“Daddy, where is everybody going?”
I spent President’s Day-Valentine’s weekend in Manhattan with my wife and three daughters. The girl’s mother is a true believer in family vacations, having grown up with a mom and dad who swore by them. Me? I swear by them as well, only mostly with four-letter words.
When it comes to moving a family of five from one set of closets to another, I get the willies. Especially, given we are talking about an ALL GIRL family. Not to be controversial, but women of all ages pack way to much crap when they travel. How many pairs of shoes does a female need? If each of my girls brought four (they did), that makes sixteen pairs or thirty-two shoes –not including what they were wearing. And those shoes come with outfits.
The only reason I bring two pairs of shoes is because one pair are for the gym. Otherwise, I’m good with loafers and boots, the latter of which I wear on the plane.
Now that that’s out of the way, I’d like to offer some unexpected kudos to the centerpiece of our NYC weekend: Shrek The Musical. The actors. The sets. The costumes. The whole thing was spectacular. Four stars.
If you read this blog with any regularity you know how much I loathe Disney and its cult like hold over children. But, being a good father, I acquiesced to my wife’s request and procured five choice seats in the orchestra. I’m glad I did. I found myself smiling giddily from start to finish. The last time I did that was at a U2 concert. Yes, the story is by the numbers. Yes, the sanitized double entendres are borderline patronizing. But I didn’t mind. On the contrary, I found the show to be cathartic, the perfect stress reliever. Recession? Shrek and Princess Fiona punctuate their singing duo with a medley of burps and farts. What recession?
Another observation worth sharing were all the tourists on Fifth Avenue and in Times Square. Maybe folks weren’t buying much but they sure as hell were out there. Brand stores like Apple, Nike and FAO Schwartz were packed and rocking. And if Toys R’ Us is dead in Des Moines it’s hopped up on goofballs here in New York. There was a 40-minute wait to ride the Ferris wheel inside the store, in spite of a four-dollar fee. We’re talking about a glorified elevator ride. Massive line.
Virtually every piece in the venerable NY Times was about the recession (or is it a depression?) and how it was killing retailers from So Ho to the Upper East Side. And I don’t doubt that’s true. But for a couple hours in a theater or seven deep on a sidewalk, it seemed business as usual in New York.