Monday, December 6, 2010

A Feeling of Christmas

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks,
Dressed in holiday style.
In the air, there's a feeling of Christmas.

Children laughing, people passing,
Meeting smile after smile,
And on every street corner, you'll hear

Silver Bells, Silver Bells,
It's Christmas time in the city.

Silver Bells
By Jay Livingston and Raymond Evans

Well, the busy sidewalks bit was accurate, but children laughing? Smile after smile? I don't think so.

Nope, with Christmas only three weeks away, this Saturday around Rockefeller Center was more like the "Run away! Run away!" scene in a monster movie than some Norman Rockwell vision of the happy American town out looking at the shop window decorations.

We had started out the day with lunch in Little Italy about seven blocks from our hotel, and then we grabbed a subway uptown. Not our best tourist decision.

It was bad enough that the famous 750-foot high Christmas tree just went up earlier this week (OK, it's more like 80-feet) and it seemed like everyone in New York with a pre-teen wanted them to see it. Making it worse was the fact that Radio City Music Hall, just half a block away, schedules extra performances of its Christmas Spectacular for the weekends, disgorging a thousand Rockette fans all at once every two hours.

And then there were gazillions of tour buses making sure that all the out-of-towners had a chance to rub shoulders (and hips and butts and who knows what else) with thousands of total strangers. Nope, children weren't laughing, people weren't passing (but perhaps a few were passing out) and what may have seemed like smile after smile were more like grimace after grimace. I think the only feeling of Christmas I experienced was being hit on the legs by all those shopping bags.

We did work our way up to the edge of the skating rink - you know, the one that features in any movie set in New York City in the winter.

Surprisingly it was fairly empty, prompting LK and me to consider renting skates just to escape the crush of the crowds.

Stop laughing at the image of me skating, please.

Just when I was reaching the limits of my ability to cope with the crowd pressing in on me, there  occurred one of those inexplicable breaks, and suddenly there was empty space and no one moving toward it.

"Quick!" I yelled at LK and sent her scurrying for the one photo op we would have all day where no one else was in the picture. Well, no one except the Toy Soldier, and we wanted him there.

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