Kitsch, Class and Christmas lights in Hampden


    There are three days left to catch the holiday wattage on display on Hampden’s “Miracle on 34th Street.” BANV & family went tonight. This year, we arrived in mid-afternoon to do some shopping on Hampden’s 36th Street before we walked over to see the light display — now in its 60th year according to the website. The Webkinz in the window of the funky and irreverent (like just about everything else in Hampden) Kiss N’ Make-Up,
    827 W. 36th St. drew my children inside. Their Grandmom got a big kick out of products like a “Instant Happy Childhood Memories” breath spray and both children wanted us to take home the chairs shaped like puckered lips. (We resisted.) We had fun with Ma Petite Shoe, 832 W. 36th Street, which combines delectable shoes and fancy chocolates in one creative shop. My personal favorite was the relatively new Red Tree, 921 W. 36th St., packed with contemporary casual and traditional home furnishings. After hiking up and down the porch steps of the rowhouse shops, we stopped at the Cafe Hon, 1002 W. 36th St., to end the shopping excursion with the quintessential Hampden dining experience. However, the restaurant is so busy during “Miracle on 34th Street” season the wait can be more than an hour, but they take your cell phone number and call you when your table is ready. We used the wait time to hike the three or four blocks to the 34th street display. The display runs through Jan. 1 and their traditional New Year’s Eve celebration includes a countdown to midnight, a Times Square style ball drop and an appearance by Baby New Year. Here’s some YouTube Video of last year’s ball drop.