When a Restaurant Calls to Confirm a Reservation

Dear Diary:

O.K., Justine,
here’s the take-away.
Please
do not call
me back
to confirm
my dinner reservation
for Friday evening
at your restaurant,
because then I must
return your call
and I give you
my word right now,
cross my heart
Girl Scout oath
that I will
definitely, positively
show up on time.
Trust me.
Thank you
so very much.

Read all recent entries and our updated submissions guidelines. Reach us via email diary@nytimes.com or follow @NYTMetro on Twitter using the hashtag #MetDiary.

New York Today: Umbrellas on Parade

Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

Updated 8:51 a.m.

Good wet Wednesday morning to you. It will rain all day.

But the heaviest part of the storm comes tonight.

When it comes to umbrellas, New Yorkers often have commitment problems.

We spring for them at the first splotch of rain.

And sometimes lose them before the ground is dry.

If you step out, you are likely to see one left on the subway or in a cab, at a bar or cafe.

You’ll want to hang onto yours today, though, as the chilly rain grows steadier, dumping up to an inch on our heads before dark.

It’ll be another raw day, with temperatures stuck in the 40s until nightfall, then rising as the rain turns torrential and causes widespread local flooding.

And beware: It may be umbrella-bustingly windy.

In honor of these transient companions, some New York umbrella facts:

- An umbrella sharing program, ‘brellabox, is coming to the city. A 12-hour rental will cost $2.50.

- Many umbrella vendors are immigrants from Senegal in West Africa.

- Their umbrella source: wholesale stores in Manhattan’s flower district.

- At the Rain or Shine shop on East 45th Street, a customer on Tuesday bought a folding Italian umbrella with red rhinestones on the handle for $130.

- Last year, architects created a floating dome from the skeletons of hundreds of umbrellas discarded around the city. It floated in the Bronx River.

Here’s what else you need to know for Wednesday.

COMMUTE

Subways: Delays on the Times Square shuttle. Check latest status.

Rails: Scattered delays on N.J. Transit Northeast Corridor. Check L.I.R.R., Metro-North or N.J. Transit status.

Roads: Delays of up to an hour at the inbound G.W.B and 40 minutes at the inbound Lincoln Tunnel. Check traffic map or radio report on the 1s or the 8s.

Alternate-side parking is in effect all week.

COMING UP TODAY

- Authorities announce the arrests of six people for trafficking guns in Brooklyn. 11:30 a.m.

- Students from the Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management fan out to interview 1,500 New Yorkers about their storm preparedness.

- First public day of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden plant sale. Get there early; the competition is cutthroat. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. [Free with $10 garden admission]

- Restaurants start serving 10,000 oysters from Atlantic Coast farms for the “Billion Oysters Project”; the shells will be used to cultivate oysters on Governors Island. 11:30 a.m.

- “Letters to the Mayor,” an exhibition of letters from 50 architects to the mayors of more than 20 cities, at the Storefront for Art and Architecture downtown. 11 a.m. [Free]

- Rangers-Flyers finale at the Garden. Nets at Raptors. Possible rainouts: Mariners at Yankees, Mets at Phillies.

- For more events, see The New York Times Arts & Entertainment guide.

IN THE NEWS

- A little-known state law blocks drivers from suing for pothole-related damages during the winter months — high season for potholes. [New York Times]

- A 4-year-old boy in the Bronx died after possibly eating rat poison. [New York Post]

- The couple who jumped to their deaths from the George Washington Bridge this week have been linked to the murder of the woman’s uncle. [Daily News]

- Finding adequate housing has become more difficult for the city’s aging residents. [New York Times]

- Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the AIDS advocacy group, hired a new leader. [Capital New York]

- The city is testing “townhouse-style” post-disaster housing in Downtown Brooklyn. [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]

- Scoreboard: Flyers clobber Rangers, 5-2, to force Game 7. Mariners sink Yankees, 6-3. Mets break Phillies, 6-1.

