New York City Excitement With My Grandma

29 Nov

Whenever I watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, known in my mind as the Macy’s Day Parade, I always think of my Grandma Esther. The first time I went to Radio City Music Hall was with my siblings and my Grandma to see “That Darn Cat” and the Rockettes for the annual Christmas extravaganza. It did not matter that we were Jewish. What was important was seeing the show.

I remember that the line went around the block, but we had tickets. On the main floor! I still remember the first time I saw the Grand Staircase. I remember the thrill of sitting in those seats. I have never forgotten the movie that starred Hayley Mills, or the moment the Rockettes came on to the stage.

The parade brings back this wonderful memory, as well as others that Grandma arranged. I remember the year she arranged for us to watch the parade from her office. Grandma was the executive secretary for a shoe company that had their office opposite Macy’s! Yes right opposite the main store. One year we had the opportunity to watch the parade and all the shows from the company’s warm office and excellent viewing site. I still get chills thinking about how excited I was to be there. This was so much nicer than standing outside in the cold.

Grandma, worked until she was 77, treated me to special dates in the city . They must have been birthday celebrations. I loved going to Horn and Hardart. The Automat’s vast choices of cakes and foods were amazing. Grandma would let me get her food and my food. It was fun opening the doors and removing exactly what we wanted. Such joy!

My favorite date, to be honest, was to Schraftt’s Ice Cream Palour on Fifth Avenue. I remember wearing my dirndl dress and white gloves…to go eat ice cream!!! I had a chocolate sundae, of course. The gloves came off when it was time to eat. I still see the beauty of the restaurant. And I still can remember leaving with Grandma, and skipping as we left. I was so excited.

I know it was in the spring because after ice cream we went to the Barton’s store to purchase lots of candy and treats for Grandma’s annual Passover seder. I see, in my mind’s eye, the boxes of Barton’s Almond Kisses, chocolate covered matzah and other sweets.   I remember that we each had two shopping bags to carry.

Then it was back to her office. I would sit and wait for my Dad to come and get me after work. Grandma would give me some busy work to do while I waiting. And I did get to speak to the president, Mr. Pearlstein. But I knew I had to be quiet while Grandma was working.

It is not surprising that to this day I love watching the Macy’s Parade each Thanksgiving. Even though I now live in the Midwest, on Thanksgiving morning I get a cup of coffee and sit contently for three hours watching as the parade marches on and my memories linger.

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6 Responses to “New York City Excitement With My Grandma”

  1. Protopian Pickle Jar November 29, 2016 at 3:26 pm #

    While visiting my sister in CT, I took the train into NYC to go to the American Museum of Natural History. I sat next to a couple of ladies who were super excited to be on their way to see the Rockettes holiday show at Radio City .

  2. Amy November 30, 2016 at 7:11 am #

    Your grandmother must have been unusual for a woman of her generation, having a job like that! I also remember the parade—though always on TV as a child. When we had children, I was determined to take them to the real thing. The crowds were overwhelming, and I am not sure what my young daughters saw or remember, but for me it was a thrill after all those years of seeing it in black and white on television. Thanks for stirring up the memories!

    • zicharon November 30, 2016 at 7:43 am #

      Grandma was a most strong-willed woman. Born in 1898, she lived till she was 95.

      • Amy November 30, 2016 at 8:20 am #

        Wow, how wonderful—she saw the whole (almost) 20th century. It must have been fascinating to hear her observations of all the changes and events.

      • zicharon November 30, 2016 at 8:48 am #

        It was. One day I will write about that!

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