It is December so it is time for our annual endorsement for Steve Zaske’s Christmas light show. 4220 1st Ave NE. The show runs from 5pm – 9pm through New Year’s Eve. For those who have not gone, you should go. Tonight. It is amazing. It is a light show that broadcasts on 91.1 FM and has a newly installed volume adjustment on his fence. My daughters ask to go almost every night.
If you are like every other Wallingford resident I see walking by his house, you will do so with your face lit by the glow of a cell phone while walking your dog. If you happen to live on his block, you will park on the small street and, with great purpose, walk directly to your door without even glancing at the show.
Mr. Zaske’s light show is my litmus test for people thinking of living in Wallingford. First avenue is more like an alley than a residential street between 42nd and 43rd. It is simply a house on a small street in Wallingford. Inside the house, some guy must have spent thousands of dollars and thousands of hours to create and refine this light show over many years. And no one in the neighborhood outwardly pays it any attention. The same way no one really pays any outward attention to melting babies. I have never met Mr Zaske, but I would not be surprised to learn that he wanted to install it just in his living room but they lights simply could not fit. He was therefore begrudgingly obligated to put it on the outside of his house.
Compare that response to Ravenna, where every year cars line up for Candy Cane Lane, a small cluster of homes that simultaneously put up a large number of conventional Christmas decorations. It is nice, but it strikes me more as a testament to the ability to force neighbors to coordinate activities than a celebration of Christmas. Where in Wallingford, we celebrate Christmas by paying no mind to the virtuosic performance of a lone genius down on 1st and 42nd.
So I and my family will proudly celebrate our Wallingford pride this holiday season, by very quickly walking past Mr. Zaske’s house on the totally empty sidewalk. Lit by the glow of one man’s genius playing to any empty street.
Happy Holidays Wallingford. Now back to our individual pursuits of quiet genius.