Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day in Times Square

St. Patrick's day.  Celebrated in America by the Irish and, well, everyone that has ever heard of the Irish.  A holiday that commemorates the life of Saint Patrick, a widely successful missionary in Ireland in the second half of the 5th century.  How do we Americans celebrate the holiday?  Drinking alcoholic beverages and wearing green.  And . . . well, that's about it.  I'm sure that the folks over in Ireland who are celebrating their RELIGIOUS HOLIDAY are appalled by America's choice of celebratory traditions, but it's true.  That's what we, as a country, do.  I mean, there's a parade or two, but that's it. Drinking beer and wearing green. And sometimes drinking green beer.  And what place is more appropriate to do these things than New York City, a city that has the second highest number of bars per square mile (Athens, Georgia is first - who knew?).  So, in honor of blogging about New York's St. Patrick's Day celebration, I headed to the city's epicenter of celebration - Times Square.  Yes, folks. I did it.  Now, ask any sane New Yorker and they will tell you that this is the LAST place any local would want to be on March 17th.  But, I braved it.  And, actually, it wasn't so bad.  For a while. 

Around 3pm, I grabbed a salad and my jacket, plopped my butt on a pylon on 47th and Broadway, and munched while I observed the action.  First things first: obviously, practically everyone was donning some shade of green on some part (or every part) of their bodies.  As I observed, it was actually kind of fun to see all the creative uses of the color in various fashion plates.  Older women wore crocheted sage sweaters, fashionistas sported fur-trimmed emerald coats, the occasional business men wore forest green ties with their suits, and the majority of traveling frat parties wore the obligatory green buy-them-on-the-street tee shirts.  Apparently, "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" was out this season.  "Kiss Me, I'm NOT Irish", "Kiss Me, I'm Wasted", "I <shamrock> NY", and "Why are you staring at my freaking green tee shirt" had replaced the old classic.  Second: For some reason, on St. Patrick's Day, people travel in large groups.  I watched traveling parties walk past, taking pictures and laughing.  Folks old and young seemed to be spending the (gorgeous and sunny) day with their pals.  'Now, that's not a bad way to spend a holiday', I thought.  A group of cute young girls stopped and asked me how to get to Penn Station.  When I told them, the majority of the group let up a unanimous cheer like I had told them that there would be a fourth Sex and the City movie and forged ahead down Times Square.  It was a lovely, cloudless March Thursday and folks were spending it with their pals.  So what if they were imbibing alcohol.  My verdict: St. Patrick's Day=cheerfully fun.

And then I headed off to my 4pm obligation.  On a side note, if you were wondering why I haven't been blogging so much lately, I have a fabulous new internship at TVI actor's studio.  (Incidentally, if you're an actor or an aspiring actor, they have tons of great classes with awesome agents and casting directors.  Seriously - that's why I'm interning there - fab.)  Anyway, I was inside from 4-8pm and then headed back out to spend some more time observing my fellow cheerfully green-clad Americans in Times Square.  Um . . . a WHOLE different story.  The first thing I saw was two women on the corner of 46th filing some kind of police report - both were wearing green feather boas and one was bleeding from the head.  I crossed the street and a small dodgy-looking character walking with one eye open nearly missed knocking me out with a shamrock-shaped bag.  I high-tailed it across Broadway and picked my way through a group of girls that were SITTING on the disgusting sidewalk.  One was sobbing, one was asleep, and the other two were trying to console/keep seated the other two.  Ew.  Wait.  This wasn't cheerful and fun anymore.  You know when you're out dancing at a club and they turn the lights on full blast and everybody that was once really hot suddenly look sweaty and busted?  Yeah . . . like that.  I walked down 8th avenue and stepped over a puddle of puke.  Yes, human vomit.  Orange, chunky human vomit.  And, incidentally?  That was not the only vomit I had to circumnavigate in my short 8 block walk to the bus, that was, of course, filled with loud talkers, heavy sleepers, and people that I was genuinely afraid would produce still more vomit.  Okay, that's it.  Done with St. Patrick's Day.   I hopped off my stop in New Jersey and was VERY thankful to be at home.  And wearing purple.

The moral of the story?  St. Patrick's day should only be celebrated in the daylight hours.  The end.


John said...

My wife and I work in NYC. Yesterday morning while waiting for the A or C train connection at 42nd Street a too crowded A train showed up. One car was totally empty but remained closed. I asked the conductor who had his head out the window if there was a dead body in the car. He said "No, too much vomit! And it smells bad." I looked through the glass and saw the results of what must have been a group effort. I wished the conductor a Happy St. Patrick's Day. The time was about 8:05 AM!!!
We waited for the next train.

Kimberly said...

This is one holiday where I avoid the city at all cost! Especially any sort of Irish bar/pub/sports bar!!! I was VERY happy that I instead had an invite to a museum reception. Of course there were people wearing different shades of green but the activity was much more refined. ;)