Christmas is upon us this week and I continue to check items off my Best Christmas Ever To-Do List (see previous post here). I got my real Christmas tree (see previous post here), and attended two neighborhood Christmas tree lightings in search of my perfect Hallmark moment.
No offense to my neighborhood, but Winter’s Eve, the first local tree lighting ceremony I attended, did not feel like a Hallmark movie. It was certainly real life, my real life, complete with taxi cabs whipping by on both sides and siren noises blaring from all directions. In fact, while it didn’t feel very Hallmark-esque, it did feel 100 percent New York, with a live performance by music hall of fame inductee Ronnie Spector and the Ronnettes and hordes of people squished together on a small greenspace between two major roads filled with rush-hour traffic. As sleet pelted down, locals wrapped their baby carriages in plastic and carried on in force. The tree lit up, the live music played on, and we all sampled yummy food. Yup, that’s 100 percent my town.
My second tree lighting was at Tavern on the Green, a restaurant located in one of my favorite places in all of New York City: Central Park. If the first tree lighting at Lincoln Center was epically “New York,” this one was the Hallmark version I had been seeking. It was perfect!
I entered into Central Park at night, guided by the twinkling lights of Tavern on the Green. The entrance to the iconic restaurant is flanked by white lights and statues of drummer boys. I walked through the gold-accented foyer to reach the courtyard, where I was bombarded by not only the cold air, but by the sound of young voices from LaGuardia High School (full name Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School Of Music & Art and Performing Arts, and for movie buffs, it’s the high school from Fame) singing beautiful Christmas music. Between the choir of young voices, little ones running underfoot, and soup and cookies being shared for free, (and minus the honks and sirens of city traffic), this felt exactly like a Hallmark movie.
That’s the beauty of living in New York City: I can have my city moments and my Hallmark moments. I can enjoy a large community block party with neighbors, and then I can walk a few blocks and find an intimate Hallmark moment . . . also with neighbors. Whether you like large events or small, embracing community, whatever shape or size that community is, brings a little taste of Hallmark into all of our lives.
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday with the ones you love.