New York from World Trade Center
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

A Fictional New York Christmas Story For 2021

Enjoy something a little different for the holidays.

Sarah had never been to New York. She had seen the skyscrapers, the food, the crowds, and the famous landmarks in movies, on television, through photographs in magazines, and in her imagination when reading books — and one of the things she always wanted to do was see the city in all of its grandeur during the Christmas season.

A Fictional New York Christmas Story For 2021

For one reason or another, she never had the opportunity to visit New York during the holidays. The timing was not right; or she did not have the money to fund the trip — but her close friend was originally from New York; and she told her about how magical the famous decorations are at Rockefeller Center as people skated around The Rink in front of the enormous Christmas tree, which was decorated to the hilt and brightly lit.

“I have a surprise for you,” Rita told Sarah. “It’s road trip time. I’m taking you on a trip to New York!”

Sarah could not contain her excitement. “Seriously?!?” she screamed as she jumped up and down.

“We’re going right now,” Rita said with a smile. “Get your things together.”

Several hours later, they found themselves in a traffic jam backed up to Pennsylvania, with thousands of lanes of cars and trucks jockeying for position to squeeze into two lanes through the Lincoln Tunnel with views of the landfills and chemical factories which dotted the landscape along the New Jersey Turnpike…

…and this was before the snow started to accumulate on the surfaces of everything in sight — never mind that the ambient air was at least 20 degrees colder than back at home. To lighten the mood, they tuned in to a radio station that played nothing but Christmas music for the entire month of December.

“What does he mean when he sings ‘Santa Claus is coming to teh’? What’s a teh?” Sarah asked as Bruce Springstein — which is intentionally misspelled for this story — sang his version of the famous Christmas song. Rita chucked about the New Jersey legend, “I have no idea what a teh is; but he cracks up laughing with his ho ho hos when he sings it!”

As the car sloshed through the gray slush of the streets of the city on the other end of the tunnel, Sarah was mesmerized as she saw the tall buildings — and, eventually, the lights of Broadway as the skies turned dark. Blamin’ it all on the nights on Broadway, she supposed.

After paying $623.78 plus tax to park the car in a public garage, the two women found themselves along what is known as The Channel Gardens of Rockefeller Center — where the angels line up and blow their horns — while the shiny golden statue of Prometheus keeps a watchful eye on the aforementioned skaters in front of the decorated giant tree.

“I want to skate on the rink!” Sarah said excitedly. Rita went to get tickets — only to find out that the last two slots cost $54.00 per person for the privilege. After some contemplation and discussion, Rita said, “Ah, why not? Let’s do it! You only live once!”

The last two slots were unfortunately sold out during that time.

“That’s okay,” Sarah said, slightly disappointed but still happy to see what she always imagined as Christmas in New York, watching the people skate on The Rink and pass by as they were doing their last-minute shopping, with lights everywhere as the snow gently fell. It really was a magically beautiful scene, Sarah thought to herself with her rosy cheeks glowing and the biggest smile anyone could ever see…

…but both women eventually started to get hungry. Kosher delicatessen? Pizza? Chinese food? Steak? Frankfurters? Falafel? So many choices to fill the stomach for which New York is famous — but which cuisine to select?

Once a decision was made, Rita and Sarah walked several blocks to where they were to purchase food on which to dine — but there was one problem: the city of New York has a program called Key to NYC, which is designed to help stop the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus by requiring certain types of indoor entertainment, recreation, dining establishments, and fitness establishments to check eligible proof that their visitors and staff are indeed vaccinated; and one of the woman left her vaccination card home; and the other was unvaccinated.

The identities of which woman was which will be left confidential for their protection.

A creepy man in a dull black leather jacket, torn jeans, and scuffed work shoes was standing outside of the dining establishment, smoking a cigarette through his mask which had more holes in it than Swiss cheese. Like a young teenager seeking to purchase alcoholic beverages to take back to his friends so that they can drink, Rita walked up to the man and whispered her dilemma to him while slipping him a $20.00 bill as an incentive.

