There is something insanely magical about New York City at Christmas time. I can never put my finger on it: the lights, the music, the atmosphere, something makes the city transform into a mystical land of concrete.
On any normal day in the city, people get engaged, people have babies, people beat cancer, and people make it big: all magical things that happen on a day to day basis but no one flocks around a hospital or outside a Broadway theater to take pictures and gaze in wonder. But in winter time, Midtown becomes a hub for bundled up tourists with glassy eyes and red noses as they parade up and down Fifth Avenue staring the lights and store windows. Not to mention THE tree.
If you think about it, millions of people go see a giant pine tree with lights on it. Like they have never seen a Christmas tree before. But for some reason in NYC, it is like one of the 8 wonders of the world. And just an avenue over from the giant pine tree are big ornaments and lights just placed on the sidewalk and in a fountain for decoration.
Everything in New York City is bigger, maybe that is where the magic comes from. The tree, the ornaments, the lights, the store windows, they are all bigger and better than anything most people have ever seen. So they come from their small towns and non-English speaking countries by train and bus and plane to stare at, photograph, and stand in the middle of these spectacles hoping to capture the magic that they feel around them.
New York City is undoubtedly one of the greatest cities in the world. Like I said before, ordinary miracles happen everyday and from living there I can tell you that there is always a sense of magic in the air. But during one special time of year that magic is heightened. It is as if all the millions of people is this vast city silently agree to believe in all the miracles and hype of the holidays. And yes, maybe it is because retail giants put on shows in their windows and hold sales that often seem like miracles. But I believe there is something more.
This has only been my first winter in New York City but it has shown me some beautiful things. The grouchy people I have come to be familiar with, can be, in rare occasions, friendly. The crowded streets I dread walking on most days, become enjoyable.
It’s hard to explain as I’m sure it must be hard to read but if you have been in NYC during Christmas, before it turned you into an old Scrooge, you know what I am talking about. That magic that fills the air, the one we used to feel when we were kids listening for Santa on Christmas Eve; the city embodies that magic. Maybe that is the real secret behind the magic, the guy behind the curtain, Christmas time in New York City keeps the child in all of us alive.