AND FINALLY …

A silent film star has her gravestone — nearly 100 years after her death.

Florence La Badie, known as Fearless Flo because she did her own stunts, died after a car crash in 1917, at 29.

She had made some 180 films, including “Cinderella” and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

But her plot at Green-Wood Cemetery was unmarked until Sunday, when a marble stone reading “Fearless Flo” was unveiled.

No one is sure why her resting place remained blank for so long.

Sandra E. Garcia and Kenneth Rosen contributed reporting.

New York Today is a weekday roundup that stays live from 6 a.m. till late morning. You can receive it via email.

What would you like to see here to start your day? Post a comment, email us at nytoday@nytimes.com, or reach us via Twitter using #NYToday.

Follow the New York Today columnists, Annie Correal and Andy Newman, on Twitter.

You can always find the latest New York Today at nytoday.com.

New York Today: Here Comes the Rain

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Updated 10:09 a.m.

Good cloudy Tuesday morning to you.

This is just the beginning.

If you do not own a working umbrella, today might be a good day to invest in one.

We are in for some major rainfall.

The rain will be on and off through tonight.

Then it gets steadier, until on Wednesday evening, when Mother Nature turns the tap all the way on.

By the time the last drop falls Thursday, forecasters expect 3.75 inches in the city.

“That’s almost a month’s worth of rain in just a couple of days,” said Tim Morrin of the National Weather Service.

And the most in one spell since last June.

If it were snow, it would be more than three feet.

And it won’t be nice warm tropical rain, either.

The storm system is the same one that flung tornadoes across Arkansas over the weekend. As it spins slowly northeastward, it will pick up cold, moist air off the still chilly Atlantic.

This will keep temperatures in the low 50s.

Widespread minor coastal flooding is expected tonight.

Wednesday, a flood watch is in effect for low-lying areas, small streams and rivers.

Mr. Morrin predicts “heavy ponding, really disrupting travel.”

Here’s what else you need to know.

COMMUTE

Subways: Check latest status.

Rails: Check L.I.R.R., Metro-North or N.J. Transit status.

Roads: Check traffic map or radio report on the 1s or the 8s.

Alternate-side parking is in effect all week.

COMING UP TODAY

- E-cigarette regulations go into effect in the city. The devices are banned in indoor public spaces, parks and beaches.

- The Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino speaks at a Crain’s forum at New York Athletic Club. 8 a.m.

- Volunteers answer immigration questions on a free hotline this week, at CUNY’s Guttman Community College in Midtown. …

- … While immigrant advocates protest collaboration between the city and federal immigration authorities at Federal Plaza at 11 a.m.

- Dos Equis gives away cactuses in Flatiron Plaza for its run-up to Cinco de Mayo. Noon.

- A rooftop installation by Dan Graham, “comprising curves of steel and two-way mirrored glass between ivy hedgerows,” is unveiled at the Met. [$25 suggested]

- Diane Keaton signs her memoir, “Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty,” at Barnes & Noble in Union Square. 7 p.m. [Free]

- Werner Herzog’s documentary “Grizzly Man” is followed by a talk with a wildlife journalist, at BAM. 7:30 p.m. [$13]

- Rangers look to eliminate Flyers on the road. Yankees host Mariners. Mets visit Phillies.

- For more events, see The New York Times Arts & Entertainment guide.

IN THE NEWS

- Representative Michael G. Grimm, of Staten Island, was indicted on fraud charges. [New York Times]

- A man and a woman died after jumping off the George Washington Bridge together. [New York Post]

- Three men were sentenced to 20 years in prison for their roles in the city’s scandal-ridden payroll project known as CityTime. [New York Times]

- The ancient Obelisk in Central Park will get a laser cleaning starting this week. [Gothamist]

- A group of Occupy Wall Street veterans is effectively advocating for tenants threatened by gentrification in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. [New York Times]

- A note from a man claiming to be trapped in a Chinese prison factory was found in a Saks Fifth Avenue shopping bag. [DNAinfo]

- A feminist pole dancing performance, involving ropes, scaffolding, bungees “and even the performers’ own shirts and socks,” takes place in Williamsburg this week. [The Brooklyn Paper]

- A man who was said to have been trying to carjack a taxi in the Bronx had to cling to the side of the vehicle for several miles when the driver stepped on the gas. [CBS]

AND FINALLY …

Today in Staten Island, junior scientists from the Cub Scouts and middle schools may be out-squirmed by their subjects.

