I imagined the streets of New York to be lined with Christmas trees, Santas, and candy canes while everyone walked around spreading the Christmas Spirit. Why? Because that is what every Christmas movie that is set in the Big Apple depicts. Guess what, Hollywood lied!
I had my first inclination that things wouldn’t be picture perfect before I even got off the plane! A lady started yelling, and I mean yelling, at people to move faster or get out of the aisle. When other passengers started staring, her response was, “Welcome to New York.” OK, so maybe not all New Yorker lose that briskness they are known for around the holidays, but I still had high hopes.
Within the first day reality set in; of course Hollywood lied. I mean, how many times have I watched movies where the good guy single-handily takes out 20 bad guys without ever having to reload or getting shot himself? I know that is fake. And yet, somehow I believed that New York would be transformed into this magical city just because it was December. The reality is, I still found garbage piled on every street. I don’t know why I thought trash fairies would make it just disappear, but somehow I did. There are still far too many homeless people. Again, no idea what I was thinking, as I’m sure 99.9% of them aren’t sleeping on the streets because it’s something they choose. But the only time I see the homeless in Christmas movies, they end up getting holiday jobs or being reunited with long lost family and everything turns out great. (Maybe I’ve spent a little too much time watching Lifetime with my mom!)
Don’t get me wrong, New York in December is amazing in own right; it’s just not transformed into a clean, polite city without a care in the world for 31 days a year.
A New York claim to fame that did not disappoint is the Rockefeller tree! Simply amazing! 76 feet of amazing! In fact, it might be a few too many feet of amazing. I’m pretty sure I had to hand my camera to least 10 strangers before anyone managed to get me and the whole tree in a photo.
There has to be more than a dozen movies that revolve solely around Macy’s windows. Of course, I couldn’t wait to see them. They were spectacular; I just wish I’d gone there initially. But instead I walked up and down 5th Ave first. Many of shops had elaborate store front windows that I spent a few hours looking at, which only raised me expectations of Macy’s. I mean, the movies never mention 5th Ave. Hollywood, why must you steer me so wrong? Other stores are going to compete with Macy’s. If a store has enough money for rent on 5th Ave, it has enough money to put together window displays just as good as Macy’s. Can you tell which photo is from 5th Ave and which is from Macy’s? If I hadn’t taken them, I wouldn’t be able to guess.
My favorite Christmas display was across the street from Radio City Music Hall. I found the simplicity of red ornaments surrounded by the bright, flashy building to be oddly beautiful. How ironic that I went to NYC expecting over-the-top decorations and impossible things like trash fairies, only to be drawn to the simple and understated.
While New York in December didn’t live up to my Hollywood expectations, I still loved every minute it of it. (Well, all but the five seconds where I was groped by Elmo in Times Square.) And a part of me is glad Hollywood got it so very wrong, it was still New York and I like New York!