by Ralph Onesti

The Rockettes might have been kicking up their heels during their annual Christmas spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, but Ralph Onesti was kicking himself after all that went wrong on his holiday trip to New York.

We went to see the Rockettes yesterday (Dec. 28).

Let’s see…how did that go?

It started well enough until we hit the Lincoln Tunnel where the traffic was outrageous. We got shoved into the wrong lane, which happened to be an EZ pass lane, but I still had room to fix it. A cop there refused to let me change lanes well in advance of the booth, saying: “You should have paid attention to the signs.” In South Philadelphia, he would be counting fractures on an X-ray by now. I’ll probably get a ticket. Well, OK.

Then we got abused by parking attendants for a while, long enough to miss our lunch engagement. Well, OK. Now we’ve had no food since the night before. Well, it’s OK, I guess. I need to lose a few pounds.

We get into the line for the show, and I’m trying to shake off what has happened so far, but my PTSD holds up that process big-time.

We get into Radio City Music Hall, where the Rockettes have been a holiday tradition for 85 years, which now looks like a movie theater/circus/carnival. Hey, time’s change.

The show was fabulous. The Rockettes were precise, as expected; the choreography was fun until it got to Jesus. Suddenly there was a huge religious theme I didn’t expect or appreciate, but we’ll give them that one! I went to see the Rockettes, not go to church. Santa was enough fantasy for me. Is the whole world delusional?

The orchestra was tight. The only thing that would have made them better: Howard Levitsky at the helm. Howard is a music director/friend who takes charge of these events on a rotating basis. I think he’s the best! Although the orchestra was good, it was so loud I spent most of my time with my hands over my ears.

With that, the guy next to me insisted on using the flash on his cell phone, even though the audience was asked not to use flashes. So I kindly and quietly offered to shove it down his throat, which seemed to calm the flashes.

All in all, on a scale of 10, the show got a 4. I think the audio engineer needs to make an appointment with an audiologist.

We did have a meal finally at a Brew House on 51st Street. It was nice, and the Scotch helped. For dessert, we had a five-hour drive home. The entire way home I’m thinking, “Was the a Jersey cop or a New York cop?!” I get New York; I don’t mind the people, the shoving, the discourtesy, even the stupid parking attendants, but I’m afraid the tone was set by the cop. OK; that’s my disorder. I still want to know if he was New Jersey or New York. They are civil servants. I don’t like that name. If you can’t be civil, quit and become a plumber. Otherwise, chill and help an out-of-towner. It turns one off from returning and spending money in your area.

Now I see New York as a box full of junk rather than the cultural capital of the world. We would have taken the train, but we were supposed to wind up on Long Island in Saybrook. (At the last minute, of course, our plans were cancelled.)

The unfortunate part of the whole thing was that this was my ONLY day off this year, and now it’s gone! Oh, I’ll get over it. And I will go back to New York because it is the cultural capital of the world. I just hope I meet that cop again. He and I need to have a drink together — and a discussion.

So, how was your Christmas holiday?

Ralph Onesti, a Delaware County resident, is a professional, registered member of the Piano Technicians Guild. He can be reached at

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