Monday, February 18, 2008

Eat your heart out, Macy’s.

Endymion…Saturday night, February 2

Growing up in the north and being a lifelong parade fanatic, I spent every Thanksgiving morning for most of my life watching Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade on television. The first year I moved to New York City, I stayed for the parade. I met my friends in Penn Station and secured a decent spot along the parade route. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was appropriately impressed.

Endymion makes Macy’s parade look like a ghetto welfare parade. Sorry, Macy’s, but Endymion is everything a parade should be, and more. I had a better time at this parade than at any other, despite being abandoned by my friends, who were tired of walking and tired of waiting. I can’t say that I blame them, but I’m such a bead whore that I refused to give up.

I crammed myself up against the barricade at Canal and South Rampart and waited amid the throngs of other impatient onlookers. Seeing a parade on Canal is a completely different feel from the family-oriented Uptown location from which I watched most others. It’s madness, but still fun.

Endymion is considered a super-krewe, the largest krewe in the history of Mardi Gras. The floats were huge, lighted affairs--with several connected together to create super-floats--loaded with revelers who seemed to enjoy tossing the loot almost as much as the parade-goers enjoyed catching it.

I didn’t expect a great collection of loot. The route was packed and there was lots of competition. I like to be prepared, however, so I stuffed a plastic bag in my pocket and waited.

I should have brought more bags. The beads were flying like mad, and by the time I was done, my bag was bursting at the seams, and my body was covered in the beads I couldn’t fit in the bag.

I started walking behind the parade toward St. Charles, laden with my tearing bag of gleaming plastic goodies. Fortunately, somewhere along the route I came across a bag tossed from one of the floats…a Mardi Gras-themed bag that holds the riders’ beads until they empty it and chuck it overboard.

I got lucky with that find. I wound up walking all the way home with my bag, which was so heavy I had to keep switching hands because I kept losing the feeling in my arms.

My feet hurt, my arms hurt, and I was too exhausted to walk down the street to the bar that’s only four doors away for a drink. But I wasn’t too tired to count up my loot and sit staring in quiet wonder at the fabulous pile for the next hour or so.

Endymion also has, in my opinion, the best medallion beads: purple, green, and gold ovals bearing a fleur-de-lis.

I think Mardi Gras has spoiled me for parades forever. I can’t imagine watching a parade where no one throws anything. I can’t imagine a parade without beads. I can’t imagine watching Macy’s parade again. I can only imagine that every other parade for the rest of my life will pale in comparison and leave me wanting more.

And you know that this bead whore is always going to want more.

The Loot: 124 (woohoo!) beads, 2 cups, 2 doubloons, 1 stuffed flower

No comments: