Most likely this will not be a news flash to you: during the holiday season Manhattan is more crowded, inconvenient and louder than ever. Long lines are everywhere. There are lines to get in line. Disoriented out-of-town drivers cause gridlock. They stop for red lights in the middle of crosswalks, causing pedestrian bedlam. Prices are high and tolerances are low. Your chance of getting a cab is about the same as spotting a unicorn. In short, it's Hell on Earth.
It's also the time of year when, if you live in New York City like I do, everyone you know wants to come to visit.
The Harringtons came to NYC to visit me today. I actually like these people. Love them, really. In fact, almost too much to embarass them on my blog. Note, I said "almost."
Tim is my college buddy. Jen is his lovely wife and Colleen (junior in high school) and Brian (sophomore) are their kids. I am Brian's confirmation sponsor. He selected me from among hundreds of candidates. Good head on that kid.
I promised Brian that if he'd trust me enough to let me take his picture in a goofy pose, I wouldn't publish it on my blog. As his confirmation sponsor, I feel a responsibility to teach him about being too trusting of people. It's called tough love.
He'll probably be in the market for a new confirmation sponsor tomorrow. It doesn't pay much, but you get bragging rights (I try to take credit for his academic success and you will too.)
The Harringtons live on the Coast. That's the West Coast, although you're probably cool enough to know that since you're reading this uber-cool blog.
My visitors are actually staying in New Jersey with Jen's parents. They are very cool people, good New Jersey Italians, and I love seeing them. Unfortunately they couldn't make it into the city on this trip. [Note: I'll have something to say about the MTV Show "Jersey Shore" in a future blog, stay tuned.]
Here's a picture of the happy Harrington family at Rockefeller Center earlier today:
But I'll get to that in a minute. I know I scared you with the capitals and boldfacing. Sorry, it's a literary effect and this is a literary blog.
Earlier in the day, I joined up with my visitors on Canal Street in Lower Manhattan. Our mission was to wrestle with the unwashed crowds for a variety of counterfeit and probably-stolen items. We're talking jewelry, handbags, watches, t-shirts, you know, life's essentials. I've never been to one, but my guess is that Canal Street is like an Egyptian baazar...on steriods.
Here's a glimpse of Canal Street:
This photo is somewhat misleading, it doesn't convey the full sense of anarchy and aggression. See the guy in the yellow sandwich board on the right? I'll be he's spent time in a prison camp. He's gotta be on a no fly list. And, most likely, he's wearing an electronic monitoring device (fake Cartier, of course.) I think I see an Uzi peeking out from under that sandwhich board.
I snapped a picture of Colleen as some guy was trying to sell her a designer handbag. I noticed the name on it was "Pradaa" but I didn't say anything (that's Colleen's confirmation sponsor's job, not mine.) When I went to show the photo to Colleen on my Blackberry, the guy leaned way over to get a look. He clearly wanted to make sure that he wasn't in the picture. I don't know what he would've done if he had been, but I doubt I'd be writing this blog right now. I'd probably still be looking for my fingers on Canal Street.
Tim (see tree photo above; he's the guy in women's ear muffs in the back row) had one job to perform today. One job. His sister Kaya and her two adorable little girls, Laura and Mia, are visiting from Utica. They're also staying in New Jersey. Tim drove everyone to the NJ bus station in Kaya's car this morning so that they could take the bus into NYC. Tim's ONE JOB was to hold onto Kaya's car key for the day. Just a single key, that's all.
Do me a favor and look closely at the picture of Canal Street to see if you can find the key. We think it's there somewhere. If you have magnifying software, that might help. You didn't expect a "Where's Waldo"-type exercise in this posting, did you?
Tim put the key in the shallow "change pocket" of his jeans for safekeeping. This is also known as the "fifth pocket" or, by those in the garment industry, the "Bermuda Triangle Pocket," from which things disappear.
Tim apparently didn't know of the 5th pocket's vulnerability.
As we stood in the bone-chilling cold shortly after the Rockefeller Center photo was taken, Tim announced that he'd lost the key. It was like the kid from "A Christmas Story" getting shot in the eye with his BB gun. Everyone knew it would happen. In hindsight, anyway. Tim thinks he might have lost the key while getting his wallet out to buy that genuine Rolex watch on Canal Street for $40. When I see how cheaply a vendor with no overhead can sell a Rolex, it frosts my cake to think that they mark them up by about $10,000 at real jewelry stores. What a rip-off.
To make an already too-long-story short(er), Tim called Kaya's husband Dave in Utica, who, I'm sure, never expected to be mentioned in a major international blog (I have a Canadian follower) like this, and asked him to Fedex a spare key to Kaya in New Jersey. All should be well tomorrow.
In the aftermath of the lost key we stopped for hot chocolates. I tried to cheer Tim up and make him forget that he lost the key by doing things like mentioning my recent trip to Key West and the Florida Keys. I also asked his sister if she has an account at Key Bank. Then I drew two pictures of keys and left one on Tim's chair when he went to the men's room and put the other into his glove. Sometimes I like to rub things in. I'm usually a good friend, but not always.
The Harringtons are flying home on Wednesday. They'll have a very long security line to endure given recent developments. It will probably be made more difficult when the TSA agent finds that $5 Canal Street switchblade that I slipped into Tim's inner coat pocket while he was in the men's room at the hot chocolate place. I hope he calls to tell me the whole story, if he's still speaking to me after he reads this. That tale will make a good blog posting and, as you know, all I care about is entertaining you, dear readers.
I could've easily slipped the switchbalde into Tim's change (5th) pocket, but, as everyone knows, it would've fallen out long before he got to the airport.
Thanks for reading today's post. Tim: I'll call you next week to apologize. And, no, you can't delete a blog entry from this site once it's posted, sorry.