New Yorkers' Thanksgiving traditions

Yahoo Contributor Network

While the Big Apple may be the big city of big hopes and dreams, Thanksgiving in NYC isn't that different from Thanksgiving anywhere else in the United States. At the end of the day, New Yorkers are no different than anyone else. We like food, we like relaxing, and we like to celebrate. How do New Yorkers spend their Thanksgiving, then? I put it out to the streets to see how people around the city spend Turkey Day.

"I spend every year on Thanksgiving going to work with a bunch of turkeys. Broadway theaters never close, and so I have to always be open to working, even if it is working with turkeys!" -- Don Shatzberg, 57, Broadway house staff worker, Upper West Side, Manhattan.

"Usually, it's just turkey and family, but this year, I'm going to go down and help out with Occupy Wall Street." -- Jordan Valentine, 22, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

"Our Turkey Day tradition includes going to the movies. We see two major motion pictures back to back after stuffing ourselves." -- Jessica Lynn Jennings, 30, Midtown, Manhattan.

"Thanksgiving used to be a big to-do when the kids were still around. Now, everyone has got families all their own, so the Mrs. and I like to take it down a bit and just appreciate the quiet. There is no TV, no telephone, no radio. Just the quiet of a lovely dinner together appreciating each other's company." -- Frank Sikes, 62, Riverdale, Bronx.

"OK, mine is a little strange. Well, ya see, my husband and I met in 1982 at Macy's [Herald Square] Santaland the day before Thanksgiving for our holiday employment at the famous store. For the last 29 years, we try to stop by at Thanksgiving time to the eighth-floor Santaland and take a quick look at things. You see, he was Santa, and I was an elf. That was 29 years ago. It was a great job for unemployed theater people. I mean, there were 134 elves and 25 Santas the year I worked there! Don had been a Santa for a few years. But that fun day in 1982, I looked around and said, 'That one ... I want to meet that Santa.' When we had the lunch break, I looked around for 'that one.' I searched in vain and turned my head. He was sitting right next to me. In July of 2012, we will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary." -- Elizabeth L. Popiel, 55, Inwood, Northern Manhattan.

"Our tradition is to go to my uncle's house in Battery Park, where he does a big dinner every year. Every year, he hosts a formal, invite-only, sit-down dinner event which is white-glove level service. I would like to go every year if I could. Being there is a little like being the Wicked Witch: It could be over at any moment - a house could come falling from the sky, and I'd have no idea." -- Katie Francis, 26, Washington Heights, Manhattan.

"When I was a little girl, my father had a colleague who lived on Central Park West and hosted a party the evening before the Thanksgiving Day Parade, where friends could watch the balloons getting inflated. I stopped going up for a while, but over the last 10 years or so I've been going up by myself the night before the parade to watch the balloons fill up. It's quite beautiful." -- Jenny Chang, 42, West Village, Manhattan.

"We go around and say what we are thankful for." -- Kelly Houston, 31, Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn.

"I don't do too much for Thanksgiving. It's like any other day, I guess. Sometimes, I will get a pie and have an extra slice, but sometimes not. That's nothing unusual, anyway. I should go and see my brother in San Antonio, but it all just seems too much bother." -- Rafael Sanchez, 33, Upper West Side, Manhattan.

"Thanksgiving is all about family. We have my brother, my sister, all our children, our extended family, everyone over to our house. For years, we used to celebrate at my parents' house, but we have taken over the duty to host Thanksgiving. It's a lot of work, but there is a lot of love." -- Cleo Sanders, 38, Astoria, Queens.

A child of a couple of Marine brats from Corona, Jesse Schmitt has New York City deeply rooted in his blood. Having lived in different neighborhoods in Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn and tasted every corner of the five boroughs possible, Schmitt has an informed New York voice.

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