Marty Party: A Thanksgiving Tradition
I made my third pilgrimage last night to my friend Marty’s annual Thanksgiving eve party, a New York tradition for about 10 years. Marty lives across from the Museum of Natural History, on the ground floor, and takes advantage of this location to host a balloon-inflating gathering, providing libations and good cheer as the Macy’s menagerie takes shape outside. The event is intended for his kids and their friends, but is attended by children of all ages. Marty’s family spends weeks baking and preparing, and all food groups are covered—there are chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, brownies, blondies, Raisinettes, and jelly beans.
It is possible that Marty’s party may lack the solemnity and reverence of other Thanksgiving rituals, that it may bear mute witness to the crass commercialization of a potentially profound and pensive holiday, but it is hard to deny the Americanness of the whole thing, as tens of thousands of people pass along the sidewalk, jostling for a chance to view a supersized Ronald McDonald or Shrek or Kermit (who, truth be told, looked somewhat green around the gills, hunched over as if sick from too much merry-making.). Then again, this argument might be easier to make if most of the rest of the balloons weren’t based on Japanese cartoon characters.
Still, it is what it is. The Puritans may have had intellectual rigor and iron discipline, but we have cable TV. And don’t forget—at the first Thanksgiving, the early settlers basically ordered out Indian food. I suppose we should keep this in mind today as we plumb the true meaning of Thanksgiving by eating way too much food and watching way too much football. Sic transit gloria mundi.
Images by Larry Weinberg.