Thanksgiving weekend in New York City is my favorite weekend to just be in the city. Reason? Everyone leaves! On Thanksgiving Day, the city is abuzz with the people going to see the parade and heading towards Macy’s. That’s for them. I never do anything like that.
Once the parade is over, then the real stillness arrives unless of course you happen into Times Square or more touristy places. But even the touristy places aren’t as busy – I guess because people stay home with families on Thanksgiving.
If you’re lucky enough to stay, you can get invited to someone’s house for dinner. I love these invitations because oftentimes the dinner table is full of foreigners who have no clue what Thanksgiving is or those who’ve missed their flights back to Ohio, and/or those who just want to stay in the city. That would be me.
Explaining Thanksgiving to foreigners is fun. They get the whole Pilgrim thing – many come from countries where people are persecuted for religious beliefs or sexual orientation or whatever.
The thing they don’t seem to get is why we eat so much! Most foreigners think Americans are too fat – heck – most Americans think most Americans are too fat. So I love to hear the litanies of why one should not eat so much while sitting in front of a table jam-packed with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, squashes, buns and breads, salads and string beans topped with fried onions from a can. The foreigners are bewildered.
Then once the meal is over and we all go back to our reclusive apartments and homes, the real peacefulness of Thanksgiving weekend in NYC sets in.
You hear fewer cars and fewer horns clanking, fewer ambulances and fewer drunken people screaming at the top of their lungs. You see fewer dogs, fewer baby carriages and the sound of silence creeps in unexpectedly. At first, to the novice, it can feel very disconcerting – almost surreal. But for me, it’s heaven – a respite from the clinking, clanking cacophony of city life.
And the restaurants! Many stay open – again staffed by all those foreigners who don’t go home and who can work. There are few things as relaxing and calming than to sit at a restaurant bar, bedecked with candles and napkins with a glass of something really red, soothing and comforting. You can actually chat with the bartender and finally know their name. You can learn something about them, maybe where they are from, or if they have a partner. For a brief moment, New York City feels like a small town!
So although I am thankful for many things on this, another Thanksgiving – what I am most thankful for is the peaceful, quiet, calmness that blankets this normally chaotic city.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Photo credit: happythanksgivingday2013. com.