Taken 12/9 through 12/11.
Now here's one of about a zillion stories I have about three days in Manhattan.
1. Couples Skate
We've been trying in vain to find a spot overlooking the Rockefeller Center ice rink without taking the route you're supposed to take to get down to the prime viewing areas. We end up standing behind a row of giant statue toy soldiers, behind the constantly flapping shiny flags, and can see most of the ice. We've arrived just as they're shooing away the current crop of skaters.
"Couples skate!" Renee jokes. "Couples only on the ice, please!" I echo. But first it is Zamboni time, and I cheer the jolly ice-smoothing machine as it makes a few passes around the rink. A fellow next to me cheers the Zamboni as well; so does a third man further on down the railing. It must be a guy thing.
We're still making "couples skate" jokes when the Zamboni leaves. The music starts up and it's that godawful "All-Time High" song. It really is Couples Skate, apparently, or at least Couple Skate. A well-dressed fellow brings his nervous girlfriend out on the ice alone, and they make a circle or two around the rink as the music plays. I don't even want to know how much he paid to get that moment alone on the ice. And, when a porter skates up bearing a bouquet of roses and hands a small box off to the gentleman, you realize he didn't pay just for a moment of skating without having to weave through the hordes of falling-down tourists.
He gets down on one knee, a difficult thing to do when you're on ice skates and don't do fancy tricks all that often, and opens the box before the woman, who of course immediately registers shock and surprise, and embraces the fellow in a big clinch once he stands back up. The crowd starts to "awwwww" and clap, except for a voice right next to me.
"DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE DIED FOR THOSE DIAMONDS?"
The voice (for benefit of Nanda) belonged to the person holding my hand at the time. I already was smitten with her. But at that point I got smittender.