Santa Fire Escape

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Photo by Luciano J. Bilotti
From Chet Coppock, “Ronnie Spector: Best Christmas Ever Concert Review
Forgotten Hits, December 10, 2014

Ronnie Spector on Christmas. From Cari Wade Gervin, “Recording and Performing Still Thrill Ronnie Spector“. Nashville Scene, November 30, 2017.

…Since I’ve been a little girl, I’ve loved Christmas. I remember sitting on Santa’s lap in Macy’s when I was 5 and thinking, “I love Christmas!” It was everything in my neighborhood growing up in Spanish Harlem. I’d walk with my dad up to Amsterdam Avenue and pick out a tree. I was one of those kids who could not wait for Christmas — I’d be ready to open my presents at 8 p.m. and my mother would say, “Not until tomorrow!” And I couldn’t sleep.

I think I drove my sister crazy. She was much calmer than me. I remember once when my dad was reading me a story about Santa coming down the chimney to deliver presents, and I was like, “We don’t have a chimney! How can Santa come?” And I was so upset, because of course we didn’t have a chimney in our apartment. And my dad said, “Butchie” — that’s what he called me when I was little — “Butchie, when Santa comes to Spanish Harlem, he uses the fire escape.” So I put cookies and milk for Santa outside on the fire escape, and in the morning they were gone! That’s when I knew Santa was real. I thought he lived on the top of Macy’s, you know — I thought that was the North Pole, the top of Macy’s. I got very upset when I got older and realized there was a Santa at Gimbels and a Santa at other stores, and not just at Macy’s.

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