They will be counting eels.

They are glass eels that have migrated from the Sargasso Sea to Richmond Creek.

In their infancy, they are just an inch or two long, translucent and spaghetti-like, visible only by the black of their eyes.

Later, they grow thick, opaque, and up to four feet.

The thousands of glass eels that come to our waters are a sign of improved water quality, environmental officials said.

They may stay for up to 20 years before returning to the sea.

Sandra E. Garcia and Kenneth Rosen contributed reporting.

New York Today is a weekday roundup that stays live from 6 a.m. till late morning. You can receive it via email.

What would you like to see here to start your day? Post a comment, email us at nytoday@nytimes.com, or reach us via Twitter using #NYToday.

Follow the New York Today columnists, Annie Correal and Andy Newman, on Twitter.

You can always find the latest New York Today at nytoday.com.

A New York Passover Story

Dear Diary:

My firstborn daughter, Evelyn, accompanied her daughter to New York City. Returning to the hotel, they sat together with my husband in the taxi’s back seat. The taxi driver invited me to sit in the front with him and launched into conversation with the click of the meter.

DRIVER: “You must be Egyptian. You have Egyptian eyes!”

ME: “Really? You’re Egyptian?”

DRIVER: “I was born in Egypt. My family is there.”

ME: “I thought I recognized you!”

DRIVER: “So you are from Egypt.”

ME: “No. In another life I was a Hebrew slave and you were an Egyptian taskmaster. Incidentally, you owe me for back wages.”

We rode on in silence. After exiting the taxi, my daughter fumed: “Mom! I can’t believe you said that! I am never going to ride in a taxi with you again!”

Read all recent entries and our updated submissions guidelines. Reach us via email diary@nytimes.com or follow @NYTMetro on Twitter using the hashtag #MetDiary.

A New York Passover Story

Dear Diary:

My firstborn daughter, Evelyn, accompanied her daughter to New York City. Returning to the hotel, they sat together with my husband in the taxi’s back seat. The taxi driver invited me to sit in the front with him and launched into conversation with the click of the meter.

DRIVER: “You must be Egyptian. You have Egyptian eyes!”

ME: “Really? You’re Egyptian?”

DRIVER: “I was born in Egypt. My family is there.”

ME: “I thought I recognized you!”

DRIVER: “So you are from Egypt.”

ME: “No. In another life I was a Hebrew slave and you were an Egyptian taskmaster. Incidentally, you owe me for back wages.”

We rode on in silence. After exiting the taxi, my daughter fumed: “Mom! I can’t believe you said that! I am never going to ride in a taxi with you again!”

Read all recent entries and our updated submissions guidelines. Reach us via email diary@nytimes.com or follow @NYTMetro on Twitter using the hashtag #MetDiary.

New York Today: Crime and Punishment

Mark Mazer, left, and Gerard Denault face sentencing in the CityTime scandal.John Marshall Mantel for The New York TimesMark Mazer, left, and Gerard Denault face sentencing in the CityTime scandal.

Updated 6:58 a.m.

Good Monday morning to you.

It was one of the biggest scandals in New York City’s recent history.

The city, looking to get more efficient at managing its sprawling work force, hired outside contractors to redesign the payroll system and help save money.

Instead, the contractors took advantage of weak oversight and inflated the $63 million project known as CityTime into a $700 million boondoggle.

