UWS Encounters: ‘Dexter,’ Dogs Walking, ‘A Short-Term Memory Problem,’ and a Legendary Director

Michael C. Hall. Photograph by Keith McDuffee.

“…fettuccine bolognese turned to fear…”

A January run along the Hudson had left me freezing and wanting pasta. I set out for Gennaro’s near 92nd where I walked into a full bar and a line of couples out the door. Ready to leave, my arm was caught by the charmingly short manager who sat me in the center of the room.

My relaxation over Chianti and fettuccine bolognese turned to fear when I looked right into the eyes of a serial killer – Dexter himself! I spent the rest of my meal trying not to imagine how Michael C. Hall’s hair had been mussed. And I’m embarrassed to say I caught myself checking his hands for blood instead of a wedding ring.

I ordered another glass for my nerves and have spent every run since expecting to see him again on his Slice of Life boat out on the river.

— Erin Buttler-Ricketts

“The dogs were full of excitement”

I stopped for the red light at the corner of Broadway and 86th street along with several people and their dogs. The dogs were full of excitement, wagging their tails and pulling against their restrained leashes as they tried to get acquainted with a pair of moving, long-haired, black, silky creatures. The furry creatures could not return their excitement; they were made for keeping a person’s feet warm and fashionable, not for making doggie friends.

— Jill Fortune

“Step Away From My Window”

I had lost my senior citizen metro card and was waiting for a replacement. I went to the subway agent’s window to buy a senior rate temporary metro card and the attendant told me that I could buy only one card at a time – good for only two rides. I asked if I could get more than one card because I didn’t want to keep walking up and down the subway steps. The agent said, “Step away from my window and come back.” Puzzled, I asked, “For how long do I need to step away.” She replied, “Just walk away and come right back. I have a short term memory problem.”

— Barbara Wolf-Dorlester

“Bonnie and Clyde and Little Big Man”

As the owner of the former store The Athlete’s Foot on West 72nd St. from the mid 1970’s to the late 1990’s, there were numerous celebrities who passed through, and we typically paid them no special attention, assuming that was how they preferred to be treated.

One weekday winter’s morning, perhaps around 1990, I was alone in the store, helping an older gentleman who was buying sneakers to use as walking shoes, simply for comfort. As he tried on different models, we chatted about nothing special. At some point I learned that he had been in the film business. I asked what he did, and he modestly informed me that he was a director.

When I asked if he had made any films I might know, he mentioned Bonnie and Clyde and Little Big Man, both major hits. It turned out his name was Arthur Penn, and he was a legendary film director, but you would never know it by his kind and gentle demeanor.

— Stanley Sterenberg


“…rumor is you are trading mugs for stories,” wrote Erin Buttler-Ricketts when she submitted her ‘Dexter’ encounter (above.) Rumor is correct. If you send us a story set on the UWS and we post it, we’ll send you a WSR mug. Keep it around 150 words or less and send it to westsiderag@gmail.com — subject line: Encounters Submission. Please include your real name and address. The name is for a byline; the address, which we won’t publish, is so we can deliver your mug. And please email if your Encounter has already been posted and you haven’t received your mug.

COLUMNS | 3 comments | permalink
    1. Ruby in Manhattan says:

      Love the subway story! It really is a drag to have to buy more than one card a day until your permanent card arrives….could be weeks. Thank goodness for caring people like that attendant.

    2. Doug Garr says:

      Dexter was the first series i watched all 8 seasons on schedule. Brilliantly written, wonderfully acted — especially Michael C. Hall. It just kept getting better every year. And I can’t believe I had this incredible sympathy for the main character. I couldn’t even stand the intro where the orange is being cut into…I’m such a wussy when it comes to blood.

    3. JH says:

      I notice Michael C. Hall from time to time in Central Park, walking his dog. He seems nice, keeps to himself, but polite and frequently smiles at dogs. What more do you need in a NYC neighbor? 🙂