Monday, January 23, 2012

Old vs New Amsterdam



My main objective in visiting New York, besides shopping and eating copious amounts of food, was to finally experience New Years on Times Square.  It was a long time coming really. During New Years of 1998, a friend and I made a (un-fulfilled) pact that we would ring in the millennium watching the ball drop - in person. Instead, on December 31, 1999, I partied the night away... somewhere in Kansas City, in the cold, with my family and a random couple, who we would have thought were drunk had they not told us they hadn't had a drop of alcohol.


Finally, twelve years later on December 31 2011, after stuffing our faces with what looked like 10 lbs of pastrami, sandwiched between two slices of bread with a side of the most sour pickles in existence, we exited the Times Square/42nd Street subway station around 5:00pm. Like cattle, we were then herded towards 8th Ave and told to make our way due north until we see the first open street letting us back onto 7th Avenue.

Block after block we pushed our way forward, relishing in the momentary gaps in the crowd. After what felt like an eternity, we reached our entrance point... on 56th Street. Determined to get the best view possible, we made a mad dash to 7th Ave and started our way back down towards 42nd Street. We made it three blocks until we were stopped short by a wall of people - on 53rd Street... eleven blocks away from the action.

Did you know, at eleven blocks away, you can't hear any music?  Not a sound... besides the people around you. We didn't know if we'd make it, standing in the crowd for over six hours, as far away as we were. But, for the first twenty minutes we remained positive... until the 6 o'clock hour when they raised the ball. Because at the 6 o'clock hour, we realized: we had only waited twenty minutes!  As the cheering and the "Happy New Year"-ing was going on at that moment, I couldn't help but think about the celebrations happening at home,  in Amsterdam, since it had just struck midnight there.

I looked around me, then pictured the Dutch way of celebrating.  Again, I looked around me, and then again pictured the Dutch way of celebrating.  It was a little something like this:


And then, after the 9 o'clock countdown, we left... guilt free. Because we were at least able to say we celebrated New Years at Times Square... even if it was for only three hours.

2 comments:

lenworth scully said...

Very interesting article. I am now thinking it's time for me to spend New Year's Eve in time square.

Mareshah Jackson said...

I LOVE Katz deli! I've only been to New York once, but those pickles haven't left my mind since :-)