December 03, 2003

Christmas Tree Lighting - Rockefeller Centre

The weather outside is frightful. Inside too, since my heat isn't working.

I am always amazed at the number of people who turn out for the ceremonial Christmas Tree Lighting every year at Rockefeller Centre. I used to have a job in the International Building (the one with statue of ATLAS in front). At that job, our Holiday parties were scheduled around the tree lighting so we could all watch it from the comfort of our office. You would think that it would be exciting except all that's really happening is someone is turning on a switch that engages the lights and the tree lights up. Oh yeah and people sing and ice skate as well.

There's no special arrangement of the lights as they seem to be strewn in a haphazard fasion. It's pretty much the same every year. Now I know this entry isn't doing much to promote NYC tourism. Please, if you like tree lightings this is the ultimate event. But I wonder how much fun it is for the 99,000 other people that gather that aren't standing right at the edge overlooking the ice skating rink. The crowds extend all the way to Radio City Music Hall and beyond. And people gather and wait for hours on end. On a day like today, that's dedication.

The Christmas Tree lighting I'm looking forward to this year is the one in Madison Square Park. The tree is standing there already, undressed and waiting, in the middle of the drained fountain. Around the tree, someone arranged 6 smaller trees which I imagine are going to be decorated as well.

I guess I feel less bad that a tree was ripped out the ground when it has smaller trees to keep it company. I never understood the impulse to rip a tree out of it's natural environment to transport it indoors or in the middle of Park from where it doesn't come. Don't feel bad for me if it seems like I'm not in the Christmas spirit. It's not really my holiday and doesn't mean much more to me than some days off and more crowds in the street.

With that said, there really isn't anything prettier than Christmas in New York City. Just when I think I've been here too long and I can't take another Yuletide season, I see some new pretty decoration in some beautiful lobby and I'm reminded that artists are generous and kind.

And people do seem a little nicer.

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