Holiday Nights

December 15, 2009 § 32 Comments

They flock to the lights like moths, spreading the holiday cheer. Their busy drone over the clogged traffic lights, breathes out joy in the air. The year ends with a final outburst of brightness in NYC. Everywhere, are the lights. And those moths! They buzz and fly- in and out of the streets- laughing, ogling, shopping, talking.

The city is suddenly a great dance, tripping over carols that jingle, delirious with joy, precipitously drunk with holidays. Step in with the tune, the lights. I collected a handful on my way.


And you dear reader, whether a part of the flock or a lone observer, are welcome to join in and share your thoughts with us this holiday. Whatever they are. How brazen are the crowds, or how sublime? How pointless are these lights, or how defying? Are you touched with joy, or are you cringing at the frenzied holiday mayhem that continues?

As always, a penny and more, for your thoughts.


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§ 32 Responses to Holiday Nights

  • Maggie says:

    Great holiday lights series. I like the blurry aspect of the first one.

  • My ma is a huge fan of staring at lights and going ‘Wooooow!’ everytime she spots something she thinks she hasn’t seen before. Going through these pics, it reminded me of the time she would drag me to malls and walks down streets in Dubai to check out “the holiday lights”. Heh.

    That Christmas Tree with its light bokeh looks like it’s covered in hundreds and thousands. Mmm..yummy! :)

    • The Juicer says:

      That’s such a sweet memory! That Rockefeller Christmas tree never fails to incite oohs and aahs :)
      I remember one of your blog posts where you had noted something about going on long drives with your mom..late in the night..listening to music..singing together? :) Holidays remind me of family too…almost an erstwhile family…as I drift away in a sea of cities far away.

  • prescott allen hazeltine says:

    Juicer –

    Oh my. What a delightful post! Brings back so many wonderful memories of holiday in the city…

    K, what is that store with the snowflakes all over it next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue? Saks? I remember going into that store one holiday, and all the columns had been turned into trees, with branches spreading out over the ceiling, all covered in white twinkle lights… It was like walking through a forest under starlight while shopping… Just magic…

    Thanks so much for reminding me…

    • The Juicer says:

      Yeah that is the Saks Fifth Avenue store!:) Every few minutes they would play music and those lights would dance…look in the street and everyone is looking the dancing lights…in a trance. Quite a spectacle!
      I guess I should have walked into the store? The crowds held me back. Your memory sounds like a page pulled straight out of a fairy tale book!

  • David says:

    I like the long tall Sally. I that the Rockafeller Center viewed through the trees?

    Looks good

  • Vicki says:

    How absolutely wonderful ! I love all the photos! You’re prompting me to take a trip to the Big Apple!
    Even though its a crazy time of the year I still love it!!!!

    Thanks so much for bringing the big city right to my home!


    • The Juicer says:

      You said it right- crazy time of the year! And beautiful too:) Not too cold yet here, and I can afford to take long walks and muster the courage to fight the crowds…and like you noted once, I can’t get enough of them!

  • seanfraser says:

    Hi Juicer ……have a happy Christmas vacation

  • seanfraser says:

    PS Your Christmas city looks fantastic

  • Neil Reid says:

    Shipra my friend (no glorious pictures like you, just some simple words)

    Their gaze goes north, into the sky, adoringly.
    Let fly, let wings come down your eyes, here to me
    and retain those crystal colors, my love.

    Vicki’s Christmas blues, then Sean’s homemade tree! Now yours, your eye out on the street, drinking colors, faces, all that might be received. I’m no Christmas grinch, although it might be said I’ve sort of been away. Reasons don’t matter now, they never did. But my thanks include something unexpected inside the box – that you all just might make me believe again, be glad a little dream came to light with rain or snow or simply a moth-eyed sky.

    How much to do, a little, a lot. Suppose in a way it’s well that I seldom really seem to catch up with myself. Poems to read, poems to write, and letters too, all glad labor as they are. But rest and sleep certainly, you are daily in what swims through my thoughts and gratitudes. Glad to see your new post here!

