The Secret Gratitude List

New Yorkers reveal what they're privately thankful for this Thanksgiving

Hello everyone,

Welcome to Issue #7 of CAFÉ ANNE!

Most people are generally thankful for the same things—friends, family and health. And then there’s the things we’re secretly grateful for. I surveyed 65 actual and honorary New Yorkers this week—a combination of CAFÉ ANNE friends and street interviews—to find out what folks are truly appreciating this year that they’d never reveal at Thanksgiving dinner. Please enjoy this week’s feature, below.

In other news, after reading Issue #6 about Joanna Colon, who makes $2000 dresses for dogs to wear in pageant competitions, Kyle in Brooklyn wanted to know more about the baths Ms. Colon takes with her 3.5-pound Chihuahua-Papillon mix, ChuChi.

Ms. Colon responds:

“ChuChi and I, we bathe together probably once every two weeks. She still goes to the groomer when she needs to get her nails done or has to get shaved on her bottom or her paws, because I won’t do that.”

“When we do bathe I do a lavender bath so that she’s relaxed in my arms, and I add some bubbles. I use a special shampoo for her because she’s a merle and I always want to enhance the blue merle color. She gets her bath and soak and massages and gets to just lounge in the tub with me for a while before I actually wash her. And then after washing her, I wrap her up in a towel and let the towel soak up the moisture that’s in her hair. She loves that.”

“I use a warm towel. I warm up the towel with the hair dryer and then wrap her up. But only in the winter when it’s cold. Otherwise I just wrap her up in a towel. And then when I’m finished bathing myself, I take a shower and wash out my hair. And when I’m done, I wrap myself up in a towel and then I proceed to dry her with a hair dryer.”

As always, please feel free to email your comments and questions—I love to hear from you!

Finally, if you’re enjoying a free subscription, please consider supporting CAFÉ ANNE with a $5/month paid subscription. This will ensure I don’t have to get an actual full-time job, and CAFÉ ANNE can live forever.




• Weird Trash Heap #5

• Turkey of the Year

• The Secret Gratitude List

Weird Trash Heap #5

Tom in Tribeca spotted the below in his own neighborhood. I hardly know where to start. It looks less like a trash pile and more like the world's most failed picnic. What's up with Spectrum cable centerfold and multiple used face masks?  Zooming in and just getting more confused and terrified.

Thanks Tom!

Please send your favorite sidewalk trash photo to and I will include it in a future issue.

Turkey of the Year

Name: Todd Ferguson

Location: Key Food Montague supermarket, Brooklyn Heights

Occupation: Commercial Real Estate Executive

Price: $36.80

Weight: 13.68 pounds

Volts: 110

Personal Passion: “My personal passion is my horse. He's my exercise, relaxation and a source of constant learning.”

How I spend my Sunday: “The past year or so, I’ve been into Formula 1 racing. At the start of the pandemic, my wife and I got into a Netflix show called “Drive to Survive.” That really deconstructed the process for me and helped me to understand what’s going on on the track. I got hooked. If there’s no race on, we’ll head over to the playground at Central Park and do an hour or so of swinging and slides. Then we’ll look at ducks and birds and have a little walk.”

Motto: “Tomorrow is another day.”


The Secret Gratitude List

This year, at Thanksgiving dinner, I will likely say I’m thankful for my family, friends and the fun year I’ve had. And it’s all true. But there’s also a bunch of things I’m secretly grateful for that I’d never say in public, because it would make me sound awful.

And I’m not the alone. This week, I asked 65 real and honorary New Yorkers—both friends and strangers—what they’re secretly thankful for this holiday season. Boy, did I get an earful!

“I’m secretly grateful that I look pretty good.”

—Name withheld, designer, 54

 “For the reopening of all the bars. We’ve got to make up for the last year-and-a-half with happy hours all through the holidays!”

—Christina, 22, administrative assistant

“For my family and friends and guidance in my life from God.”

CAFÉ ANNE: “What else?

“I’m glad I’m not in no trouble, running down the street, going to court, in jail. Know what I’m saying?”

—Kathy, 68, MBA, microbiologist, hat maker and restaurateur

“At Thanksgiving I can eat like a pig. Unbridled troughing it down. Whatever I want!”

—Sue, 63, unoccupied


—Max, 4, student

“That the panhandler on Montague Street I don’t like seems to have vanished.”

—Anne, 49, terrible person

“I am grateful for not hosting my large extended family for the holiday, but it’s only that way because my mom is now gone. It’s sort of bittersweet to be doing just my nuclear family.”

