Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kate Miller 6: A Day to Remember

A glimpse of my few unforgettable hours in downtown New York a couple days before Christmas...

6. A Day to Remember
            When it came time to disembark the Norwegian Jewel, Kate was glad that they had several hours before they needed to be at the airport. She had never been in New York City before (except for the chaos of the week prior) and, even if they couldn’t tour much, they could at least walk around a bit. The air was chilly, but the sun was out, and neither Kate nor Mister had a problem staying warm, with their three bags and two backpacks in tow.
            They made their way up midtown from the dock into the city on their way to Times Square. Kate wondered what it would look like. Would there be a sign saying, “Times Square”? When Kate saw the Broadway street sign, she knew instinctively (without any sign) that this was the famous Times Square. No cars in the street, just thousands of people milling about on the Sunday before Christmas. Huge hi-def megascreens lined the sides of the buildings on each side of the square, advertising anything from the shop right beneath the screen (A little prosaic…thought Kate), currently running shows (Really?! Ricky. Martin. In Evita? Unbelievable…), movies, toothpaste, and last-minute Christmas shopping (boring…). But then, they saw a truly ingenious, non advertising, absolutely fun screen.
the fun screen
(see the red couple in the middle with the bags?)
            It was a camera shot of the street opposite the screen, so you could watch yourself and the other people around you, and periodically, dialogue or thought bubbles would appear over someone’s head. Kate wondered if they were on a random cycle, or if someone, somewhere was typing them in. Someone leaning against a light pole was thinking, “Late night last night…” Another popped up, “Let’s rock around the clock!” And still another, “Sorry, need to tie my shoe.” Another: “Party, party, party.” There was an endless variety, it seemed, but they didn’t appear very often. Then one popped up over Mister’s head. It said, “Forever and a day…” Kate giggled with delight and chose to believe that someone, somewhere actually wrote it for them. Such a statement on screen deserved substantiation (on screen) by a prompt kiss.
            Having captured evidence underneath a Broadway street sign that Kate had now, indeed, been to New York, they made their way (with their luggage in tow) toward the world’s largest department store, the famed Macy’s of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Afterwards, Kate couldn’t remember how they even got in the doors (considering their luggage in tow). What she did remember was that the door alarm instantly went off. But the attending sales clerk was apathetic. “Don’t worry about it,” she said, “If it’s going off now, it will when you leave too. You’ll be fine.” Kate wondered at her blasé attitude and had fleeting thoughts of shoplifting, which were deterred if not solely from a sense of honor, at least from a sense of soreness in her back, neck, and arms.
the Santa-Yoda
            The Macy’s was decked out in full Christmas attire: evergreen arches and big shiny red balls, Christmas trees, ornaments, and laughably, a giant Lego Santa-Yoda in the toy section. One whole floor (except for a selection of convenient on-sale furniture) was dedicated to Christmas ornaments. Kate and Mister went on each of the 9 floors, plus the basement (still with their luggage in tow). It didn’t matter that they didn’t really see each of the floors. The real point was to ride the delightfully ancient wooden escalators. But all good things come to an end, wooden escalators sooner than most. And Kate, who was feeling eleven o’clockish decided it was probably time to make their final trek to Penn Station.
            On the way, Kate won the jackpot—meaning she was able to buy ten postcards for a dollar, when earlier on the street she had seen a “deal” of three postcards for four dollars! Penn Station was busy and crowded. The line for their train tickets was long, packed with fans going to the Jets game across the river, but they got their tickets with plenty of time to spare. Mister bought a spicy gyro outside from a street vendor, and they made a very happy picnic on the floor of the station.
            “Just think!” said Mister as he passed the gyro back to Kate and took a sip of water, “By the end of today, we’ll have traveled by boat, train, plane, and car…and foot!”
            Kate thought of it, and glowed. There never before was such a day. Surely a day to remember!  

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