    You live in a place where giants sit. I live near beside the sea, slow rolling curves of sensuous hills, holding green close to its breast, waiting a word or two to keep. We’re in the oven, as they say. A merry band of star-bright rhymes, called this life. Expressing thanks!

    Yours, Neil

    • The Juicer says:

      Thank you for the kind words Neil. Someday I might give up the city and disappear in the hills! :)

      I approach Holidays with a mix of cynicism and joy…It’s hard for me to make up my mind.
      The most unadulterated joy is of the kids, but for the rest of us, well, I’d rather not be downer and say that it all seems like a waste. I enjoy merriment, but all the lights, the marketing, the sales, the crowds and the spending is not justifiable in my head. If we had an economist or a sociologist on this page- both would probably be able to explain why such festivals are much needed in societies:)
      But perhaps we go overboard?
      On the other hand, everything is so pretty! How can I resist that? I swarm to the lights like a moth too. Unwittingly.

  • What a delightful series Juicer. I especially love the first one. I too love shooting at night and its hard to beat the holidays for that. Thanks for sharing…yet again! Enjoy the holidays.

  • Your images are wonderful–esepecially the one with the black background of the tree encirled and surrounded by tiny lights. Still, I find I can not reconcile the mass of current events with the ‘joy’ of a season of gift buying and giving. There’s just been too much corruption, greed and violence that is continuing. Makes the need to escape into the season increase for most folks. But not for me. It would be too big a LIE. Don’t get me wrong–I understand why most folks need the season and they’re welcome to it if it’s what it takes to keep them sane and such. But for me, especially after my encounter with the homeless woman Brenda in a tiny diner on a freezing day in KC–well—all I can think of is the shame of a rich country like the USA which does not care for such folk who are incapable of caring for themselves. Oh where are the Southern Baptists and the right to lifers when it comes to dealing with folks like the Brendas who beg for surivial on busy street corners?
    And how can anyone sing about peace on earth or holy nights while wars are being conducted for the sake of selfish greed?
    Well, I can’t do it. Can’t fake the ‘joy’. But this is just ‘me’.
    shanti om

    • The Juicer says:

      47whitebuffalo- you raise an important point and I appreciate that you share it here so freely. I agree with your main point. The holidays wreak of excesses most of us consider a right/ a way of life/ take for granted.
      The Holidays are the perfect personification of an incredibly economically skewed world. Even though one might argue that it a macro socio-economical phenomenon, I feel that quite a bit of the responsibility lies with each one of us. We could and should pause and think; celebrate festivals in a way that is chosen consciously as individuals, and not as a blinded herd lining up at the doors of a supermarket 1:00 AM in the morning.
      While I love to see this city beholden with lights, a part me cringes to think how much energy we expend in the process. And the excessive shopping and gift-giving!
      It’s not that we ‘waste’ only during the Holidays, but the wasteful nature of our society just becomes so obvious to me during this time. I hope more people share your view, even if they do not express freely, and take steps to simply question and unlearn the way of life we have conditioned ourselves to lead…
      Just that change in our thought process would be a becoming start. The answers will surely follow.

  • juliemayfeng says:

    How beautiful!
    Your photos make me want to go to NYC. ^^

  • seanfraser says:

    Hi Juicer …keep warm…from the photos of NY is see today the city is covered in snow………burrr….go out and throw some about.

  • Tom Hardin says:

    GREAT PICTURES . I wanna see SNOW, will rain and 70 degrees tomorrow , I will try to capture that lightning we have spoke of previously. Hope you are going to have a merry Christmas.
    Tom in Texas

    • The Juicer says:

      Dear Tom in Texas,
      You want snow, you got snow! :) And I wanna see that lightning shot this time! Better add a link here…because I just can’t wait.
      I am enjoying the holiday upheavals. Shooting ’em. A merry Christmas to you from NYC!

  • Neil Reid says:

    It’s early here, way too early, and I’m up and awake. So I come a visiting.

