Everyone seems to know that New York City is magic, especially during the holidays. I have always heard that, but for some reason it never really resonated with me. It wasn’t ever a priority to come here, especially during the holidays. Apparently I am the only one in the world that this is true for… and now I know why.
Around Thanksgiving, we went to Rockefeller Center to see the ice skating rink and the beautiful Christmas tree. The energy and the excitement in the air were nearly palpable.
On Thursday after preschool, I took the kids to see (THE) Santa Claus at Macy’s on 34th Street. I am probably completely insane for even attempting it, but when one of the moms at preschool said that there was a subway elevator at Union Square on 14th, I was all over it. Took the subway to 34th Street, with one sleeping baby in the back of the Phil & Ted’s and one tired boy in the front. Got to our stop and found only two flights of stairs, which probably meant that I took the wrong train. So I paced from one flight of stairs to the next, until I made up my mind to try to drag the stroller (all totaled, probably 170 lbs including gear) up three flights of stairs. It was probably a very hilarious and pathetic scene, and it only took about 5 tries before someone offered to come help. Long story short, after two generous helping hands (if you’re out there THANK YOU!) and 4 flights of stairs, we made it to the street, and there was Macy’s in all of it’s glory. By the time I made it inside, up the elevators to the 8th floor and into the line, both kids were asleep and I was SQUEEEEing all over the place. I could barely contain myself, and it was in that moment that I realized that this trip was for ME and only kind of for the kids. They slept through the 50 minute line and through half of Santa’s Village (which was more stressful than it was magical, honestly. The elves are cheery little pricks, rushing me along every time I tried to take a picture. If you have ever read David Sedaris’ Holiday’s on Ice, you know what I mean. BTW, you MUST read it. Go buy it today). When we finally got to Santa, of course Birdie starts screaming and Bubba is backing it a corner whilst tripping over himself. Eyes like saucers and completely FREAKED. Does not want any Duplo, any more. So I got to sit with Santa too and I was probably overly excited about it. We were in and out of there within probably an hour and a half and it was pretty neat… it was just so amazing to be there and live here. I can barely put it into words.
While these things are what make New York City what it is, especially during the holidays, I experienced something that made me a true believer of this city’s magic.
During Thanksgiving, my husband and I were lucky enough to get a night out to ourselves. This doesn’t happen unless we have family in town staying with us, so we jump at the opportunity. We didn’t really have a plan for where we wanted to go, so after a couple of false starts and lousy bars, we ended up at Whisky River (suggested to be by my Twitter friend Patrick). I put a dollar into the juke box and ordered the Pixies “Debasor” (a favorite from my high school days). An hour later (at about 12:45 AM) the song still hadn’t come on, and we were ready to leave. As we were leaving, the bouncer asks if we had a good time, and I just mentioned that I hadn’t heard my song but other than that it was good. He asked which song and when I told him, he gave me a funny look and ran outside. That was strange, but this is NYC, so we proceeded to leave. The bouncer comes back into the bar with a newspaper and starts thumbing through it, finally pointing at an ad. “The Pixies are playing live, right now, around the corner. The show starts at 1AM, if you run you can make it”. NO. WAY. I have been waiting for 12 years to see the Pixies in person, they were my all time favorite band (still are). So we thank him and start running. The streets were all closed for the Thanksgiving parade the next day, but they let us in when we told them we were looking for the Hammerstein Ballroom. The feeling of running in the cold, empty streets of NYC on the eve of Thanksgiving was absolutely and totally surreal. The show was sold out, but there was a lone scalper standing outside with two tickets. We paid for the tickets and made our way inside, where the band had already begun. We made our way through the crowd to the stage and sang along with every word, dancing and laughing. I felt like I was 17 again.
I love my children with all that I am, but it was rejuvenating for my soul to step away from them for a night and reconnect with myself and my husband. I didn’t know how much I needed it until we left the house, and after this night I will be good for a while. The magic of this night, complete with Pixies, was enough to make me fall in love with this city all over again.