Merry Christmas, New York

August 20, 2009
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The city is ticking. In rhythm, the whole city is counting down. The rhythm is carried from the thumps of the pine tree as we drag it over the cracks in the side walk to the ring-a-dings of the bell rung by countless Santa’s outside of every department store in Manhattan. The rhythm is a soft one, conducted by the almost-silence of snowflakes falling in Central Park, muffling our ears, resting on our coats and padding our streets until the friction of cab wheels melt them away. It is eight days, eight days now until the day. The tree is lit, the gifts bought, and the ice skaters fully engrossed in their around-the-clock jubilee. For every comfortable New Yorker walking to the rhythm with his children’s gift tucked under his arm, there is one New Yorker huddled under a coat in the subway station, asking for a few dollars to make it through the chill. The shelters and soup kitchens offer gifts to them just as Macy’s offers gifts to the more fortunate ones, and just as Tiffany’s offers another diamond to the most wealthy of them all. This is a tier we have. A necessary balance of the needy and the needed. The city’s rhythm counts on despite them, descending further into the cold, further into the cheer, further into the strangers on crowded subways, further into the Scrooge-like shoppers, further into the heart of the city. Because that is exactly what we are counting down to. That one day when, regardless of the tiers and the tears and the soup-kitchen fears, there is something inherently New York that is exposed. All is quiet. All is white. And the car horns blare through the peace just long enough to reveal a city beneath a forgotten tradition





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