    Look forward to your views of snow, now plentiful. None here, and won’t be. But once I worked and lived in Portland, Oregon – the winter of a twenty-year snowfall that arrived right downtown. Beautiful. Cold, cold. So happy to have a gas station put chains on my tires, spare my tender hands. Old red pickup truck, a retired fire-fighting truck, and gladly drove me all around even where others couldn’t go. Beautiful. And glad not to make that an annual experience. Ha! Just another weather-spoiled Californian! Although I don’t shy from a walk in any rain, and actually I might be first in line. I like it when the skies reach out and touch me some. Makes me feel like kin! Maybe some how it is for you on your many walks around your town.

    And of those seasonal, more commercial, thoughts – I coincide in mind. We as a people struggle to make a balance. Only obvious. Years ago I began to step aside of the season’s lesser fare, all that crazy gift-centric attitude. Actually, Sean’s little Christmas tree photo gift was just absolutely right for me! What I value most and dear in my life won’t be found in any box. It is partly or whole right just exactly here.

    I remember a man who did also say, “you can never suffer enough yourself to relieve by one inch the suffering of another”. So I keep that too in mind. If I turn away from some, it is not with ill regard, but only that I’m going another way. No time, no time, not in my small life, to add another ill-thought thought. I remember when I was learning how to ride a bike – you will go where your attention goes! This huge circle I drew on that bike, but also saw and thought, that tree over there is getting closer and closer to me! And sure enough, in time, that’s exactly where I went – into the tree! I think that applies in general you know.

    If you want peace and love and care, then fill your own heart full, as full as full may be. Then act from there, and all you do, the smallest even, will contribute in that way. What else can one speck of a life ever do? Enough for this moment here.

    Shipra I look forward to what’s next upon your plate. I remain as ever grateful for all you do and share with us. Put a bow on that if you like.

    • The Juicer says:

      Neil…you are so right and I am so happy to find a kindred soul in you! Indeed you are up very early, too early for me as I tend to retire late:)
      That reminds me of how I have been wanting to photograph the city in the wee hours of the morning. Haven’t been able to muster the courage yet. It’s been hard to maintain a dual work life. Oh, and inspiration hasn’t struck yet.
      What courage might that be? Ha! Nothing in wake of the arduous lives so many others lead. And still, as you just said, I fill my heart with what I have, and go from there. No remorse or guilt for where I am, but yes, a cognizance of what lies beyond my own little circle of life. And that little cognizance, translated to little actions, will probably go a long way.
      I take your words, mull over them and appreciate them. Always. Thank you.

      Hope you enjoy the snow shots…did not shoot while it was snowing..and have resolved to amend that the next time:)

      • Neil Reid says:

        Ha! You might be shocked to hear the hours I kept while visiting in Seattle. (I was.) (Have most of my life been a late-night person too.) But then to bed usually around 9 PM, which of course meant wide awake about 5 AM. Just in time to bundle up, greet the cold still morning air, and walk a block or so to one of the many local coffee shops. (And neither am I really a coffee drinker!) But this one shop felt different from all the rest, a real friendly and personal place (and that means more than people behind the counter who remember your name). Retired people, moms and dads with their young children, most whom felt free to walk and interact with anyone there. And right in the middle of the room a single large round table big enough for eight or more. Maybe you’d sit in one of the smaller tables, or maybe the larger one – might then even dare to talk to a stranger too! So much more genuine than the “up scale, on the go, modern folk more common to a Starbucks or such.

        Sometimes I’d talk with someone. Everyone was new to me. Sometimes I’d just sit and read a bit, then write a poem or two. For whatever the reason, that was a very good place for me to write. Many of my November poems came right from that room.

        So maybe you don’t meet your inspiration until you arrive and stand ready to shake its hand? And odd as were the hours for me, I really like that just barely awaking state of the city or town. So who knows what you might find. (And yea, its not quite that easy when you’re also working at a job – like now again for me, or you I do suppose.)

        I’ll await your falling snow. Stay bundled, stay warm! Thanks Shipra.

  • […] a comment » Now that all the gifts are unwrapped and the holiday lights dim away slowly with the melting snow…it’s time for me to pause and wish you, my dear […]

  • vidu says:

    sheer visual treat!!

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