Day: November 22nd, 2006

Thanksgiving Eve 2006

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006 | All Things, Eats, Events

Another nominee for “Worst Things to do in New York City“: Go food shopping at Fairway on Thanksgiving Eve.

I love Fairway Market: the variety, the quality… but on weekends or before 10PM, it’s not for the faint of heart. Browsing the cheese and olives section alone is a full body contact sport, and I have the battle scars to prove it: shin bruises the exact shape of the Maclaren undercarriage; black skid marks over my shoes, matching the tiregrids of shopping cart wheels. (For what it’s worth, I never ever  use a cart at Fairway, and I generally don’t wear open-toed shoes to shop there… anymore.  Yeah, ouch.) It’s the compromise I make for rejecting the often poor quality at the local Food Emporium, and the often outrageous prices at the local Whole Foods. For the value/quality/proximity-to-my-apartment combination, you just can’t beat Fairway.

From a strict observational standpoint, you also can’t beat Fairway as a theatre of social Darwinism. Oh, the drama! Somehow normally functioning people will enter through those doors and lose both their peripheral vision and ability to sense or predict pedestrian traffic flow patterns. I suppose this sort of thing is not just limited to Fairway: I’m constantly amazed at how poor the average person’s understanding of how crowd traffic dynamics can be.

You know exactly to whom I refer: the ones who stop at the top step of a crowded stairway (or worse: escalator) to look around; those who ram their way into, or out of, a subway car only to stop short just in front of the car doors, blocking the entrance/exit for everyone else behind; those who walk three or four abreast on the Broadway sidewalks through SoHo or Times Square during rush hour. It’s a total, almost shocking, lack of awareness. That same group of people will, while shopping at Fairway during peak times, park their carts perpendicularly mid-aisle (or on the corner) while they intently study a label on a can, or casually consider the variety of apple they want to use for their pies. The lack of consideration is directly proportionate to the level of indignance they will display if you attempt to squeeze past — and God forbid, touch them — or worse, ask them to move to the side.

On Thanksgiving eve, you get, in addition to the usual characters, all the people who haven’t fired up an oven since last Thanksgiving. Hilarity ensues. Desperate, frantic cries of “What do shallots look like?” (Kind of like garlic, with bigger cloves/bulbs and papery brown skin like an onion.); “Are sweet potatoes the same as yams?” (Not exactly.); “How many milliliters are in a cup? (240.) “Do you carry non-dairy butter?” (What?) “Is it too late to get reservations at a nice restaurant instead?” (Good luck!)


Well, it’s my own fault, really, for waiting until this night to shop the ingredients for tomorrow’s dinner.

Ah, but one of the best things to do in New York City? Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade balloon inflation. After dropping off my hard-bought groceries at home, I strolled up towards the blocked off streets around the American Museum of Natural History. The rest of the year, the parade’s stars sit inside a four-story warehouse that spans about half a city block. On this night, though, they take up the streets from 77th to 81st Street, taking shape over the course of the day as pumps fill them with helium. It was towards the end of the evening, and the balloons were almost at full capacity, sitting eerily in wait for their proud trip down Central Park West and Broadway tomorrow morning.

Balloon Inflation


Big Bird

Scooby Doo

Hot Air Balloon

Central Park West on Parade eve:

Parade Eve

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