The man’s eyes darted left and right to make sure that the coast was clear before saying in the thickest New York accent, “Okay, lady, I’ll do it. But it’ll cost you da price of da food plus 50 bucks.”

“50 bucks?!?” Rita exclaimed in astonishment. “Whaddya, kiddin’ me?!?”

“Hey, listen,” he replied in an agitated tone. “Youse are askin’ me to do sumptin dat could get me in hot wawter. I ain’t wantin’ to get in trouble heah. Now if you ain’t gonna gimme my soivice fee and do it, den fuhget about it.”

Grudgingly, Rita handed the man $150.00 for the food plus the service fee — not knowing whether she would ever see a return on her investment.

After waiting out in the snowy cold for two hours, the man finally returned with the food.

“Where’s my change?” asked Rita.

“Change?!?” he replied, laughing. “Ya gotta be kiddin’ me, lady. You got a good sense of humor!”

Any of the outdoor benches — which were few and far between — were all occupied; so Rita and Sarah settled on sitting on a cold, wet curb in front of a fire hydrant several blocks away; and they began eating. The food was no longer warm — which caused Rita to sigh in resignation.

“OMG, this is so-o-o-oo delish!!!!” Sarah blurted joyfully, full of delight, licking her fingers and lips after each bite. “This is absitively posolutely the best food I’ve ever had!!!”

“See?” Rita asked as she recovered and also devoured her food. “Whad I tell ya?!?”

Of course, this was before a car unexpectedly splashed filthy slushy water all over them. Fortunately, they just finished eating at that point.

Cold and tired, the women decided to retire for the night at what turned out to be a dumpy fleabag hotel which looked elegant through the photographs on its Internet web site. “Those pictures were taken 27 years ago,” the front desk agent — who, like the hotel, apparently had seen better days — explained. “The place aged a bit. It now has character.”

After a sleepless night of sirens, flashing lights, the constant honking of horns from the traffic, water dripping from the faucet, a false fire alarm at 3:14 in the morning, and even a few bed bugs to keep them company as they dined on the women, Rita paid the $841.27 room rate — plus the destination fee of $89.00 plus taxes and fees — for the night and left with Sarah for the parking garage…

…but the car was not there. Rita apparently parked in the wrong parking space and had her car towed. The cost to recover the car from the impound lot twelve blocks away was $746.91 — plus tax, of course.

Defeated and weary, Rita decided to head home early. After performing a similar exercise for a couple of hours to jockey into position to drive through the Holland Tunnel back into New Jersey, Rita profusely apologized to Sarah about the disaster of a trip to New York.

“Are you kidding me?!?” Sarah replied, not knowing to what Rita was referring. “I had the time of my life! Thank you for making my dream come true, Rita. I will always remember this trip. You’re the best!!!”

Suddenly, the entire experience was worth every penny, every second of time, and every last ounce of effort, as Rita repeatedly glanced at the huge smile on Sarah’s face during the long drive home — which caused her to smile herself.

Final Boarding Call

The purpose of this fictional story is to put a smile on your face for the holidays — as well as have you realize that as bad as things can be in the world, there is always a silver lining and a positive side to adversity. After all, positive change starts with you and me

…and if you did not like this story, I apologize. You can instead read articles elsewhere — links are not provided, as they are easy enough to find — which are about:

  • A man dragging a woman by a leash aboard an airplane
  • Every person and his or her grandmother who were tested positive — regardless of vaccination status — for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus and apparently deserved a headline and an entire article about it
  • Celebrities who are suddenly medical experts as they dole out what they consider to be advice
  • A police officer who pulled a gun on a crowd during a brawl
  • A law enforcement officer who punched a passenger in the face at an airport
  • A passenger who assaulted an air marshal and caused a flight to be diverted
  • Countless videos of chaotic fights at airports
  • People who refuse to wear masks at any cost
  • Lockdowns in countless jurisdictions around the world because — well, you know — they worked so well the first time
  • One of thousands of articles which are all about selling you credit cards

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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