I just returned from the Big Apple - which is still one of my favorite places, despite the nanny in charge. I was surprised to see Christmas alive and well in New York City, it was everywhere. New Yorkers do not seem to have the fear of Christmas which our pansy class here in California does. They also see to understand the proper usage of the word Holidays - to be used when referring to more than one holiday, rather than a euphemism for Christmas. Like when one is referring to Christmas and New Years, or Hanukkah and Christmas, but most certainly not when one is showing Santa, a Christmas tree and a nativity scene and rattling on about holiday gifts - then you're just a pansy.
Not only is Christmas alive and well in NYC, but religion itself seems to be holding it's own. I saw men of the cloth out and about, doing what they are supposed to be doing- talking to their neighbors, helping out in a myriad of different ways - and providing an element of wholesomeness to the otherwise gritty yet lovable streets.
I also took a ride in the Sabbath elevator at the hospital by mistake - I had heard of Sabbath elevators, but was still a bit surprised to find one, stopping at each and every floor whether I wanted it to or not (I didn't so I exited and took the regular elevator as I needed to go all the way up to 10 and am not Jewish so doing so didn't risk my eternal soul or anything.) But I like the fact that there is such a stubbornly Jewish elevator.
The highlight of our trip was the Rammstein concert in Madison Square Garden. This was the reason for the timing of the trip - Rammstein hasn't given a concert in the US for 10 years and my son and his friends are big fans (my husband and I like them too), so we bought tickets and the 7 of us made the two-day journey from west to east to spend several sweaty hours in the "Mosh Pit". I didn't actually believe they would allow a mosh pit at Madison Square Garden, and right up to the very last minute I expected to find rows of neatly ordered seats up front, but I was wrong, and there was indeed moshing as well as squashing, squishing and exuberant bouncing. All good fun you understand, and as soon as I caught sight of the rather dangerous looking moshing, I grabbed my son's hand and steered him over to a section of the crowd where only squashing, squishing and exuberant bouncing was taking place.
Rammstein puts on a very good show; there are a lot of visuals, and they are very fond of pyrotechnics - so at any given time one or more of the band members is busy setting something in flames. The crowd really loves this, and the moshers work themselves into quite a frenzy - to the point that they begin to launch themselves up onto the top of the crowd. I was more worried about your odd flying mosher landing on my head than the flames on stage getting out of control, because despite the ruffian image the Rammsteins work hard to maintain, they are still Germans, which means any and all infernos will have been carefully planned, staged and executed with the usual German precision and attention to detail. Germans hate surprises.
All in all a top notch concert.
I really could have done without the two-day odyssey which I used to call the flight home. Air travel is just downright painful. Every time I do it I swear it will be the last time - it has become an activity designed to cause the traveler the most aggravation possible, and make them feel foolish for being willing to subject themselves to this gauntlet of nettles. The Germans have a good word for this: "Volksverarschung". Add this word to your vocabulary; you will find it very useful in the coming years.
Glad to be home, finally.