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New York

Jolly Christmas time was 1998 the best time of the year in New York City. It was gray and frigid outside. The child in you delights in watching your breath make clouds of steam that dissipate in the chilly air. Freezing that makes it hard to think or focus. All you can sense is your fingers turning into icicles. The snow on the ground will be white and powdery or mushy and gray. The street lamps all wrapped in tinsel and the sounds of carols float from the speakers of department stores and gasoline stations.

What's Christmas in the Big Apple New York City life.

Just another cold day again in Brooklyn, New York.

As if the Noel spirit father Christmas is trying hard to penetrate the ice and having a tough time of it.  Break for the Christmas Holiday No longer a slave to exams and early morning classes. The battle for a parking spot in the university parking lot. Now a college graduate who had landed her first “grown-up” job as Registered Nurse. This was the excited of cashing my first real paycheck. And headed from my apartment in Philadelphia.  To New York city. To buy gifts for my family and friends.

Another Snowy day to remember in the Big Apple.

What's Christmas in the Big Apple New York City life.

Wintry weather  for christmas day in New York!

The real joy is the  excitement buying things for a few neighborhood kids. Who had nothing and I  meant they were not going to get any toys. They had no food in the kitchen cabinets, no heat coming from the furnace, and definitely less hope that things were ever going to get better. Our heart fill with joy at the thought of their faces. As I pulled out gifts for them for the holidays.

What's Christmas in the Big Apple New York City life.

Holly Jolly day in the Big Apple.  

It was a Sunday morning,  pacing around my apartment, waiting for my friend Devon to arrive. We were going to make the two-hour drive to New York together. After he arrived, we pulled away from the house in a rented car and immediately started listing off the things we were going to buy. Uncle Steve was going to get a New York Giants sweatshirt and aunt Jenny would get a set of cookbooks.

Christmas shopping for all family and friends happens on Canal street.

I had my eye on a pair of gold earrings for my mom.  Tired of seeing my dad squint to see the scores of his sports teams on his tiny, black-and-white, nineteen inch Television. After this Christmas dad was getting a bigger and better Television. Cousins were getting handheld Gameboys, the newest versions on the market. The kids in the neighborhood would receive the newest toys and the coolest clothes.

What's Christmas in the Big Apple New York City life.

 

What Christmas in the Big Apple New York City life is like?

Music Jamming what a day as we drove, we jammed out to Lauryn Hill “Nothing Even Matters” and Bob Marley ” No Women No Cry” Reggae music.  We enjoyed the ride with the heater on full blast As we coasted by the ‘Welcome To New York’ sign. We knew we were nearing the shopping district. The smell of roasted chestnuts from street vendors wafted into our nostrils and we saw Christmas decorations on all the doors and windows.

What's Christmas in the Big Apple New York City life.

Jolly time spend shopping for us.

The familiar sound of the Salvation Army donation bell rang on every corner. The traffic was horrendous. Circling the street for what seemed like forever. We parked and made a beeline for Canal Street. We were spending money like it was our last day on earth.  I felt like a celebrity. Just pointing to things and throwing them in bags there were no limits.

What a great day we had store hopping.

My friends and family were going to feel this Christmas spirit and generosity from a mile away. Seven store’s, and two bathroom breaks.  Two stops to the food vendors later my friend and I were up to our eyeballs in gifts.We’d spent close to $1200 on toys, electronics, clothes, and other valuables.

What's Christmas in the Big Apple New York City life.

It was a Holly Jolly Christmas  except the snowy roads.

Exhausted, as the sun set and the air grew chillier. We loaded everything into the car and  made our way  into Brooklyn where my family lived. We cranked up the heat and the volume on the radio and began our drive. While laughing and singing out loud. Somehow we missed the various dashboard alerts. That warned us was running out of gasoline. As our car put-putted to a stop we coasted to the side of the road near eastern parkway heading towards Flatbush Avenue. Thankfully, a gasoline station was within sight.

 Jovial Christmas time everywhere people laughing and kids playing.

Oblivious to our surroundings we pulled out hoodies over our heads. Stuffed our hands in our pockets and trudged into the wind towards the neon signs of the gasoline station. When we finally arrived, I started pumping gasoline while Devon went inside to get a cup of hot chocolate. Cold weather must make gas pump slower, because it seemed to take forever to fill up the tank.  It’s a cold day in Brooklyn. 

What's Christmas in the Big Apple New York City life.

What a beautiful Christmas in  New York City it was going to be.

Looked like Devon struggling with two cups of hot chocolate at the gas-station door. So I stopped pumping and ran over to help himI swore I heard someone call my name. I spun around towards the sound, and was immediately redirected back to where the car was parked. As if it was a horrible dream. We watched a stranger hop into the driver’s seat of my car. Start the engine and drive off into the night.

Holly Jolly Christmas ruining by strangers.

What's Christmas in the Big Apple New York City life.

Christmas excitement is in the air everywhere.

Devon ran inside to use the phone and I stood there for what felt like forever.  Wasn’t thinking about my frozen ears anymore. I was holding back tears. And thinking about all the gifts and the rental car that were now gone. All of that love and thought put into every gift was disappearing. Just like the car’s two red tail lights.

Holly Jolly Christmas for everyone except for me.

What's Christmas in the Big Apple New York City life.

New York City officers maybe I assumed.

The freezing weather made New York cops move even slower. In fact, they seemed to be in no hurry. To track down the scumbag who stole my car. Those officers moved at a slow pace towards me while talking and walking. They  wrote down our information. The other policeman did a quick visual sweep of the place. Where my car used to be.

Oh Holly Jolly day in New York!

Confirmation they got away and that our automobile had indeed been stolen. Thanks for nothing, Captain Obvious. I wanted to shout. After their “thorough investigation” they promised to follow-up if they heard anything. The auto and gifts never found and we never heard from the cops about whether they’d nabbed the thieves.

holly-jolly-christmas-time-for-everyone-except-for-me

Not in  New York City this  Christmas.

Our families assured us that they were happy. And relieved that the thieves only took our vehicle.Gifts and buggy can alway be replaced. They were just happy that Devon and I were safe. It made me realize the meaning of Christmas.

jolly-christmas

 Holly Jolly Christmas time in the City. 

My friends and family valued my friendship.  Yes, the kids had nothing. They would have liked to have electronics and clothes nevertheless, they were still Jolly.  Everyone glad Devon and I visited. What the kids really need was hope not toys. Christmas could never be stolen. Lessons learn.

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