Ah, autumn in New York! Weren’t those 36 hours grand? Then on to frigid Thanksgiving, as Broadway was crammed with plump, cartoonish characters, many of whom had come to chance the parade. (Unfortunately, fears came to pass when two spectators were injured after a lamppost was felled by a 515-pound M&M balloon.) This is shaping up to be the best season for tourism in New York’s history, which means it will also be the worst season in history for walking down the sidewalk. But natives gripped by pedestrian rage—seriously, can we not walk five abreast, people?—could take this holiday moment to step back, take stock, or better yet, get the hell out of Dodge. They had plenty of time for reflection at the airport, as Senator Charles Schumer revealed our three hubs to lead the nation in delayed flights. And no wonder, with so many people scrambling to leave, given what a rough week it was: for the Finest (as two cops were charged with sexually assaulting a woman); for war heroes (an Iraq veteran, on just his second day home, was grazed during a shooting in Brooklyn); and for possibly insane pop stars (Michael Jackson was asked to apologize for calling Jews “leeches”). CNN sputtered to explain why it had flashed a big black X over Dick Cheney. Nightline swapped Ted Koppel for Martin Bashir. The Times called Truth and Duty, the new book by fired CBSer Mary Mapes, “high-spirited, if overwrought and self-serving.” (Mapes’s own synopsis: “How the ho got the old heave-ho.”) Ruth M. Siems, inventor of Stove Top stuffing, died at 74. Britney Spears had a better week, sashaying into town with Kevin Federline to catch a show and, possibly, star in one, as producers of Sweet Charity wooed her to step in for Christina Applegate. And the Mets traded for Carlos Delgado, the man with baseball’s sweetest smile, a year after he spurned them to sign with the Florida Marlins. This year, though, it was smiles all around.