Monday, February 4, 2008

New Year's in February?

I can't believe it's already been over a month since New Year's Eve, and on the other hand, it seems like such a long time ago.
I wanted to blog about New Year's right after it happened because it was honestly one of the most amazing experiences of my life, however, that also means I wanted the post to be just perfect, with pictures in chronological order, plus I wanted to sift through Curtis' pictures, and I also wanted to include the videos I took.  WELL, I've finally accepted the fact that that's not all going to happen.  SO, I'll include my videos on their own separate post because those suckers take forEVER to upload!
So by now you know I rang in the new year in the best location in the world....Times Square
Since this is my first year in New York I've been trying to do all those "you have to do just once" things, to kind of get them out of the way.  I've been readily checking everything off the list, however the biggest, and likely most difficult, thing was looming at the end of the year.  New Year's Rockin' Eve.  When I told people I was going to do it they always told me I was crazy.  For those of you don't know, it's not like you just show up whenever you feel like it, ring in the new year, and leave.  No, you have to get there hours and hours and hours in advance.  I'm talking like noon.  Yeah, doesn't sound too fun right?  That's not all.  At some point in the early afternoon you're closed off by police barricades, kinda like cattle pens.  After this happens you can't leave, and if you do, you can't get back.  The NYPD is EVERYwhere, controlling entrances from every block imaginable, so if you get there too late, you're out of luck.
Think you might get hungry?  The little venders you see all over the city selling pretzels and hot dogs aren't allowed.  If you're lucky enough to find something, it's ridiculously expensive.  This guy near me bought a sandwich for $13.  THIRTEEN BUCKS!  And it was just like, ham and cheese.  Ready for the worst part?  There are NO bathrooms.  I'll blog more about that later.
So anyway, this was the first New Years for a lot of my friends and all year long we were saying we were going to tough it out.  When it really came down to it, though, everyone wimped out.   I have to admit, I was kind of not thrilled about the idea of Times Square when it came down to it too.  Luckily for me, I'm dating a guy who's tough, low maintenance, and all about having life experience (not to mention he's only lived here since July so it was his first New Year's too.)  I was feeling indifferent, and decided I'd do whatever he wanted to Times Square it was.
I spent ten days in California and got back super late Sunday night, and Curtis took the red eye from Arizona Sunday night, and got in early Monday morning (New Year's Eve.)  
My boss, being the peach that he is, didn't mind me not coming into work on Monday, since I'd been up till about 2 or 3am after all the traveling, jet lag, and unpacking.  So I was lucky enough to sleep until about 10, when Curtis showed up, straight from the airport.  The poor guy really hadn't slept much.  
We chilled a little bit and then headed to Fridays to fill up as much as we could with food.  After Fridays we went to Duane Reade to stock up on what sustenance we thought we could get in.  (I'd gotten online and found out we couldn't bring any large bags in, which killed our plan of bringing a dvd player.)  We decided we didn't want to even deal with having to look after any bag, so we stuffed our pockets with a couple decks of cards, some gum, Excedrin, eye drops, etc.  At Duane Reade we got some Granola Bars, a couple water bottles, a couple Red Bulls, Swedish Fish, and a couple Nutrigrain Bars.  We figured security wouldn't mind a plastic bag of food.  We made one last stop at the bathroom and then we were on our way!

I stole this picture off the Times Square webpage.  The big upside down V is actually Broadway and 7th Ave intersecting.  We were right where they come together!  The pink semicircle you see at the bottom of the picture in the middle is the ball.

We took the subway to Port Authority and just before exiting we saw all these policemen getting the 411 from their superiors.  I couldn't get a clear picture, but there were tons and tons and tons of cops.  

We actually got really lucky, and happened to snake our way through a random parking lot, and got by without getting stopped by security.  They'd already closed the barricades, but with some quick maneuvering we were in a pen at 45th St, right in the heart of Times Square!!  We were there at 4:15pm, but the people near us had been there since 1pm.
Right above where it says Toshiba there's a 2008 and a pole.  That's the pole the ball goes up (at 6pm) and then drops down at midnight.  Side note* This was the 100th year of the ball dropping.  They had a brand new ball that was bigger and brighter than ever.
The screen right below the Toshiba sign is where the countdown happens.  They do a countdown every hour for a different time zone, which is kind of fun.  There was even a countdown on a random half hour for some place in Canada.  Random that there's a time zone that's ahead by 30 minutes?

Luckily this wasn't like the Halloween parade and Macy's Parade where it was standing room only.  I'll be honest, Times Square is up there with the men's public bathroom when it comes to places I want to park my derriere, however, the alternate is less inviting (standing for 8+ hours.)  You'll notice the trusty NY Post on Curtis' chest.  We did our best to sit on the paper, but at times you just get over it.

