Off the shores 15
Visiting New York City Festive Warm
Something more to Enjoy
Rajiva Shanker Shresta
A late night, we could start for NYC only at half-past ten for a train journey to experience and passing through places reading bold written Trenton Makes the World Takes we reach in an hour Hamilton to find parking lot almost full. Soon the train arrived and we could get seat upstairs of the double decker. In another hour and half we reached the destination to find that NY Penn Station crowded. On enquiry found it to be due to the Annual SantaCon many people dressed like Santa Claus here, there, everywhere. Rest was out like us to enjoy NYC for the pleasant weather unusual for its windy Hudson bank location. It was the day Climate change deal clinched at COP21 ‘When as many as 195 countries reached a deal on Saturday to save the earth from catastrophic climate change that threatens to bring about a mass extinction of species, including human beings.’ Hailing the deal, PM Modi tweeted, “Outcome of #Paris Agreement has no winners or losers. Climate justice has won and we are all working towards a greener future. … Demonstrates the collective wisdom of world leaders to mitigate climate change”
Looking for some information of the city around this time of the year, the NYC Insider Guide had shown “Events December 2015 filled with magic, dozens of holiday tree, sparkling lights everywhere, store window displays, holiday lights tours, ice skating, shopping, (hopefully) white snow, the smell of roasted chestnuts (which, by the way, smell far better than they taste).” Further search led me also to know, “December also means it is time to gear up for eight days of celebration for Hanukkah 2015! It is the season to nosh on classic Jewish food, head to a holiday market to find some great gifts and spend time with loved ones. It is also time to say I’chaim and warm with winter cocktails. Festival of Lights is observed by the Jews lighting one nine branched menorah – or ‘hanukiah candelabrium’ each day. The word ‘Hanukkah’ means ‘rededication’ and commemorates the Jews’ struggle for religious freedom when, according to legend, the leaders of a Jewish rebel army called the Maccabees rose up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt of 167 BC(BCE.)”
This was the first time that this year SantaCon started outside Manhattan at Brooklyn’s McCarren Park that was started in Times Square last year. While Santa costumes were strongly encouraged by the organizers they were not required. Participants could feel free to dress up as an elf, a dreidel or a polar bear. They were working with New York Police Department(NYPD) to make 2015 SantaCon safer and less obtrusive to New Yorkers mapping this year’s route with few rules that may help rebrand in the process of an their image with their advice, ‘Hey SantaCon, have fun. But STAY OFF OUR NAUGHTY LIST.’
Time Square was as usual center of attraction for the visitors as it was also the news hub with the latest world news displayed scrolling. We manage to get some chairs to seat and take rest for a while. Vimal was showing a Spiderman clinging to some pole while another was there with Spiderwoman. Earlier it was a Statue of Liberty seen standing while this time we find three of them gathered at a place. Almost all the comic characters were on the street Mickey-Minnie, Hawk, Star Wars and all infested the road that made authority to impose some restrictions for the public menace but perhaps of no avail due to little money they get to earn their bread. Unless the tickets are booked well in advance like we did for the Madame Tussaud’s and Empire State Building during our 2010 visit but this time it was short planned a day-long trip these were not in our agenda even.
With a long convoy of vans and cars with people full of jubilation Jews celebrating Hanukkah shouting/greeting passersby and to see each of the vehicles decorated with lighted one nine-branched menorah. It took quite a long time to end but meanwhile we could manage to get a cab to take us for another place we were keen to see Café Himalaya Tibetan and Nepali Cuisine (cafehimalaya.net)at 78 E 1st Street in the city. From the cab, we felt the shop to be closed in the dark but reaching closer it was open. Crowded but announcing that we were Nepali a table in far corner was quickly made available for us. There was unprecedented crowd in NYC due to the peculiar nice weather this time of the year. Our joy was added more by the Annual SantaCon and Hanukkah both coinciding that Saturday. Return journey as expected was more crowded people going back home that we could get seat after a while but Vimal only for the latter half the journey. It was half past one when we reached home and really a long day but little tired to cap it with a glass of hot milk.
Next day we were to lunch at the Vietnamese Thai Cuisine for yet another birthday party in honour of Karthikeyan followed by cake-cutting ceremony at his residence at Chalfont. A game of Bingo gave befitting end to the merriment whole day. On our way back we take longer route to see the excellent Christmas lighting spread over a huge front yard over the roof and trees around in suburb nearby by The Drelicks Christmas Light. Drelicks made a name for themselves to be shown on the television as well and they have been doing this show every year for the last 33 years since 1983. In fact, the whole community was in matching décor done for the occasion to bring this honour there. Something more to enjoy, indeed!
This is author’s personal account of memories updated to cherish and treasure often on a detour here and there en route to share the joy of the journey called life while in the US. Some names, places and events mentioned are just to connect with and no malice whatsoever intended. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org