Despite the popular conception that people from around the world visit NYC for Christmas, the metropolis can feel totally deserted on December 25. Save for the tourist influx in Midtown, those seeking food below Houston, and other small pockets throughout the city, the whole island was a ghost town this year. There might as well be stray tumbleweeds rolling up and down 5th Avenue.
Yes, people still ice skated in Bryant Park and Rockefeller Center, but this year it was so hot there were little puddles of water in the rinks. Most people were wearing Santa hats without coats. There was no snow to speak of and people were sweating, making the decorations sprinkled throughout the city feel like some sort of prank.
Whereas the streets were empty, the few restaurants that remained open were flushed with customers. Old school institutions like Katz's Delicatessen had a line outside that stretched around the block, while Russ & Daughter's had about an hour wait. Both iconic eateries are unsurprisingly Jewish spots.
In Chinatown, every restaurant that had an "A" rating was equally mobbed. Small crowds formed in the streets and drivers in SUVs honked trying to pass. A server called out a name and three different people responded, claiming that it was their reservation.
From Chinatown, the walk to the Financial District was eerie. I went five minutes without seeing another person. At Zuccotti Park there were monks, vendors selling 9/11 paraphernalia, and lost tourists taking photos. As I entered the subway at the Fulton stop, a woman in a "It's Fucking Christmas" T-shirt asked me where "Time Square" was.
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