Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts



My Home State

As a young Air Force wife in the ’70’s, the first general question I heard was, “Where are you from?” Of course I said New York. About 95% of the people I met thought I meant New York City. In other states, and in Europe, people didn’t seem to understand New York was a great big state. I finally started telling folks I was from Niagara Falls. They understood that was a long way away from NYC.  Continue reading “My Home State”

Lighting the Tree

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony has become a national tradition hearkening back to the days of the Great Depression. On Christmas Eve of 1931, a group of construction workers erected a small, Spruce Christmas tree on the site of what would become Rockefeller Center. In Rockefeller Center’s inaugural year, 1933, the first official  Tree Lighting took place.

The tree must be at least 65 feet tall and can be as much as 100 feet tall. In the construction world, 10 feet is the average of one floor in a building. Translate that to the selected tree and it means it is at least 6 stories tall or taller. The one time I had the privilege of seeing the tree in person, I was amazed at its size. It was difficult to take a picture of the whole thing.

I’m sure you’ve seen movies that had skaters enjoying the outdoor rink at Rockefeller Center during the holidays. Next time you see that scene, notice the walls around the rink. When you are standing on the sidewalk around Rockefeller Center the rink is actually below you. I’m short and couldn’t see over the people to see down onto the rink. I could see the skaters on the far side of the ice. It took some of the magic away because I couldn’t see all of it. The music from the live orchestra that was playing from below was wonderful to listen to as the sound carried up to us.

The stories of the Macy’s Christmas window displays are also true. Much better to see in person than on TV. The decorations in the store blew me away. Almost more decorations to look at than merchandise. Maybe it was because that is what I wanted to see. The hustle and bustle of crowds was another great experience. My visit there will never be forgotten.

If you get the chance, seeing the tree lit in Rockefeller Center and experiencing the Christmas holiday decorations in New York City is a visual treat. One of those things when you see it in person, you turn circles slowly and say Wow as if it is a two or three syllable word. Mind you the hotels rooms are triple the price they are in January, but in my opinion it’s a once in your life-time experience, so worth it.

National Cheesecake Day

Until I went to Time Square in New York City, I had never had a three inch high, fluffy, more than delicious, piece of cheesecake.  Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.  It was nine years ago in December.  I had never been to New York City before so my husband and his son were showing me some of the sights;  Macy’s Christmas Window displays, Rockefeller Square with the ice skaters and Christmas tree, and honking taxis.  My legs and back were yelling for rest.  We went into “The Brooklyn Diner” because it was the closest restaurant with no waiting line.  A foot long Nathan’s hotdog was $15.00.  I don’t remember what I had as my meal, but I wanted to try New York Cheesecake.  I can honestly say I had never tasted such a delicate but pronounced cheese flavor, and not too sweet.  Previously, what I had been served with the same name, not in NYC, was a dense, heavy paste that stuck to your fork and the roof of your mouth, sometimes more lemony than cheesy, often covered with chocolate syrup or strawberries.  I swore I would never eat cheesecake any place else, ever again because I knew it wouldn’t be as good.

Three years later, I had the opportunity to spend another day in NYC.  My adult daughter and I flew down for the day.  We had breakfast at a deli that she had been to in the past.  The Turkish coffee was hot and strong, but not bitter.  We spent the morning walking in and out of the stores in the garment district, thankful our men weren’t with us.  They would have been bored beyond measure.  I insisted we go back to “The Brooklyn Diner” for a cheesecake lunch.  It was good as I remembered.  We then went to enjoy CHICAGO on Broadway.  It was fantastic.  Even more so because we have a family member in the cast.  We walked some more, then found a place to have supper.  I had an elk burger and a beer.

It was all I could do to stay awake while waiting to board the plane to fly home.  That day was probably the best day I have ever spent with my only daughter.  We laughed, saw some interesting things, shared dreams and good food, saw our first Broadway play, and bonded.  But you know what I remember the most.  The cheesecake.  Our two pieces of cheesecake and coffee for lunch cost more than our two dinners and drinks for supper.  It was worth every penny and I’d do it again tomorrow if I could.



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