Just before Easter noon on the Avenue this year, Indians boom-boxed their country's undulating music and Andeans played their pipes. But in the neutral zone between Atlas and St. Patrick's, the dominant music was still a recording of Bing: "I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet, and of the girl I'm taking to the Easter Parade."
And yet, in the 21st century, much has changed. This Easter the mixture of refinement and ostentation that defined earlier parades was gone. Many women wore flowery hats, but men on display were less Hello, Dolly! and more Salvador Dali dada: They wore three-foot-high apple blossom branches, or tuxedo coats with shorts, or multi-¬colored bushy beards accompanied by white dresses.
I wondered about the absence of the young: On a perfect-weathered day, sunny and 70, why were 90 percent or more of the strollers over 40? Where were the 20-somethings who still flock to Manhattan with the "Empire State of Mind"—There's nothing you can't do—limned by Alicia Keys?
I had seen some of them already on Easter morning, at Redeemer's packed first church service in the Hunter College auditorium (seating capacity: 2,079). The young filled two more services there, along with three at smaller venues on Manhattan's west side. But I saw many other 20-somethings lined up to enter a glass cube: the above-ground part of Apple's flagship store on Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th.
Signs advertised "a magical and revolutionary product." This was the weekend iPads went on sale, and I couldn't make out the soft rock background music because the buzz—a thousand young people offering excited worship—was so loud. Will the Easter battle for the future feature not the cathedral and the statue, but the auditorium and the glass cube?
Maybe, but here's an O. Henry twist to this column: Will those latter two form an alliance against the Kaabah, an ancient granite cube in Mecca that is the center of the Muslim world? The cathedral and the skyscraper won World War II. What can the auditorium and the glass cube do?
Reprinted with permission of WORLD Magazine. To read more news and views from a Christian perspective, call 800-951-6397 or visit WORLDmag.com.