Today, three men who collectively stole more than $40 million while working on the project will be sentenced in federal court in Manhattan on conspiracy, bribery and money-laundering charges.

Prosecutors asked the judge for sentences of 105 years, 80 years, and 30 to 40 years.

Fitting punishment, they said, for men who treated the city “like it was their own giant A.T.M.”

The men’s lawyers, of course, say the proposals are excessive.

“Absurd on its face,” wrote the lawyer for the defendant facing the proposed 105-year term, Gerard Denault.

“Does the government really believe that this offense deserves a sentence six times longer than sentences imposed for murder?”

Mr. Denault’s lawyer asked the judge for a five-year sentence instead.

Here’s what else you need to know.

WEATHER

Mostly sunny, warm and downhill from here.

A high of 64 today.

Rainy and chillier on Tuesday. Lots of rain on Wednesday.

Live in the present.

COMMUTE

Subways: Delays on the southbound 5. Check latest status.

Rails: Delays on North Jersey Coast Line. Check L.I.R.R., Metro-North or N.J. Transit status.

Roads: Deegan very slow southbound through the Bronx. Check traffic map or radio report on the 1s or the 8s.

Alternate-side parking is in effect all week.

COMING UP TODAY

- Representative Michael Grimm of Staten Island is expected to be indicted on federal fraud charges.

- State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, accompanied by Mayor de Blasio, releases a report on the growth of the city’s high-tech industry. 12:45 p.m.

- Advocates for worker safety release a report on workplace deaths and march to what they say is an unsafe construction site. 51st Street, between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, at noon.

- Holocaust survivors from Belgium, Germany and Poland talk to visitors at the Museum of Jewish Heritage downtown in observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. [$12]

- The mayor also speaks at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at Lincoln Square Synagogue on Amsterdam Avenue. 8 p.m.

- Readings of plays from five continents open the week-long Pen World Voices Festival at CUNY’s Segal Theater in Midtown. 2 p.m. [Free]

- A panel on poverty past and present at the Tenement Museum, moderated by the Times columnist Ginia Bellafante. 6:30 p.m. [Free]

- Readings from the essay collection “The Opposite of Loneliness” by Marina Keegan, a young writer who died in a car crash, at BookCourt in Brooklyn. 7 p.m. [Free]

- A concert by the Shanghai Quartet at Advent Lutheran Church on the Upper West Side. 7:30 p.m. [Free]

- For more events, see The New York Times Arts & Entertainment guide.

IN THE NEWS

- Physical therapists in Brooklyn are among the leading recipients of national Medicare dollars. [New York Times]

- A proposed city law would ban businesses from asking job applicants about their criminal records until after a job offer is made. [Daily News]

- A smuggler of illegal immigrants who died in prison was mourned as a folk hero in Chinatown. [New York Times]

- New York’s state poet chose her favorites from the more than 2,800 haiku about the city submitted by Times readers. [New York Times]

- Double rainbows were spotted (and photographed) above the city over the weekend. [Gothamist]

- Scoreboard: Rangers upend Flyers, 4-2, need one win to clinch. Nets succumb to Raptors, 87-79. Yankees edge Angels, 3-2. Mets harpoon Marlins, 4-0.

AND FINALLY …

This week in 1972, Mayor John V. Lindsay wrote a letter to Washington on behalf of an immigrant couple who faced deportation.

Their removal, the mayor wrote, would be contrary “to the principles of our country” and amount to “a grave injustice.”

The couple’s problems stemmed from the fact that one of them had pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in his native country.

His name was John Lennon.

Other prominent figures petitioned immigration authorities in support of Lennon and Yoko Ono.

“Artisans and universal megagalactic entities,” wrote the poet Gregory Corso. “Ergo, let my people go — stay — etc.”

Proceedings dragged on for years, but the Lennons, of course, remained in New York.

Benjamin Weiser and Sandra E. Garcia contributed reporting.

