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Christmas in Manhattan – Indescribable!

At 6:30 in the evening last Wednesday, I passed through the entrance of a building in Midtown East in Manhattan, where I had a meeting to go to. Then I had another one, about ten blocks away. As I stepped outside to walk to my next meeting, I couldn’t believe what I saw – life on the street had changed drastically.

It was unbearably crowded. There was hardly any space to walk. It required patience and skill to navigate through the crowd. A pin couldn’t even fall without hitting someone.

The weather was clear. The towering skyscrapers, a forest of them, each one taller, prouder, more intimidating than the other, shone like candles in space.

The cold was intense. In fact, it was the coldest day of the fall, so far.

I decided not to take the train at Grand Central but instead, to walk. I wanted to feel the cold, to rejuvenate. However, I wasn’t prepared for what I encountered.

It was impossible to go up Fifth Avenue. It was impassable. Thousands of people, mostly young, speaking dozens of languages, yet seeming to unite and become one, representing a single nationality, dressed in warm but colorful clothes, attempted to do what I was doing: to reach their destination.

However, most of them were not in a hurry. They stopped at shop windows, commented on products, laughed, shouted, enjoying the moment – and I enjoyed watching them.

At the same time, though, I noticed the presence of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of police cars with their lights flashing, making their presence felt, conveying a sense of security to the population.

But it wasn’t just the police cars. There were police officers on foot as well, dozens, hundreds perhaps even thousands.

What’s happening? I asked. Why so many people, why so much security?

Because they are lighting up the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza, I was informed.

Officially, we have entered the Christmas season, I thought. For decades, this was symbolized by the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Plaza.

The Christmas season has arrived!

As I walked, the crowd became even bigger. Meanwhile, the police had closed access to the tree. Fifth and Madison Avenues had turned into endless parking lots. Yet, no one honked. They waited patiently, hoping to catch a quick glimpse of the tree, lit up with thousands of lights.

A harmony prevailed amidst the chaos, creating an incredible atmosphere in the middle of the island of Manhattan. The atmosphere of Christmas amid the cold, beneath the towering skyscrapers, the storefronts laden with gifts, the visitors who came from all over the world to participate, celebrate, rejoice, and have fun.

And, of course, to shop.


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