—Fran, 62, retired

“For being able to study what I’ve always wanted to, film! My mom wanted me to make money when I got older.”

—Olivier Pinkwater, student, 20

The topic of s-e-x came up several times. I’m blushing!

“I am secretly grateful for birth control.”

—Male, 50, 5’9”

“My vibrator!”

—Name withheld, 47, college administrator

“Having more sex as the pandemic fades.”

—Name withheld, 46, editor

Some have secret reasons for appreciating their family…

“For the way my parents still pay for half my shit. I’m very lucky.”

CAFÉ ANNE: “Do your friends know?”

“Yes, but not the full extent of it. It’s why I can shop at Whole Foods.”

—Caitlin, 23, actor and personal assistant

“For being able to visit my daughter in New York. I’m visiting from Ireland. I haven’t seen her in two years because of the pandemic.”

CAFÉ ANNE: “That must have been heartbreaking.

“Yes, and that’s the secret. She’s so happy here. I have to hide how heartbreaking it was.”

—Amanda, 56, public administration

“I’m grateful for my mom who’s staying with me while I have my eggs retrieved and frozen tomorrow.”

—Name withheld, 37, psychotherapist.

“It’s the worst secret, but 23andMe claims I’m 98 percent Polish. I’m secretly grateful my parents weren’t living a lie with me.”

—Chris H, 56, journalist

But a far larger number are grateful the pandemic has allowed a family-free holiday…

“That I don’t have to stay up late and party with the cousins.”

—Jasmine, 33, English teacher

“I’m secretly grateful that I’m an ocean away from my family at the moment!!!”

—Nemira, 35, professor

 “My brother in California doesn’t want me to come to visit for Thanksgiving because his wife is scared of Covid. It’s so much easier to not go to California.”

—Name withheld, teacher

And then there’s David, who is torn:

“I’m grateful for my family—wife and kids. That’s it. The rest of my family can go straight to the garbage.”


“It’d take me all day to explain. You and me might both start to cry!”

-David, food delivery driver, 48

Some folks are grateful for their hardships…

“That my parents got divorced. Otherwise I would have grown up in the military.”

—Jeff, 47, editor

“My addiction. I don’t like the problem. It’s really an awful problem. But the solution is way better than the solution to any other illness I know. It’s a life solution. It lets me live my wonderlife.”

—David, 31, unoccupied

Some are grateful just for keeping it together this year…

“I’m thankful for finally getting my mental health in check with medication. Depression and anxiety. I was in denial for a long time.”

—Cary, 47, sports medicine

“That I still have my freaking sanity. My kids are driving me into the psyche ward!”

—Jackie, hair stylist, 34

“For TikTok videos of people who don’t have their shit together trying to get their shit together: ‘I haven’t brushed my teeth in four days, but that’s okay, I will today!’ It’s very heartening.”

—Meredith, 39, minister

“For the inside of my car, where I can scream-sing murder ballads as loud as I want.”

—Rebecca, 46, public school administrator

The “gifts of the pandemic” came up frequently

Personally, I’ll always be grateful for how thrilling it was to bike around the empty streets of NYC those first few months.

 “I’m secretly grateful for the lockdown as it made me change a lot of things.”

CAFÉ ANNE: “Ah, what’s an example?

“Well for starters I became a conservative. Started doing online sketch videos. Moved to Austin, Texas. And started a religious practice.”

—Leonarda, 40, comedian

“Last year I left during the pandemic. To come back after a year-and-a-half is great. But in a low-key way, it was great to leave, just for a little while. I said I’d never go anywhere else, but I did.”

CAFÉ ANNE: “Where did you go?”

“Rochester, New York. And Stanley, Idaho. They had a year-round population of 62.”

CAFÉ ANNE: “Do you feel guilty that you left during the pandemic?”

“Not at all!”

—Mitchell, 31, butcher

Another theme: Freedom from the hell that is other people…

“For being alone and single and happy while doing it all on my own.”

—Devon, 30, therapist

“I’m seriously grateful not to be in an unhappy relationship that I have to fake my way through this whole holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving.”

—Nancy Goldstein, 60, fundraising and communications advisor

“No roommates. No kids!”

—Lisa, 42, dog walker

And some are just grateful to be off work for the holiday:

 “That I’m not cooking!”

—Robin, professional chef, 39

“Not to have to smell my co-worker’s twice-a-day stinky poops that creep down the office hallways.”

—Juan, attorney, 32

And finally, the last word from my friend Shelly, who is also the best neighbor ever:

“I’ve been thinking about it, and I’m not secretly grateful for anything.”

What are you secretly grateful for? Leave a comment!

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