Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Tis the season! In New York that means the season for camera straps, fanny packs and baby buggies. Tourist season! While New Yorkers are happy for the buzzing economy, it comes with a price: we must endure Cadillac sized double strollers, foreigners grinning goofily for cameras in the middle of Times Square and being stopped by map-toting mid-westerners asking for directions. (Here's a hint--the streets are numbered.) The photo above is the Times Square Toys 'R' Us packed with holiday shoppers. Don't they have Toys 'R' Us in Iowa you ask? Well, perhaps, but not with a Ferris wheel, a 12 foot animatronic dinosaur and a six foot Leggo Statue of Liberty. Okay, we do it with style in New York. That's why I live here.

I found myself in the middle of this holiday madness because I have a nephew with a December 1st birthday and there are no hoops Uncle Michael won't jump through to make sure he has a happy birthday. So, yesterday, before the stores opened, Scott and I planned our strategy.

I will admit Scott was the brains of the operation. He suggested I visit the Toys 'R' Us website before diving head first into the madding crowds. I did so and came up with a first, second and third gift choice. We then took the express train to Times Square. Well versed with the subway system, we chose the exit closest to the store for minimal crowd-weaving in Times Square. I was a bit taken aback by the wall of humanity we were met with once inside the revolving doors of the store.

"This is a %*@&-ing nightmare!" I blurted out in spite of myself.
"Watch it! There are kids here," Scott reminded me.
"Hives! Hives! I'm breaking out in hives!" I exclaimed.
"Focus! Second floor!"

I was grateful for the fact that for a 41-year-old Scott has an unnatural affinity for toy stores and works only two blocks away and therefore had an intimate working knowledge of the Toys 'R' Us floor plan. We made a bee-line for the escalator dodging Bugaboos and screaming children the entire way.

Once on the second floor Scott had a general idea of where to find my first choice gift: the GeoTrax Rope and Ride Ranch. (Insert obvious gay joke here.) After asking the exact location, we found the treasured item and even found time to snap the above photo.

Rather than use the check-out on the main level, we chose the less frequented register next to the rest rooms. (A line longer than the ladies loo at a matinee of Chicago!) With receipt in hand, we retraced our steps to the escalator, this time having to resort to alternate routes to allow for over-fed pre-teen boys gawking at the Jurassic Park dinosaur. Once down the escalator, poised with the gift in front of me as a battering ram, I led the way to the side exit. Once in the sunshine and fresh air of Times Square (well--as fresh as it can be in Times Square) we breathed a sigh of relief. Victory was ours!

All in all it was worth it. Nate loved his gift and had a very happy birthday.

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At 1:49 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Ugh - I know how you feel. I HATE shopping and am hoping to do most of my Christmas shopping online. However - I have a Macy's "Friends and Family" 20% off coupon and I need a new suit before making my entrance at our company's holiday party in two weeks ... so I'm trekking downtown in a bit. I can feel the hives starting break out already ...

Glad Nate had a great birthday!

At 5:03 PM, Blogger David said...

That all sounds totally hideous and ghastly. I was going to say you must be mad to do it, but then you post the photo of Nate and I guess he is worth the attack of hives! Such a cutie.

At 6:23 PM, Blogger judy said...

Ah, what we endure for those shiney little faces. Such a handsome wonder we're all willing to try leaping tall buildings in a single bound. You're a good uncle.

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Andy Rosenberg said...

Now that is a Bartoli face!

I don't know what we did before and Scott are braver men than I...

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Donnie said...

Whew! What a good a fellow "good uncle" I'll be giving money to my nieces and nephews this Christmas.


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