A Pictoral Fairytale of New York

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I’m not ready for Christmas to be over.  There is such a long lead-time towards the big day and then ‘poof’ it’s over.  The British at least have Boxing Day the day after Christmas day itself to drag out the celebrations a bit longer.

A Fairytale of New York - recycled cups creating a snowman

The British also have the Pogues song ‘Fairytale of New York‘ playing on endless repeat on the radio.  In fact it is the most played Christmas song in the UK in the 21st century.  I realised in New York City, Fairy Tale of New York is not as popular as in the UK.  Maybe it’s too bleak to be a real fairy tale.  Americans like their anodyne fairy tales. Plus, some of the language is questionable for children to hear.

I’ve got a feeling
This year’s for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

New York City is for dreams, especially at Christmas.  The city that never sleeps sparkles and shines like at no other time.  A siren song for the young and the ambitious, New York will dash the hopes of many against its steel and glass towers.  I followed the call of New York in my 20’s but now I’m simply happy to be one of the tourists that visit.

They’ve got cars big as bars
They’ve got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It’s no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me.

Wandering around New York City last week, I tried to capture the magic of the city at Christmas.  Here are my efforts:

Fairytale of New York
The tree at Brookfield Place overlooks World Trade Observatory
Fairytale of New York
The Saks Fifth Avenue window displays reflected the theme of Winter Palace
fairytale of new york
Fifth Avenue tarted up for the holidays
giant candy canes in Manhattan
Giant candy canes hanging off a building – magical!
Fairytale of New York
A gingerbread house at the Plaza Hotel
fairytale of new york
The old and the new coexist.
fairytale of New York
The only angels that exist in Manhattan.

The Pogues’ song veers between sentimental and bittersweet similar to the feelings of the couple referenced in the lyrics.

I could have been someone
Well so could anyone
You took my dreams from me
When I first found you
I kept them with me babe
I put them with my own
Can’t make it all alone
I’ve built my dreams around you.

I think it is a fitting tribute to Christmas.  A whole lot of sentimentality with an undercurrent of disquiet.  No one has a perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas even though the pressure is there to have one.


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11 thoughts on “A Pictoral Fairytale of New York”

  1. I am one of those that built my dreams around it. I love my New York, and though not Rockwellian, it is definitely an amazing town to celebrate Christmas with its sights and sound.

  2. New York looks amazing during the holidays. Its so festive and colorful. I’ve only been once and it was during the summer, we had a lot of fun although it was pretty muggy for us. But winter time looks magical!

  3. I always dreamed of living in New York City and, in fact, begged my mother to move here pretty much continually throughout my childhood. New York was calling my name. 20 years later, I know the sentimentality you speak of. My dreams at 10 are not the same as now, but sometimes they are the encouragement you need to get you to where you really belong.

  4. Interesting to see winter in NYC from an outsiders perspective. We used to live there and although the holiday festivities were nice winter season is downright awful.

    1. When I lived there both summer with the unbearable heat trapped by the concrete. and the freezing wind tunnels in winter were a nightmare. It’s different when you return as a visitor.

  5. I’m a New Yorker who has never heard that song by The Pogues. 🙂 Some nice photos of some of the holiday decorations that I never get around to seeing. 🙂 I do think there’s a special vibe in the air in this city every December, during the holiday season.

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