New York Today is a weekday roundup that stays live from 6 a.m. till late morning. You can receive it via email.

What would you like to see here to start your day? Post a comment, email us at nytoday@nytimes.com, or reach us via Twitter using #NYToday.

Follow the New York Today columnists, Annie Correal and Andy Newman, on Twitter.

You can always find the latest New York Today at nytoday.com.

Recreational Bicycling vs. Delivery Bicycling

Victor Kerlow

Dear Diary:

An early spring Sunday on West 56th Street. Two bicyclists cross paths in front of me.

The first is a young man in a snazzy blue and yellow racing suit, a matching helmet, bike shoes and bike gloves.

The second is an older man in a white kitchen tunic and a baseball cap, balancing a bag full of food he is about to deliver somewhere.

The two men’s eyes meet, and I am struck by how differently each must view a Sunday bike ride in Manhattan.

Read all recent entries and our updated submissions guidelines. Reach us via email diary@nytimes.com or follow @NYTMetro on Twitter using the hashtag #MetDiary.

Annual NYC Sikh Day Parade

Bill de Blasio, third from left, attended the Annual NYC Sikh Day Parade in Midtown on Saturday.Todd Heisler/The New York TimesBill de Blasio, third from left, attended the Annual NYC Sikh Day Parade in Midtown on Saturday.

Bill de Blasio, third from left, attended the Annual NYC Sikh Day Parade in Midtown on Saturday.

Week in Pictures for April 25

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A slide show of photographs of the past week in New York City and the region includes the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, high school scuba divers in Coney Island and a chicken coop in Forest Hills, Queens.

This weekend on “The New York Times Close Up,” an inside look at the most compelling articles in Sunday’s Times, Sam Roberts will speak with The Times’s Joe Nocera, Jo Becker, Josh Haner, Kate Taylor, Michael Powell, Clyde Haberman and Eleanor Randolph.

Tune in at 10 p.m. Saturday or 10 a.m. Sunday on NY1 News to watch.

Read current New York headlines and follow us on Twitter.

Haiku Challenge: A Poet’s Picks

The Times received more than 2,800 submissions in its Haiku Challenge about New York City.Michael Kirby Smith for The New York TimesThe Times received more than 2,800 submissions in its Haiku Challenge about New York City.

Marie Howe, the state poet of New York, reflects on writing haiku and The Times’s Haiku Challenge, which asked readers to submit a 17-syllable poem about New York City.

A traditional haiku was attentive to time and place and most often referred to a season of the year. It was rooted in observations of the natural world and demanded an accuracy that refused romantic clichés. The language might be simple, the images taken from common life, but the insistence on time and place was crucial.

Many of the poems received did not find their inspiration in nature — most did not hold some implicit Buddhist insight about nature — elements essential to the traditional haiku form. These are New York City haiku. But the best of the poems we received had a quality of the right now-ness of actual experience — a moment that happens! And happens again as we encounter it in reading. The freshness and wit of the images held more than we could say. Yes, we thought, New York is like that. Like what? Like that. Yes. That.
— Marie Howe, the state poet of New York

On the 6 to Spring
two cops help a tourist whose
map is upside down
— Frances Richey, 63, Manhattan

If the “F” comes now,
I could get there, right on time.
But I’m still in bed.
— Jill Helene, 34, Manhattan

Riding through the park
no daffodils blooming yet
— but unbuttoned coats.
— Sharon Rousseau, 50, Manhattan

“Insufficient fare!”
But, without saying a word,
stranger swipes me in.
— Janet Gottlieb, 59, Brooklyn

I hear them fighting
Through the thin wall between us —
but I don’t take sides.
— Nurit Israeli, 71, Manhattan

On the roof, standing,
flying his kite in the sky
the street disappears.
— Eugene Dunscomb, 83, Southbury, Conn.

A version of this article appears in print on 04/27/2014, on page WE8 of the Westchester edition with the headline: A Poet’s Picks.