A Local Column With Fans Around the World

One of the pleasures of editing Metropolitan Diary for almost seven years has been watching the online comments section become a community of people who talk among themselves and even get a little worried when one of them is silent for a week.

It’s also nice to see how many of the regulars are scattered outside the New York City area and as far away as India and Australia. Metropolitan Diary’s settings may be hyperlocal — an uptown express train, a crowded Astoria sidewalk, a brunch spot near Bruckner Boulevard — but its audience stretches around the world.

You won’t find John Devenish, one of the column’s international devotees, in the comments section. You can check him out instead at, which describes itself as “Canada’s only 24/7 jazz radio broadcaster.”

Mr. Devenish is a D.J. at the station. After coming across Metropolitan Diary at some point several years ago, he was struck by how nicely, in his words, many of the column’s entries fit with the rhythms of the tracks he plays on his show, “Dinner Jazz.” (Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time).

And so, with our blessing, he occasionally reads Diary items that have caught his fancy to his listeners, typically on Tuesdays in the 8 o’clock hour, but not every week.

You can almost hear the twinkle in his eye as he sandwiches these reader tales of New York City in between, say, tracks by Pepper Adams and Miles Davis. He often punctuates his renditions with a chuckle. We often chuckle too.

We’ve never asked Mr. Devenish about the criteria he uses for making his selections. No matter, they always sound just right. So, as we mark another year of Metropolitan Diary’s enduring appeal with our second “best of” contest, here’s to him; all of the column’s other fans and commenters; and, of course, our contributors, wherever they reside.

Speaking of the contest, we’d be remiss if we didn’t take this opportunity to note that one of last year’s finalists, “Emergency Quarters,” by Carlos Matias, is being adapted by Mr. Matias and the illustrator Gracey Zhang as a children’s book to be published by HarperCollins/Tegen in 2024. Not bad.

See you all next year.

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