Guardia Sanframondi, Campania, Italia
After a monogamous relationship of 24 years, you and I decided to part ways. I no longer felt the same spark at the initial start of our romance. You were too big and crazy for me. And maybe I was a little more reserved for your taste. I just needed a change.
But now … I miss you. I miss our late night walks. I miss our rendezvous in the park. I miss the ability to order Chinese food 24/7. But most of all, I miss you at Christmas.
I miss seeing the towering, shining tree at Rockefeller Center in all its glory. I miss watching the skaters glide at Wollman Rink, while my father and I attempted to skate along with them. I miss cheering for the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall. I miss visiting Santa at Macy’s with my big brother. I miss strolling along Fifth Avenue to gaze at the windows at Tiffany’s and Saks. I miss browsing through the market in Union Square in search of fun gifts for family and friends. I miss sipping hot chocolate in Bryant Park with my family.
I miss living in a place where Christmas truly feels like a snow globe come to life. Christmas in New York is like no other. The city sparkles.
I was born and raised in Forest Hills, Queens, just a quick train ride into Manhattan. I grew up with New York City as a close and personal friend.
From when I was a little girl, my mother and I wandered through the city as if it were our job. We took day trips to visit the big blue whale at The Museum of Natural History with a stop at The Papaya King for hot dogs.
But a little over five years ago, I decided we needed to split up. I wanted to live some place small and personal, where people said hello to each other, where the store owners remembered me, where people stopped their cars to let pedestrians pass. So, I moved to Italy.
I love living in Italy, I really do. But I find that at this time of year, I miss New York the most. Christmas brings out the best in people, even in busy NYC. People seem friendlier, more open and more willing to believe in the Christmas spirit.
So, New Yorkers, I beg of you:
Please, take a minute to look up from your cellphone and appreciate the big, sparkling, beautiful city right in front of you. I know, I know. It can be tough to appreciate what is right in front of you. But seeing New York at Christmas is on so many peoples bucket lists. If you’re lucky enough to live in New York, take advantage of it and be sure to enjoy everything the city has to offer!
Take a stroll through the Columbus Square market while sipping cocoa. Get tickets to a Christmas show. Take a walk in Central Park in the snow, heck, make snow angels! But most of all, never take Christmas in the city for granted.
Better yet … give the big guy in the red coat a visit for me at Macy’s and tell him Caroline sent you … he’ll know who it is.
Caroline Chirichella is a former New Yorker now living and working in Italy as a chef and freelance writer.