I’ll start off right now by acknowledging that this blog entry will not make me popular with some people. If you are the kind of person who looks forward each year to the day the giant Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center gets lit, then you are “some people” and you might want to spare us both some grief and stop reading right now. Trust me. At this moment I’ve got your best interests in mind.
Still here? OK, now that “some people” have gone, I can tell you how I really feel.
I like Christmas. I really do. For a nice Jewish boy from New York, I do a heck of a lot of Christmas celebrating this time of year. We have a real 8 foot Frasier Fir tree decorated down in our den. I even strung all of the lights on it myself this year. (Now I know why Jews just light candles.) We also have an artificial tree in our living room. We have 3 menorahs too. I worried when we got the third menorah a few years back that my wife would say now we need to get a third Christmas tree. Maybe she hasn’t noticed. Please don’t tell her.
I give you all of that background so you don’t think I’m Ebenezer Scrooge.
I just walked across town from my office to Grand Central Station. Between my office and Grand Central sits Rockefeller Center. Most mornings, I stroll through there and catch a moment or two of the Today Show. Most evenings, I hustle through to catch my train and I have no issues.
But tonight – and every single year on the night of the tree lighting – that area becomes impossible. Police blockades prevent you from crossing the street and people are packed in so tightly there’s no way to move in either direction.
Why? Well to see the lighting of the tree, of course.
I like the tree. I enjoy passing it on my way to and from the train each day. It is a very pretty Christmas tree.
When it comes to the lighting, the streets are insane. Even walking 5 blocks south of the tree, the streets are still barely passable. Move along people. There’s certainly nothing to see here – we’re 5 blocks away. Some of us want to pass by and go home. A walk that normally takes 15 minutes tops took me 30 minutes tonight. Lucky I didn’t have plans.
As I said, it is a very pretty tree. But let’s face it, hundreds of cops and thousands of people really don’t need to cram in to stand there while someone plugs it in. I mean, you don’t even get to see the guy flip the switch. First the lights are off. Then the lights are on. Sweet. So glad you made the trip, right?
My advice? Come around tomorrow morning or tomorrow night to see it. The lights will still be on and it will look just as pretty as today.