2008-08-08 / Columnists

The Progressive

Summertime
Commentary By John Paul Culotta

All of us deserve a vacation this time of year. Our need for a vacation is based on humanity's need for reflection and renewal. This need allows us to reflect and grow. It recharges our batteries. It refreshes our soul. A summer vacation in many ways is a necessity and not a luxury.

We savor all the seasons of the year. We enjoy our winter holiday—the smell of a pine tree and the comfort of the lights of the menorah. Spring reminds us of rebirth. We see flowers blooming and our thoughts are to victory over death and of a people struggling for freedom over tyranny and slavery. Autumn gives us time to give thanks and enjoy the freedom to become another personality, be it a ghost, a witch, a superhero, or a ballerina. These seasons give us a reason to relax as a community, but the summer gives us the opportunity to enjoy a vacation of individual selection. We can choose a vacation at the beach, a lake, the mountains, jungle, a foreign country, or a trip to a city that offers cultural stimulation.

Americans this year are changing their plans because of the economic situation our nation faces at this time. Many are concerned that a vacation may be a luxury their families cannot afford. My family, because of the health of aging parents, has decided to forgo a vacation outside our city. We are also doing tours of college campuses so my daughter can select a college that will meet her academic needs and desires. We have decided to enjoy the lazy, crazy, hot and humid days of the summer in New York City. Our vacation has been to enjoy our city's numerous attractions.

We have beaches in this city that are refreshing and beautiful. The seashore is near and our expenses are reasonable. Why leave the city if your finances do not allow it? This city attracts visitors from across the globe. This city has a rhythm and charm that many of us do not appreciate. My suggestion for anyone who cannot vacation far from home is that she or he enjoy the greatest city in the world. Make believe you are a visitor from another place and don't forgo an opportunity to renew and restore your inner spirit.

Last week I enjoyed with a friend a gourmet lunch at Le Cirque. Two afternoons were spent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On the roof garden were the sculptures of Jeff Koons. I especially enjoyed seeing the Greek Roman galleries and my nephew appeared to enjoy the costumes of superheroes that are on display. My wife enjoyed the concert of Broadway actors singing the tunes we all know in Bryant Park. My daughter enjoyed walking the streets of the East Village. I went with my friend and his wife and young children to the Museum of Natural History. Seeing the excitement and smiles of the eight-and ten year-old children gave me an appreciation of the wonders on display. My wife and I, one day, took a leisurely stroll on Fifth Avenue. Rockefeller Center, Saint Patrick's Cathedral and the department stores were all at our disposal. No other city to which I have been has the raw excitement of New York City. We stopped at the exhibit on the Declaration of Independence at the New York Public Library. We also took a cruise on the Staten Island Ferry and viewed the Waterfalls Art Exhibit in the Harbor.

Make this summer a summer to remember. Enjoy at least some time in our vibrant metropolis no matter what your vacation plans are.

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