluting to ignored me as he held the door for a couple on their way into a large apartment building.

I realized I had been saluting the doorman.

– Stephen Salisbury

that scream

dear diary:

It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2012, and my 89-year-old mother and I were on our way to see Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” at the Museum of Modern Art. As it turns out, she was right to think that this trip to MoMA might be the last of her many trips.

We took the train into town, then took the subway, and walked the last few blocks. It was a struggle for her but she wouldn’t let me call a cab.

Once at the museum, we bought our tickets, checked our coats, and took a few escalators to the grand gallery where Munch’s masterpieces are on display.

Alas, such a large exhibition hall is also packed with people. I couldn’t guide my frail, vulnerable mother through elbow-to-elbow crowds.

As we were turning to leave, one of the museum guards standing nearby took action without saying a word to us.

“Sorry!” he said in a booming voice, gently but firmly parting the crowd. “Please forgive me!”

He continued doing this until he carved a path and stood within two feet of the painting. Everyone looked at him expectantly.

He turned, found my mother with his eyes, and silently waved her forward. I steadied her until we were right in front of The Scream.

We lingered there for more than a minute, admiring all the inimitable paintings before thanking the guards and the crowd and leaving.

– Garrett Andrews

rock paper scissors

dear diary:

It’s 2am and I’m rushing up the subway stairs to catch the F back to Manhattan.

Just as I reached the platform, the train doors closed and the train started moving. The digital message board said the next one would arrive in 20 minutes.

I went to a bench and sat down. While I was waiting for the train, a boy ran merrily up the stairs and onto the platform. He had a big smile on his face as he gazed at the tracks on another platform.

A girl there smiled at him. They started playing rock paper scissors. They said nothing. They played for about six rounds, laughing and giggling at the end of each round.

A train on the opposite track whizzes past and pulls in, separating the boys from the girls. Seconds later, she appeared at the train window, smiling again and waving goodbye.

The boy watched her train go away and waved to him.

– Pamela Ingebrigson


dear diary:

My mother passed away earlier this year. It was sudden and unexpected. In the next few weeks, I will have to take care of my father in addition to taking care of the children. I was so busy that I barely had a chance to cry.

About a month later, I took a day off to visit the Fotografiska Museum, and then had lunch with my husband nearby.

After seeing an exhibition of nude photography, I went straight into a chronicle of the life and death of the artist’s mother.

I’ve been devastated by the stress of the last month and an unexpected connection with an artist. I sat sobbing in a nearly empty museum.

I tried to be quiet and unobtrusive in the dark room, but not long after, a man approached me and asked if I was okay.

I told him my mother had recently passed away and I missed her terribly.

He sat down next to me, rubbed my back after politely asking for permission, and told me he would sit with me as long as I needed.

I asked his name.

Owen, he said.

he asked me.

Suzy, I answer.

Where is my mother’s?


He said he would hold us in his heart and he asked if I needed a hug.

I did it. Even in high heels, I’d tiptoe into a complete stranger’s hug and sob into his shoulder. I went out of my way to thank him.

I skipped the final exhibit and ran to meet my husband. For some reason, I couldn’t bear to see Owen’s face in the light.

–Suzanna Publisher Mettham

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