I'm heading to New York this weekend with my mother, who has already warned me that we will spend a significant amount of our time there shopping. Not that I don't like this particular activity, but much of it will be shopping for Christmas and/or wedding presents for extended family members. It boggles my mind why someone who has Internet access, a bottle of wine and a corkscrew simply does not do all of their holiday shopping online from the comfort of their couch, preferably while watching The Office on DVD and nursing naughty fantasies involving John Krasinski, copier toner and Dwight's bouncy ball chair. But I've said too much.
I enjoy shopping and I enjoy New York, but the twain should not meet. I've nearly been killed by the hideous sea of humanity that floods into Manhattan on a Saturday. The worst was two years ago when Mom insisted that we get our picture taken at the Christmas tree outside Rockefeller Center. We wound up getting caught between the crowds exiting the 3:00 Radio City Christmas Spectacular and the crowd entering for the 6:00 show. It took a half hour to walk one block. The evacuation of Saigon was more efficient. And in the end the only people we could find to take our picture were some very short Japanese tourists, resulting in a photo angled so low that both Mom and I appear as if our faces are being eaten by our own chins.
The stores are better than the streets, if for no other reason than I refuse to enter an H&M anywhere on the island of Manhattan and therefore can avoid some of the more obnoxious visiting New Jerseyites, but not much better. I love to prowl for uniquely New York cute boutiques or neighborhood marketplaces, but that is because I live in an urban center surrounded by wealthy suburbs and can stop by places like Anthropologie after work. My mother, on the other hand, lives in Indiana and northern Michigan and therefore visits nice chain stores in New York with the kind of gusto usually shown by furloughed sailors at a whorehouse. Again, let me state-- I enjoy Coach, Club Monaco and the Container Store. It's just that I enjoy them so much that I go to them here, and would rather spend my vacation time hunting for vintage slips at a mothbally store on the Lower East Side.
However, we will have to make at least one pilgrimage to Rockefeller Center to visit the NBC Studio Store. It really is a fantastic place, especially the back room where they keep knickknacks and souvenirs from long-canceled NBC shows. I've purchased no fewer than two Saved By The Bell t-shirts there. The big reason, however, is to fulfill my mother's and my December-in-New-York tradition for the third year in a row: to see if the NBC Studio Store is finally making a Law and Order Christmas tree ornament. It's become our version of seeing The Nutcracker.