New York at the Holidays

OK, maybe I'm not a New Yorker any more. Just a few blogs ago I was kvelling (that means gushing to you non-New Yorkers) about how great the city is and how I couldn't wait to get there for the holidays. Well, once I got there, I couldn't wait to get out.

I went to New York this past weekend. It's a week before Christmas, so I figured, Prime Time. And apparently a lot of other people figured the same thing. The place was claustrophobia-inducing.

I know, I know--it's always crowded and noisy. This was different. This was a trampling waiting to happen. There were lines around the block for those trendy cupcake places. Lines to get into Marc Jacobs on Bleecker. Lines for mediocre brunch spots. Lines to go past the department store Christmas windows. Lines to cross the street--and four policeman at each midtown intersection to make sure no one cheats. Lines for ice skating at Rockefeller Center. Lines to take pictures of ice skating at Rockefeller Center. (And by the way, a very unimpressive tree this year. Make a little effort!)

Thousands upon thousands of tourists. And the worst part? I was one of them, with my camera and my naive dreams, like one of those Today Show nuts (at least I didn't have a homemade sign saying hi to Mom!). I asked my native friends to come with me and got shut down. They know what I used to: stay away from midtown in December. (They can't stay away from the Village because they live there, but they can certainly stay away from the cupcakes and Marc Jacobs.)

I never got close to any department store windows. I couldn't even bring myself to try. I headed north, toward Central Park, before I came to my senses and remembered I had to go to the Nintendo store for a new Wii remote. Of course, that's a block south of the tree and the crush that goes with it. And even more of course, they were sold out.

The weather was unseasonably warm, which probably increased crowd size. It was in the 50s all weekend, just like in Los Angeles (the difference is that in Los Angeles everyone was complaining about how cold it was). One more reason to dream of a White Christmas: maybe a cold snap will get all those OTHER people off the streets.

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