At this time of year I’m always of two minds regarding midtown Manhattan: I’m anxious to see the fabulous, elaborate holiday decorations but I also want to stay far away from the hectic, bustling crowds that overflow the shops and stores and make the sidewalks impassable.
This evening I was in midtown, only a few blocks from Rockefeller Center, when I decided to take a short detour and get a quick look at its legendary massive Christmas tree (currently an 88-foot tall Norway spruce from western Connecticut) and fabled ice skating rink.
I slowly waded through the masses in the Channel Gardens that lead from Fifth Avenue to the holiday display, snapped a few photos of the tree, and moved forward towards the skating rink. Despite the patient, smiling security guards, the throng around the railing was at least 12 deep and many were trying to push and plead their way to the front (“We came all the way from India for this!” “We flew here from Texas just to see the ice rink!” “Please let my sick little boy through to see the skaters!”).
I extricated myself from the crush and started to walk towards the subways when I saw a spot, right near the elevator, where relatively few people stood. I headed there and squeezed in between a large family from Connecticut, another from Russia and an excited group from Italy.
As I leaned towards the railing to take some photos, the surrounding crowd jostled me and I concentrated more on keeping my balance than watching the action on the ice. When I looked up, I noticed an attractive young couple standing stock still in the middle of the ice. I took a couple of shots of them, a few more photos of the crowd in the rink, and left.
When I got home and looked through the images I’d taken, I realized what I’d inadvertently captured. Since they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let the photos (sorry for the poor quality) tell the story of the boy with the blond hair, the girl with the pink scarf, the rink and the ring.
The 88 foot tall tree at Rockefeller Center
Looking onto the skating rink
The ice is crowded
A couple skates to the center of the rink
He drops down on one knee
The clinch; looks like she said “yes”
He presents the ring
They don’t even notice the gathering spectators
They skate off as the crowd applauds
The Rink at Rockefeller Center