For the first five years I lived in New York City, I worked in an office near the corner of 42nd Street and 5th Avenue. If you need a landmark, the New York Public Library is right there (the iconic building with the lions out front). I was also right down the street from Saks and Rockefeller Center, so the whole area was abuzz with activity during the holidays. It was a boon and a bust simultaneously. I have a hard time with big crowds, and there were times when I’d be out to lunch and I’d look up 5th Avenue and see that sea of people crowding the sidewalk and feel overwhelmed. On the other hand, I still think there’s something magical about the city at this time of year, and I’d see glimpses of that and feel some measure of joy. I like things that are simple: someone changing the glass in the chandelier that hung at the entrance to my office building from white to red and green; a guy playing “Silver Bells” on a trumpet for pocket change; the way the lights reflected off all those glass office buildings in midtown.
I’m thankful I don’t work in the middle of everything anymore, but I miss it sometimes, also. Still, there’s something kind of charming about Brooklyn during the holiday season. All those brownstones with tasteful wreaths or garlands out front makes my neighborhood feel very Victorian to me, like I’ve walked into a new movie version of A Christmas Carol. Sure, you get the people who have Santas hanging off their balconies and plenty of tacky flashing lights, but there’s this one house near my office that’s just gorgeous, with old fashioned decorations hanging from the gas lamp in front of their front stoop.
It’s nice to think about that, as I’ve felt a little grinchy this year. Saturday, I went with a couple of friends to the Central Park holiday market, a European-style open-air market near Columbus Circle. Sometimes there’s magic to be found there, too, but mostly I was too distracted by the crowds and my need to find some last-minute gifts to find it.
I’ll start looking for it again, though.
In book-related news, my upcoming novel The Boy Next Door went off to the proofreader a few days ago. I saw the initial cover mock-up, too, and it looks great! (I’ll post when I get the final.) That will be out from Loose Id on January 25th. It’s about a man who moves back to his home town and winds up living next door to his childhood friend (and teenage crush). I’ll have more to say about that as the release date gets closer. A LOT of work went into this novel, so I’m glad to see the light at the end of this tunnel, and I’m really excited for it to finally be published.