New York and Christmas

New York and Christmas


In 1979, I was a young staff person for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on Foreign Aid. I re-searched topics like population control and narcotics control programs in my small and very insignificant role. It was said that I had the best of both worlds – drugs, and sex.

In December that year, I was sent by the committee to New York to attend a conference on population at the Rockefeller Plaza. I arrived for my first-ever visit to New York about the second week of December. My mind went crazy with Christmas overload. I had a two- year- old and a 6- month- old at home, and Christmas now had new meaning to me. The weather was brisk with occasional snow flurries. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I wanted to bring my family back to see what I was witnessing. Although my wife had been an Army brat and a world traveler, I was sure she had never seen anything like this.

As I walked out of the meeting and into the Plaza, I stopped to watch the ice skaters. The area had been cleared out for one skater’s performance, Jo Jo Starbuck, the three- time United States pair skating champion and two- time Olympian. 

As I watched her skate, a light snowfall began to cover the area. Christmas music was echoing through the Plaza. The flags surrounding the Plaza were gently blowing in the breeze, and I fell in love with New York at Christmas.

 I did bring my family back to New York for Christmas on several occasions. It was everything I had hoped it would be. We were able to meander through Central Park and watch the lovebirds hold hands and skate, to take a carriage ride around the park, and of course, to shop at Macy’s on 34th Street. We always took in a play or two and was able to get the whole family hooked on Broadway.

The first year I took the family was the best. They were as awestruck as I had been. We awoke on Christmas Eve, had breakfast, and went to see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. After the show, we took a cab to the airport, flew home, and had Christmas Eve dinner in the comfort of our own home. The next morning, we were all still excited about the adventure. It was then that I realized just how much shopping we had also done.

I have gone to New York for Christmas at least a dozen times in the last 25 years. It never gets old. I had planned to go again this year but obviously will have to put those plans on hold for an-other year.