My earliest memory of New Year’s Eve is sleeping on my couch waiting for the clock to turn midnight. My mother promised to wake me beforehand so we can watch the countdown. My grandmother was over and also falling asleep while we waited for Dick Clark to tell us when that ball will drop. I think my father was working overnight shifts then because I don’t remember him there. My brother wasn’t born yet so this makes me about three or four years old. I can even remember the blue nightgown I had on.
As I grew older, there would be other New Year’s where neighbors would come over and we would yell and holler out on our stoops and bang pots and pans. Brooklyn was always great growing up for New Years and the Fourth of July for big celebrations. When we finally got classy enough to buy noisemakers I loved getting to be the one who took them out of the plastic bag every year and hand them out before midnight.
Between elementary school and high school there were the years that family friends came over. New Year's Day was always reserved for family.
When I was in high school there was a blizzard and while I was snowed in with my best friend we played cards for so long we actually missed New Year’s Eve countdown and all.
Then there was the year my college friends and I went away to a ski resort even though I hate skiing just so we could party.
Finally there was the year I turned twenty-one (in December, just in time) and I made it my mission to party in NYC. I didn’t go near Times Square but to a party at a bar and had a blast. That was one and done and off my bucket list.
There is a reason most New Yorkers don’t go and watch the ball drop. We don’t want to be outside in the cold with drunks from two in the afternoon, without being able to move or go to the bathroom for the next twelve hours, and then figure out how to get out of the fire hazard to get home. So not fun.
Another tip for outer owners, unless you have prepaid for a party in the city at a venue, do not go out until after midnight. Drink at your hotel or at a friends place. After midnight bars will drop their cover charges way down some even down to zero. Drinks too will be cheaper. Trust me drinking at 11:57 for $25 a pop is not any more fun than at 12:05 for $15. But that’s just my advice. Now you have information, so go with God.
Now-a-days I have reverted back to the occasional house party but more often having neighbors and friends over. I work New Year’s Eve and don’t drink because of my migraine meds so I like to keep it light. Plus after a certain age partying on a Monday isn’t exciting anymore. Yes I am officially old.
But it is fun to reminisce and think back to all of the years I have been counting down.
It is sad this will be the first year without Dick Clark. The last few years I have been watching Anderson Cooper because I adore him but I am always forced to change the channel back to hear Dick Clark come on and watch the countdown on that channel. It is just tradition.
This year will be bittersweet as the ABC Channel is airing a special reflecting back on Dick Clark’s life and career from 8pm-10pm, before the New Year’s shows start. It will be a way of still including him in the celebrations.
But Dick Clark isn’t the only one missing from tonight’s events.
As we grow older we loose family members and outgrow friends, and as this is a holiday that bookends the closing of a season of reflection and rituals it is important to remember how we want to commemorate and why.
We are saying goodbye to one year and moving forward to another with hope and the promises we make to ourselves for improvement.
There is the mystery of the unknown and the wonderment of where we will be this time next year. We will develop closer ties with loved ones, perhaps those we don’t even know yet.
Traditions and celebrations go on no matter who is the left to carry them on.
For that we cheer, kiss, and break out the kitchenware.
For a Love Story Only Dick Clark Could Create:
For New Year’s Eve Fun Facts: