I’ve always thought that there was no better place to visit during the holidays than New York City. All you needed to do was get yourself to 5th Avenue and window shop, go over to Rockefeller Center and watch the skaters (or skate yourself!), see the tree, marvel at the angels. But this year, something was…different. Lacking.
Oh, we saw the tree:
And we saw other trees, in Bryant Park, where they also had a “Winter Village” that turned out to be not much more than fancy kiosks selling, selling, selling. They did, however, have a skating rink but on this day, Saturday, it was covered with snow! As were we.
The best skating, of course, is done at Rockefeller Center, where they have replaced the usual country flags with billowy bits of silver and gold.
seem to be on hiatus or something. And many of the stores on 5th are…well…crappy.
When I was a little girl, following my uncle as he took me from one great department store window to another, I was dazzled and amazed at everything I saw. I could stand outside those windows forever, watching the mechanical dolls “live” inside their displays.
I don’t know what’s happened to New York, or maybe I just didn’t look in the right places. But it just seems that it’s less than it used to be, that it’s not so much incredible as it is…ordinary. Oh, Cartier still wraps its building with the red bow, and the snowflake watches over the avenue, hanging there somewhere around 50th Street. But the splendor just wasn’t there the other day.
Maybe it was the weather. It started out snowy, then turned kind of icy, then went to pure rainy. The snowy part was good; the others, not so much. Or maybe it’s my age. I’ve been to NYC so often, maybe I’ve become jaded. Or maybe it’s just that they don’t try as hard as they used to to make Christmas in Manhattan magical.
I’ll tell you what WAS magical however. This:
This is Mark Rylance. He is a phenomenon and an even better reason to get yourself to NYC this holiday season. Rylance, if you haven’t heard of him, is a two-time Tony winner and the former Artistic Director of The Globe in London, who has brought his band of merry players over to show America how it’s done; Shakespeare, that is. Not that he would put it like that, but it’s the truth. Rylance is, in my opinion, THE actor of the century, perhaps the best there’s ever been.
Now I know that sounds like hyperbole, but I’m not exaggerating. He’s sheer perfection onstage, this time around as “Olivia” in “Twelfth Night,” currently playing at the Belasco on 44th. The company, which also features Stephen Fry, is doing “Richard III” too, on alternate nights, sometimes on the same day (matinee/evening). Insane.
But I digress. Saturday was also “SantaCon” which is supposed to be an alcohol-free romp through the city, but is anything but. We spotted this guy:
later in the day, while waiting for the 12:23 am train back to New Jersey. He still had the tights on but was definitely missing a few other parts. Although all the Santas started off full of life, most of them ended the evening looking like this:
And although it wasn’t what is used to be, our day in NYC was big, too…and filled with laughter and stars– we saw Alan Alda, too, and though he’s blurry, here he is coming over to tell Stephen Fry (with my friend Trish) to meet him next door in the Un, Deux, Trois Cafe, where we went to get hot chocolate for our walk back to Penn Station:
As we walked the 12 blocks back, wading through the lakes that covered each corner on every street, we wondered, more than once, why we hadn’t taken a taxi. Guess we were just on a Shakespearean high.
Here’s hoping your holidays are merry and bright. The Happiest of Christmases to each of you, my dear readers, all over the world. My wish is that you are all healthy and happy and enjoy the BEST 2014 has to offer.
Feliz Navidad, Nollaig Shona Dhuit, Buone Feste Natalizie,
Selamat Hari Natal…
however you say it, have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!