I am trying not to be a Scrooge regarding Christmas trees this year, but my neighborhood is making it very hard to appreciate the joy and beauty of pine trees. Now, I will concede, I do not live near Union Square or Columbus Circle, or Madison Square Garden where the big, outdoor Christmas markets are set up, and form what I hear, making residents in those areas true Scrooges and Grinches. I do however live near the most ill placed Christmas tree stand I have come across in all of Manhattan. Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.
The stretch of sidewalk on Lexington between 95th and 96th Streets has been rendered a one lane, traffic jam where it is impossible to walk the length of the block in under five minutes. The trees lined up closest to 95th Street are huge. Who the hell can squeeze a nine-foot tree into their Manhattan apartment? I am assuming the people who own the townhouses hire someone to trek out to the woods, chop down a tree, then haul it back to the city, and set it up in the parlor for all to see. As you get closer to the middle of the block you find that the only place to walk is on top of the subway grate. They did lay down rugs this year, which is a slight improvement from last year, but the number of people in this city who are scared to walk on those grates, or simply refuse to for whatever principles they need to stand firmly by is astronomically high. And when it rains those rugs are the most absorbent, grossest things you have ever seen or squished your designer shoes across. As you get closer to the subway entrance and the trees shrink in size the trek does not become any safer or faster. They place tress and wreaths on both sides of this already impossible walkway toward the middle of the block. They have also strategically placed the machines that cut the trunks and wrap the trees in netting closest to the subway entrance and should they be doing either of those things you will inevitably be smacked by a tree, or another human trying to avoid the fate of being smacked by a tree coming straight at them.
I have almost, almost not quite, gotten used to the backed up pedestrian traffic. What still makes me want to scream, “BAH HUMBUG!” at the top of my lungs are the people shopping for Christmas trees. They stop and take a step back effectively smashing their asses into the trees directly behind them, and oh and ah over the trees and wreaths. They are in full blown shopping mode. They are beyond oblivious to the fact that other people may in fact be trying to get to work on time because they are shopping only steps from a major subway entrance. When they do realize that someone is hovering a little too close to them they step in a way that allows them a better view of whatever holiday greenery they are contemplating bringing home. Often times a polite, “Excuse me,” is met with a glare or indignation at the fact that their merriment and laborious task of Christmas tree shopping is being interrupted.
While I have considered the fact that I could walk a block out of my way to go around this nonsense and enter the subway at one of the other entrances I refuse to be forced to go out of my way, especially now that it is cold. I should not have to alter my routine for the sake of bringing the great outdoors indoors for one month. I mean, come on, I should not have to alter my travel route for a holiday I am willing to bet the majority of my neighborhood does not even celebrate.