Christmas in New York through Pain and Persistence!
I always remember that Macy’s is on 34th Street. What I forget is the cross street. At the stoplight I asked, “Which way is Macy’s?” Each of the ten to twelve persons standing there pointed to the right. Everybody can find Macy’s! For the first time, I was in New York the week before Christmas. I had to see Macy’s decorations. Nobody does Christmas decorations like Macy’s. I was not disappointed. I walked through the door and stopped immediately. I gazed at the many huge white/silver ornaments, probably basketball size, illuminating the main aisle. All ornaments are attached to greenery. The strings of ornaments and greenery flow from one wall across to another. Down the center of the store are rows of identical ornaments and greenery. The sparkling rhinestones take everyone’s breath away. I stood to the side, watching people enter the store. Mouths flew open. Regardless of age, gender, race, or any other category you choose, everyone stopped, momentarily paralyzed. Anyone not spellbound by the beauty managed an “ahh.”
The beauty simply magnified New York’s overflowing energy. I have been in New York for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Easter Parade and New Year’s Eve. However, this was my first time being there for the week before Christmas. Walking up and down streets watching others walk up and down streets, purchase hot dogs, chestnuts, soft drinks, pizza, peanuts purses, hats, gloves, watches, scarves, paintings, belts, and just about anything else one can think of from some of the countless vendors can occupy someone not in a hurry for hours. Christmas quadruples—at least—the people and activities, revs up the city.
What was different in what I long ago labeled New York’s assaults on the senses was this observer. Age has taken its toll. Sciatica struck June 15; yes, I remember the date. The first time I visited New York I was in my thirties; I am now well past my thirties. New Yorkers seem to think there are no long blocks in New York. Any address seems to be two to five, maybe six blocks away; “You can walk it” they say, cab drivers included. On the other hand, they explain, “You can get there faster by walking Perhaps they can get there faster; I can’t. In ’78, I walked it. Then the subway steps that seem to go almost forever surprised me because of their length; now they are obstacles to be overcome. I beg for escalators and try my best to remember, “to stand to the right.” No one must worry about me walking to the left. I look for landings. I stop at landings. This is new. When once I never looked for elevators, I am terribly aware of their absence. I regret there are no elevators. I wonder was there no one who t