austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

In the chill of night

I'm happy to report midtown Manhattan is well-protected by costumed characters. You may have expected that, but on my trip to New York City yesterday about which much more anon, I found an abundance of licensed theme characters. The first: quintessential yet whiny New Yorker Spider-Man, who I spotted while I was coming out of a restaurant on 44th Street. He wasn't attracting any interest from the passers-by, which shows how routine people in full-body lycra suits in the middle of December when it's below freezing are. I don't know if he was going to any particular restaurant.

Later, in a move that'll seem cute when I tell you what I was in town for, I went to Rockefeller Center. Among the crowd of approximately ten billion taking pictures of the tree was a side crowd blocking off an impassable road. This was a lineup of costumed characters. I saw The Grinch, The Cat in the Hat, Dora the Explorer, some character I couldn't identify except he was kind of tan, Elmo, and the iconic Christmas character, Disney's Chicken Little. They were working for tips, and many people were squealing with delight and had to get photos, which shows what kind of hard, whimsy-free people New Yorkers are. (Admitted many are tourists or pretending to be tourists so they can be near the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.)

Around Times Square Minnie Mouse was waving cheerily at a small child who was about seven feet away, leaning forward delighted while also slinking backward terrified. That's about normal for the child's age. A bit farther along was Mickey Mouse, dressed in the popular The Nutcracker/Overdressed 1920s Hotel Doorman/Prussian General Staff Officer style, again being photographed and waved to and fussed over. I bet Spider-Man is jealous of them all, and will be sulking about this for the next two days. In the comic strip this two days will last until the end of time.

Trivia: The September 1626 ship which brought news of the purchase of Manhattan to the Hague also carried a cargo including 34 rat skins. Source: The Island at the Centre of the World, Russell Shorto.

Currently Reading: The Age of Voltaire, Will and Ariel Durant.


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