The Holidays are upon us! Are you ready? Of course you are not! This shit creeps up every year, but especially this year, between Sandy, Athena, and election. But it's here, and with it the holiday crowds. Every year I fool myself into thinking it won't be so bad, go to one of these places, have a meltdown, and yell at some poor person trying to enjoy the crowded magic of the city Holiday Season. So here is a reminder, to you and to me, to avoid the following areas until 2013.
1. Anywhere between Times Square and Rock Center. Which should probably be avoided at all times anyway. But maybe you've had a glass of wine and you see the giant tree all lit up on TV and think, "Hey, I pay an exorbitant amount of rent to live here, I should go look at that tree. It'll be festive." Well, do not. It won't be festive. Unless you consider being a human veal festive.
2. The south side of Union Square. That holiday market. Oh, how I hate that holiday market. I'm sure there are lovely little handmade earrings that your mom will find adorable, but it's not worth it. Shop on etsy! Only the most desperate secret santa forgetters should brave being crammed into those wooden chutes, jostling for your life, forking over cash for aggressively-priced hand-blown glass.
3. Broadway between Houston and Canal. If you need anything from Uniqlo, get it now. You don't want to be anywhere near that strip until mid-January. And that includes the Crate and Barrel on the north side of the street. If you want to see a movie at Angelika, approach from the northwest or don't approach at all. The crowds taking pictures outside the Hollister store alone are enough to make a person want to find an hermitage.
4. Brooklyn Target. During the non-holiday season, Brooklyn Target requires sharp elbows and patience. Do not approach during holiday season. It's worth paying the 500% markup on toilet paper at the bodega. If you must go, DO NOT GO UPSTAIRS NEAR THE TOY AISLE. Trust me on this.
5. FAO Schwarz. Avoiding this place at the holidays should be obvious. But maybe you are a person like me, who does not have children but does have nieces and nephews that I don't see that often and have no idea what a child that age would be into. So you're like, let's go see the toy experts, they'll know what these kids want. And it is a complete disaster. Just ask the kids' parents, they'll tell you. Little children aren't going to be like oh, I appreciate that Aunt Audrey put a lot of thought into this gift, she probably waited in line for an hour at a toy store in New York that I've never heard of. They just want their Disney Princess candy cell phones or whatever. Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be.