Wednesday, December 9, 2009

NYC: The Crack Cocaine of Christmas Connoisseurs

It starts out slow enough. Halloween, another pretty well-celebrated event in New York City, just eeks by and the preparations begin. In the doorways, pumpkins fade to wreaths, firs, and holly. In the parks, naked trees arise overnight. A few bars start stringing lights. A few streets and storefronts as well. A somewhat subtle beginning. But then comes Thanksgiving - and once that passes, all bets are off.

Suddenly, the bars are aflood with lights and rife with decor of every description. Bells and nutcrackers and angels and ornaments and santas and gingerbread men and snowflakes and holiday music everywhere you go, growing every day. Some bars go so overboard that you cannot see an inch of ceiling. The Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park Tree Lightings occur, caroling events are held throughout the city, the christmas parties begin. Oh, the sadness of being Jewish or Muslim at a time like this! Talk about missing the boat!

December begins and there are "holiday walks" through the city to see the world-renowned department store windows, the buildings flash their lights and sing christmas music on a loop to passerbys, trees go on sale on every street corner throughout the city, car-sized christmas ornaments appear in the middle of corporate plazas, seasonal christmas markets spring up in the squares, proffering hot apple cider and gluehwein. It is literally impossible to be a bah humbug and live here... unless of course you refuse to leave your matchbox-sized apartment for two months.

It is genuinely magical in the city this time of year, a true holiday high. Come one come all christmas lovers to the City to get your fix! (And please god let them not do Valentine's Day this way!)

Ginger Kick

Of late, while everyone else’s lives become gentrified, mine seems to have become gingerfied. Not only in the way you die your hair ginger or spice up your life by taking risks--although I’ve done both of those as well--I’m talking about being surrounded by all things ginger. It all started with a simple but standout martini at Jade Bar by the name of Ginger Fig. (It ended that night after three.) All of a sudden, it was as if I’d opened my eyes to ginger for the first time. This isn’t true of course, being a fan of homemade carrot ginger soup, having been on a spice tour in Zanzibar, and so on, but it was different this time. It meant more. I needed it. From then on, every drink I ordered had to have ginger in it, dressings, soups, juices, anything for ginger – I was an addict. Then it exploded beyond the spice, beyond the root. Next thing I know, I’m going to Prague with Jeff and Virginia, known by friends as Ginger. While there, we see the Dancing House, a building designed by Frank Gehry that was originally named Fred and Ginger, as it resembles the dancing couple. Most recently, Fred and Ginger was one of the couples themes in my studio photography class. What could it all mean, I ask? What is the lesson to be learned from ginger? And why ginger exactly? Am I fated to marry someone named Roger? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Although the secrets of ginger have yet to reveal themselves, I’m keeping my eyes wide open to each and every sign. Maybe they’re leading me somewhere good. Meanwhile, the journey’s half the fun!