Right before I left town for the holiday break, my friend Anahat and I ventured into the city to go ice skating at Bryant park. We were hoping that it’d get us in the holiday spirit. For those who haven’t been, every Christmas season, you can go shopping at a Christmas village and ice skating at the rink. All of the vendors sell their products in glass houses, the type of buildings you conjure up when you hear that proverb about throwing stones.
We began our evening by milling around the shopping village. I’m always interested to see what vendors deem worthy to sell at a place where you can literally sell anything. There was the usual jewelry, New York-themed paintings, leather-bound objects, wood carvings, pottery, and a whole smattering of others. There were also food vendors serving us up our dinner of $9 dumplings. After soul-crushing line after soul-crushing line, we finally made it onto the ice. I didn’t fall down once, but that is only because I didn’t move very fast. Lifting or moving my feet wasn’t exactly my forte. I had pegged Anahat as the clumsiest person I knew but she practically glided across the ice in comparison to my comically terrible ice skating.
My ice skating didn’t remain terrible. Eventually, I managed to speed up and maneuver my way around the rink. The blades were so thin and offered such little support that it felt like an evening in heels, but it was the good kind of pain, where you feel like you exhausted yourself in the name of fun.
I kept looking down at my feet, but every now and then I would look up. There was something beautiful about the synchronized blur of people shuffling across the ice. I had never seen such organized chaos before. There were couples clinging to one another and others stopping for a photo. Expert ice skaters were weaving in and out of the crowd, whizzing past me just to flex.
The Christmas tree was nothing more than a dotted blur that gleamed imprecisely in my impaired vision, but was still, nonetheless, a beautiful and all-important tree. The best part was when I looked straight up at the skyscrapers at just the right moment. As you come around the curve, just past the Christmas tree, and look up just for a second, you catch a glimpse of the skyscrapers. Then you have to look down again before you bump into someone. If you look up at just the right moment, you can see the Empire State Building. Ice skating with a view.
Christmas carols seamlessly blended into the best hits of the 80s. I could barely skate in general, much less in sync to “Thriller.” My favorite part of the evening was when I was clutching onto the railing and passed by a trio of drunk girls. The first one said to me, “That looks hard. Is it?”
“Yeah, it’s hard.”
“Are you from here?”
“Where are you from?”
“You’re from the Bronx? Like Jlo?”
“No, I’m not Jenny from the block.”
“You look like Jlo.”
I moved on, towards her friends who were moderately less drunk and laughing their asses off at their friend.
“You’re friend is fun,” I told them.
As I moved along, I am pretty sure that she asked me if I knew JLo.
The Tragic Queen,