I hope you all are enjoying your holidays, relaxing and spending time with family and friends. Actually, some of you may not have a choice if you were snowed in during the weekend. As for me, I’m finally back home in sunny (and chilly) Florida. I’ve been MIA in the blogosphere and at home too. I spent Christmas weekend in Orlando. My family and I spent Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) in Downtown Disney. The place was all decked out and gorgeous- but freezing by Floridian standards! Christmas Day we headed to Magic Kingdom. I don’t even remember the last time I was there, so the park kind of felt like new. It was crazy packed, so we didn’t go on as many rides as we would’ve liked it, but there’s nothing like spending Christmas at the happiest place on Earth. The night ended with a fireworks display and an amazing electrical parade down Main Street. Certainly a Christmas to remember.
Like the textbook Virgo that I am, the rest of my break is pretty much planned. I’m leaving for Key West in a couple hours, where I’m spending a couple days, then coming back home for New Year’s weekend, heading to Gainesville to stay with friends for a week, and then one last week at home before heading back to UF. Wow, now that I type that, I sound very busy!! How are you guys spending your holidays?
I circled December 8, 2010 on my calendar back this summer. The day marked the 30th anniversary of the death of Beatles’ great John Lennon, and I was going to make sure to visit the Strawberry Fields Memorial in Central Park that day. Thirty years ago, my dad went to the park with my grandfather, along with countless others, to honor. There was a nice symmetry to that, knowing I would be there this year.
That Wednesday, a day most Fordham students don’t have classes, my friend and I headed to Central Park West. We’re both huge Beatles fans, and I was really excited to see the memorial for the first time. There must have been hundreds of people surrounding the “Imagine” mosaic, including plenty of journalists. After patiently waiting, we finally got close enough to see it. It was around noon, and mementos already covered the memorial: flowers, candles, apples, bracelets, a shirt, and yes, a Yankees cap. It showed how much the city embraced John Lennon: this Englishman became a New Yorker.
There were people from all walks of life at the park. The crowd was melancholy, but there was also something celebratory about the day. Lennon would have turned 70 this year, and the older people were happy to reminisce about the time when the Beatles ruled the world. Young children were there with parents and grandparents. There were guitar players in the crowd too, and people sang along with some popular songs. Not only did we not do the songs justice, but we weren’t even able to agree on songs — groups of people would start singing “Imagine” and then another group would start “Come Together.” We did sing “Happy Christmas,” which was very fitting. It was imperfectly perfect.
It seems that this October, I’ve been spending as much time in D.C. than I have in Manhattan. There was a special occasion for my second trip to the capital of course: Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear. For some crazy reason, I don’t really follow Stewart’s exploits on “The Daily Show”, but being the young liberal I am, I eventually heard about the rally he proposed: “A Million Moderate March”.
I wasn’t planning on attending until I read that the newspaper The Huffington Post chartered buses to take eager New Yorkers to D.C. My friends Lindsey, Claudine, and I made our free reservations, and early on the morning of 30th, we piled into a cab bound for Citi Field. By the time we got there, just after 5, it was a chilly madhouse. No one had any idea what was going on, until there was a sudden rush to get in line for the security checkpoint. By some stroke of luck, we managed to get on the second Huff Post Bus to leave Queens, and we were on our way to Washington.
We got to RFK Stadium ahead of schedule, just before 11. That gave us just over an hour to make it to the National Mall before The Roots and John Legend were set to perform. Not only did we manage to get to the Mall early, but we got decent spots among the crowd. And by “decent”, I mean we were within set of the third set of television projections. We didn’t realize until our trip back, but we were really fortunate to make it to the rally on time. Some buses from the HuffPost didn’t get in until one o’clock, well into the rally.
A lot of people have asked me what the rally was all about. It’s pretty hard to explain. For the most part, the rally consisted of musical performances and comedic sketches. There was, however, serious social commentary going on. I’ll admit, there was a liberal bias to most of the messages, but the overall point was that people need to be rational, politicians need to compromise, and we need to accept that we’ll always have differences, but that doesn’t make the other side evil or anything. Honestly, it was a great message that I think this country needed to hear. It was an unforgettable experience being in D.C. and being among hundreds of thousands with high hopes for the U.S. There were an estimated 215,000 people in attendance!!
If there’s one thing you’re going to take away from this post, it should be this, Jon Stewart’s message:
Here are some of the pictures I took during the rally:
My friends and I were all so glad we had a chance to attend the rally. It was an incredible experience, and hard to put into words. And it’s one more thing to check off my college bucket list: attend a protest. Did any of you attend? One of my friends from high school flew up to Connecticut and drove done from there! He wrote a great play-by-play on the rally here. Are you guys fans of “The Daily Show”? And did you agree with Stewart’s message?