Tuesday, December 1, 2015

24 more shopping days ‘til Christmas

Central Park in the holiday spirit. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015. Well here it is folks: 24 more shopping days ‘til Christmas. When I was a kid I looked at the morning paper everyday just to see the cartoon of the Santa carrying the sack of presents with the countdown. It was very exciting. Now, of course, I am not a kid and the word countdown has the power to evoke chills in the imagination, and I don’t mean reindeer on the roof.

It was cold again yesterday in New York. I write that almost as if I’m surprised (since it’s now December in New York). Alas, it’s supposed to warm up some in the next few days. The Sun was out. The traffic wasn’t so hideous. I told myself it was because not everyone had returned from that beautiful long weekend.
Late Saturday afternoon after a mild spritz in front of my building. I love the sight of the bright yellow leaves slapped against the wet pavement and choking the gutters with Mother Nature's gold marking the end of the season.
I went down to Michael’s to lunch with Judy and Peter Price. On the sidewalk in front of Trump Tower there was a crowd of photographers waiting. For whom? Well who da ya think? There was a big black SUV with tinted windows double-parked and waiting. If I’d waited around to see The Man, I’d have been late for my lunch date, so I kept moving. Crowds waiting outside Trump Tower for The Donald to emerge is not new, and hasn’t been for years thanks to the magic of television. However. Which speaking of, I got a video email last night from Nikki Haskell alerting me that the documentary on Donald Trump was on the History Channel at 9 PM. I was out of the house long before so I missed it, although I’m sure it will soon be available on YouTube or some other venue.
Photographers gathering outside Trump Tower, waiting for the candidate to emerge.
Fifth Avenue was crowded. The tree in Rockefeller Center is up and will be lit any time now. The holiday decorations are up everywhere on and in the stores and the hotels. The Bergdorf Goodman windows are spectacular and something that shouldn’t be missed if at all possible. Yes, they are designed for adults but any child with an imagination will be fascinated too. Which, speaking of fascinating: I haven’t seen it yet but I’ve been told by many that the Jacqueline de Ribes Collection at the Met is wonderful.
The Prices saw “Spotlight” last weekend. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house, and, like everyone else I know who’s seen it, they loved it. Riveting, said Judy.  They are soon leaving for Paris where they keep an apartment, and on Christmas Eve or thereabouts, they are flying to Southeast Asia including Burma and then Viet Nam.

Judy and Peter Price.
They’ve been to Viet Nam before, and look forward to returning. Peter said that Saigon is a very exciting city although where 50 years ago there were lots of bikes on the streets, now there are thousands of motor bikes, so you really have to watch out. The city still has a bit of the French imprimatur, and continues to remain an agricultural country rather than a manufacturer. But is prosperous and vibrant. The hotels are wonderful, the restaurants are wonderful, and “it’s a young population,” giving it that extra zest.

Sunday night I was home and finished early with my work. It was too early to go to bed but I thought I’d get myself in the mood for sleep, and watch a little television. Because I rarely turn it on, I’m completely out of it in terms of shows. Also now there are 200 or more channels. So after looking briefly at the first thirteen, and finding nothing to catch my curiosity, I decided to surf the channels above 100 which was new territory for me (yes, really). Maybe it was the hour but one after another was running commercials, and many of those that weren’t had some kind of crime show until I got to ... the Kardashians. 

Now, I was curious having never actually seen the Kardashians on the tube. Only in the news (Daily Mail Online has a lead article — close to top of the page) almost every day on one of them or all of them. They share that distinction with Kate the Duchess of Cambridge and her baby Charlotte. And sometimes the Queen.
The segment was about ... frankly I couldn’t tell ... nothing. Two girls – sisters I guess – a very pretty California blonde, with what my friend Blair Sabol would call a (medium) bootie and a very handsome black haired girl with a face that could have been painted by Picasso – were sitting around talking. About what I couldn’t tell. The house they were in – in that beautiful California light – was white and pristine. It looked like it was close to the ocean. 

Years ago when Andy Warhol uttered that the day was coming when everybody would be famous for fifteen minutes, it was an amusing maybe even cynical remark, but farseeing and cogent. For the Kardashians, like Andy, their life is their business, and almost as lucrative as Mr. Warhol’s estate. For us it’s a commentary on us and our times, just like the photographers waiting for The Donald outside the Trump Tower yesterday lunchtime.

Meanwhile back on the planet. To brighten your day with another kind of future, Ellen Sweeney, an NYSD reader, sent me this video of young schoolchildren in Clonakilty, Cork, Ireland which and sung for children in Kenya, made for her friend Clodagh’s favorite charity, The Thorn Tree Project.

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