For this Christmas tale, we must go back to Labor Day, 2011, Brooklyn, New York. A new all women's steel band The Twelve Diamond Drummers began marching up the wide expanse of Brooklyn's Eastern Parkway.
Eastern Parkway was jammed on this beautiful, sunny, dry, cloudless, Labor Day.
Warm weather was standard typical for the Twelve Diamond Drummers, but not dry weather as they're from the tropical island of Trinidad.
On top of their float, the twelve ladies were heavily made up and had sparkles on their faces, that highlighted skin tones ranging from coffee to almost black. Their bright sexy smiles caught many a make and sometimes female eye as they started the parade from the arch of Grand Army Plaza and the dignified building of the headquarters of the Brooklyn Public Library and the Brooklyn Museum.
Police had to prevent smitten admirers from trying to join them in the parade and march down the street with them.
Farther down Eastern Parkway, the Twelve Diamond Drummers performed the act that got their pictures on the news and viral videos worldwide.
The corner of Eastern Parkway and Kingston Avenue is the headquarters of the largest Hasidic Jewish community in the world, the Lubuvitch. Their young men, dressed in 18th Century style black hats and coats stood on the steps with arms sternly crossed, and mumbling about the schwartzes (blacks) grimly.
They're normally ignored by the million plus paraders, but not the Twelve Diamond Drummers drumming. They broke ranks, jumped off their truck and tried to pull the young men off the steps and dirty dance with them.
Flash bulbs caught the Hasidic Look of Horror, the phrase the New York Post used on Page Six the next day. Strange women touching them? They would now have to march off to the Mikvah, the ritual bath to be cleansed.
The members of New York's Finest, The New York Police Department just laughed with the surrounding crowd as the Police started dirty dancing with them. Those pictures also went viral, with one cop saying later, “It was good community relations, we didn't wanna offend anyone.”
Police Commissioner Kelly was seen playing bongos on another float, so the official response was “Enjoy the Party.”
The Drummers caught up with their truck and continued making news. A punk who tried to steal a lady's purse wound up with a steel drum over his head and that was photographed.
Now ladies and gentlemen, you have the background of the Twelve Diamond Drummers.. The New York Post had stories between the front page and the gossipy Page Six. Even the staid New York Times had the headline, “A Band Grows in Brooklyn.”
Christmas is Coming:
The headlines, YouTube and going viral made the reputation for the Twelve Diamond Drummers.
The Today Show was going to have their morning concerts counting down the Twelve Days Christmas, starting with the Twelve Diamond Drummers on Tuesday December 13th, 2011.
Two months of concerts, buildup, appearances on other shows, magazine articles and even tourist websites wre telling people about the upcoming event. When any of the twelve drummers were asked about the upcoming concert, all they said was, “We gonna rock the Plaza, and your clothes off, man.”
December 13th came, a cloudy, blustery New York morning, with a hint of snow in the air. Ladies, you're not in Trinidad any more.
On Labor Day, the Twelve Diamond Drummers were dressed leaving little to the imagination. Not this morning. They had sweaters and fur coats to match their newfound success.
Before, they would've taken the subway from Brooklyn to Times Square. Those days were a memory. Trucks with roadies would bring their equipment to the Plaza, the ladies would ride in a stretch limousine.
When twelve lovely ladies have a stretch limo, they want more than a ride, they want a tour.
The limo went all the way down Eastern Parkway from Buffalo Avenue to Grand Army Plaza. They rode up Flatbush Avenue to the Manhattan Bridge blowing kisses to crowds on sidewalks and people in surrounding cars and buses.
When they arrived at Rockefeller Plaza, the police had to help them out of the limo between waiting crowds and in front of the usual honking horns. The Drummers response was to blow kisses to frustrated deliverymen and cabbies. That the cops were helping the ladies made the other drivers seethe even more.
One of the cabbies cried out in a singsong Indian accent, “Mr. Policeman sir, I'm not being rude sir, but I must go to the bathroom.”
The cop looked at him as though he were a slow second grader. “You can go to the bathroom in 30 Rock, but hurry up!”
The cabbie was incredulous and disbelieving. “You won't write me a ticket?”
“Not if you're back in five minutes, now get going!”
The cabbie flew out of the taxi as though on fire, leaving a stunned, well dressed middle aged couple in the taxi. The ladies wasted no time in flirting with the husband, much to his wife's annoyance. The cabbie was back in four minutes shaking his head crying, “This is very very bad!”
All the well-dressed woman in the cab wanted to know was “Did you wash your hands?” and “I shall increase your tip if you get us away from this mob scene,” she said alternating dagger like glances between the Drummers and her husband.
“What?” her husband cried. They were nice, I smiled.
“Not the correct answer,” she snapped.
For the two men in the taxi several blocks could end up being an eternity, especially in Midtown Manhattan.
The Drummers put on their Santa hats as they police escorpted them to their stage which was set up with their drums and speakers.
The crowds were the largest the Plaza had ever seen. The ladies were interviewed by Al Roker, who eventually got grief from the crowd screaming, “Let them play!”
They got up on the stage and the moment they began playing, the crowd rocked and swayed the music making them move and warming frozen bones and spirits.
A scattered few didn't approve. One Hasidic man from the 47th Street Diamond District was walking by, heard the drums saw who is was and cried out, “Those are the whores from Eastern Parkway who touched my son and made him go to the Mikvah for a ritual bath!”
A young woman saw the fur coats and cried out, “Fur is murder!”
Occupy Wall Street protestors tried to break through, but the crowd shoved them into the waiting arms of New York's Finest.
A young man with a thick New York accent saw all this and shook his head. “All life's a stage and there are always a few killjoys and Scrooges in every group. This is also New York, and everyone's a critic here.”
Regardless of all, the Twelve Diamond Drummers flirted with all, rocked the Plaza and the band played on.
Michael's giveaway is a copy of his paperback novel, Moriarty The Life and Times of a Criminal Genius.
Moriarty, The Life and Times of a Criminal Genius.
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*All images are borrowed from Michael's blog, I am an Author, I Must Auth