Thursday, December 22, 2011
Festival of Lights
Last night turned into something simple yet spectacular for my holiday season. Two days after Hanukkah began, I must say it certainly was my festival of lights. The festival properly started in my friend Kevin's apartment downstairs. We toasted with a couple of cosmos each, and were toasted quite nicely as we left for our sightseeing tour, on foot, of the famously gaudy Christmas lights of the homes of Bay Ridge.
I recently said on Facebook that Bay Ridge is such a '50s town, with a '50s ethos of community and propriety. There are children's horsies, in front of discount stores, that you put coins into to have them become a ride, motioning back and forth. The diner paints images of Santa and sled riders on its windows. Why, it's the perfect place for a Martian invasion with its complacent sense of normalcy.
You will note as you go west, towards the bay, that the homes begin as merely stately and then get grander until, on Shore Road, abutting the park, actually on the ridge of the bay, you have your Beverly Hills-styled mansions. These mansions don't dress up in strings of lights or illuminated lawn figures. That would be too tacky for Shore Road people, people. I don't know who lives in these palatial homes, but you could imagine a "Dynasty"-like soap opera set in one, replete with big hair, Bob Mackie gowns and Brooklyn accents.
We also saw the famed "gingerbread house" made of stone and mortar with thatched-styled roofing. It had no lights and didn't need them; it was already enchanted.
Kevin was taking pictures of the Christmas lights with his phone as I pondered the residents' electric bills. Visions, not of sugar plums as I recall, but lollipops, candy canes, Santas, giant toy soldiers, reindeer, Snoopies, snowflakes, candy canes and candles did abound. It was, without doubt, the most elaborate feast for the eyes I've ever seen in such a concentrated area.
I was particularly impressed with the manor home I dubbed "The House of Blue Lights." Blue lights on the lawn trees, hedges, everywhere, with only the two pillars before the house's front door strung in red. Gawgeous!
I was so lucky to be able to turn a corner with a friend as my guide, and view this spectacle as, I later learned, bus tours come here for tourists to view this delightful holiday madness of sorts. Next year, come see, have a gander. Mention Buddy B and Kevin'll give you a discount.
This morning, I got off the D train and walked through Rockefeller Center to view the tree. I moved on to this year's rather sub-par windows at Saks. Sorry, guys, can't hold a candle to the lights in Bay Ridge.