On Heights Holidays

Nabe columnist Walter Ellis talks about the similarities between Rocky Balboa and President Bush as well as the holidays in Brooklyn Heights in his latest Belfast Telegraph dispatch.

Belfast Telegraph: Walter Ellis: Here in Brooklyn Heights, there is still no sign of winter. Like the ski slopes of Europe, the streets of New York seem to be stuck in late autumn. I saw a man in shorts yesterday. I don't even need a scarf when I go out.

What's happening? What does it all mean? But the churches – and there are more in my neighbourhood than there are in the Shankill – are undeterred. The choirs have been practising for weeks; the priests and pastors have been working on their Christmas sermons. Trees have appeared in vestries, and lights are strung along the railings.

Homes, too, are festooned with lights. Christmas in New York is a competitive business, My brother-in-law down the road hosted a seasonal party on Sunday and wanted to know what I thought of his decorations. His tree must have been 15 feet high. The lights outside, next to the stoop, twinkled gaily. But he wanted to be reassured that he and his wife hadn't gone over the top.

"Don't worry," I said, recalling the illuminated Santas and reindeer I had seen in a dozen other locations, to say nothing of the Marian shrine in the back garden of his next door neighbour's. "You are good taste and moderation itself."

But only three cards so far this year – and one of those from my agent. What's going on?

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