Well, here we are, 24 hours into our big New York New Years trip and we’re finally in the Big Apple. The crowds have been building in Times Square since morning, the ball is ready to drop and the eyes of the world are all looking this way. Pretty much any news story that you see about ringing in the New Year will feature at least a few seconds of footage of the giant party that will be happening soon in the very city where we are now.
So, what are we doing to participate in this eventful night? Well, we’re sitting in the dark in a hotel in Queens just outside of JFK airport, surfing the internet and listening to our children snore softly in the next bed. Yep, we’re within striking distance of one of the world’s biggest parties and we’re having about the most boring night you could possibly imagine.
This situation came about mainly by choice, however. As most people who travel over the holidays probably know, it is often cheaper to travel on the actual holiday than the days just before or after. In our case, we booked this trip on our Alaska Airlines points and the only flights available in the lowest points bracket were the ones that arrived in the evening on New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, it is also by far the most expensive night of the year to find a hotel room in Manhattan, especially in the Times Square area where we wanted to stay. So my compromise was to book our first night near JFK, then to move to Time Square for the rest of our trip. It seemed a small price to pay to get the trip I wanted for the price I could afford.
New Year’s Eve has never been a big deal for me anyway. When I was younger it was always one of those awkward holidays where it felt like I should be doing something, and I felt vaguely like a loser for not doing anything, but none of the options really appealed to me. None of my close friends were really into celebrating either, and I never really enjoyed big social events where I had to hang out and pretend to enjoy myself with a bunch of people I didn’t know well. Since I’m a nurse, my usual default was to work that evening as it was never hard to find someone who wanted the night off and needed someone to pick it up. So I spent more New Year’s Eves than I’d like to admit watching the countdown on television and toasting the New Year with apple juice with my co-workers and the one or two patients on the ward that night who were well enough to notice the date.
When my husband and I were first married we made the effort to go out the first year or two, but it didn’t take too long to figure out that our preferred method of celebrating New Year’s was to spend it together on the couch, watching a good movie and enjoying a nice bottle of wine. So, I suppose what I’m saying is that sitting in a cookie cutter airport hotel in a drab, industrial part of Queens for New Year’s Eve while one of the world’s biggest parties is going on a short subway ride away is pretty much par for the course for us. And of course there’s also the fact that we have to rest up for an exciting day tomorrow; Times Square, Broadway shows, visiting the space shuttle on the Intrepid Air and Space Museum and maybe even a carousel ride in Bryant Park. All things that are way higher on my bucket list than standing shivering in the cold, packed in with a million strangers while watching a ball drop.
Speaking of parties, though, I am hoping that our next New Year’s Eve will be a little more exciting. I currently have a deposit down on a Disney Cruise for this time next year that would have us spending New Year’s Eve on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, followed by a pirate deck party and fireworks at sea. The trip hasn’t been 100 percent finalized yet, but that’s the kind of New Year’s Eve party I can really get into!
So Happy New Years to everyone, whether you’re partying hard or spending a cozy evening celebrating quietly. And a special word of thanks to all those nurses, police officers and other service workers who spend the holidays helping others while most people have time off. I raise my glass of apple juice to you.
This is the Times Square that we will probably see.