At this point it had gotten colder.  I'd layered up with tights under my jeans, a few layers on top, gloves, etc, but the lack of movement keeps you cold.

The Fox stand.  The girl on the right in the beige hat is Jordan Sparks.  She'd just performed.  There were a lot of performers, including Blake Lewis, Miley Cyrus, Velvet Revolver, Kid Rock, Jonas Brothers, Carrie Underwood, and some other groups.

You sort of make friends with the people around you.  This kid between me and Curtis was 12 years old and with his dad.  What troopers!  I can't say I'd be too stoked to take my kid there.  There were surprisingly a lot of middle aged people there, and even more shockingly, some elderly people!  The girls are Bree, on the left, and her younger sister Catie on the right.  These girls were absolutely adorable, except for the fact that at only 16 Catie was a total chain smoker.  (Living in New York you almost get used to cigarette smoke, however by the end of the night when I was home all my clothes and hair wreaked like smoke, it was nasty.)  Anyway, they're from northern California.  Bree used to live in Long Island as a nanny and the two of them and their super cool mom Denise were out visiting for 10 days.  This is when we decided to break out the cards and play BS.
Pontiac was a big sponsor and threw out thousands of these hats.  They could be found all over the place, on the ground, on peoples' feet for another layer, etc.  This hat, however, had an unfortunate use.  Remember how I said there were no bathrooms?  Around 8pm people started to get the squirms and got a little creative.  Needless to say, it was much easier for guys to make due.  There were lots of mysterious looking water bottles rolling around.  I know.  Sick.  I'm proud to say I stuck it out the whole time and didn't need the bathroom.  I actually never felt hungry either.  I think my body was too busy worrying about the fact that I was so cold.

Kid Rock

Here's Carson Daly.  We were standing right by the NBC stage.  It was at 6pm when the media coverage started happening, entertainers started performing, etc.  We'd only been there about two hours and we thought it didn't seem like it had been bad at all, however it had felt like it had been much longer than two hours.

When it got a little later, around 9pm or so, there was music off and on projected to the crowd.  This helped a lot because it made us want to get up and dance, which helped us warm up, slightly.  My feet and hands were so cold they ached.  There was a tough hour, probably from 9:30-11ish, where we were just really cold and really tired.  Once it turned 11 though, it felt like the countdown had started since there was only an hour left.

Carrie Underwood

I didn't really get any pictures at midnight because I was to busy celebrating!  Someone had performed and then there were a couple minutes left.  They started playing John Legends Imagine over the loudspeakers and it was amazing to hear a crowd of one million people spread over a mile singing along.  When the countdown got to ten and everyone was really into it there was this overwhelming feeling of anticipation.  When it finally reached midnight it was absolutely out of control!  I was really excited to (embarrassing) finally experience my first New Year's Eve kiss.  After every hourly countdown Curtis and I kissed but it obviously didn't count as the real thing.  So after we screamed Happy New Year, and a few seconds passed, I waited......waited......he's filming the chaos......I'm waiting........finally I realize it doesn't look like it's going to happen, and I guess I'd better make it happen.  I finally said, "You didn't kiss me!" (In all reality maybe 10-15 seconds had gone by, but it seemed like longer.)  He got this duh! look on his face, and laid one on me.  He'd gotten so into all the excitement he forgotten!  I forgave him, and only bring it up occasionally.  :)  
So anyway, when that moment finally did happen, and people were screaming all around us, and buckets and buckets of huge pieces of colorful confetti were flying all around us, and Frank Sinatra's New York, New York was blaring, I just thought to myself, "Soak in this moment."  It truly was one of the best moments on my New York life.  Honestly, spectacular and perfect.
When we got back into the crowd we joined in with everyone, high fiving and hugging perfect strangers.  It was the most amazing experience where everyone was happy, and everyone was friends.  We toasted with our Red Bulls and danced and everything was perfect.  We finally decided to head out of Times Square (that place empties pretty quickly, I guess people are ready to leave after being there all day.)  We saw Rev Run for the second time that night, this time walking right past him. Curtis said, "What's up Rev?"  And got a "Peace," from the Rev himself.  I kind of spoiled the moment by exclaiming, "It's Rev Run!"  Normally I keep cool around celebs, and especially should have considering this was the fourth time I've seen him, however all the excitement of everything got to me, and Curtis was slightly embarrassed.
This picture is the view looking up.  It doesn't do justice because it's so dark so all the confetti doesn't show up.

Walking over to Grand Central was a total blast.  Every time we saw people every one yelled to each other, "Happy New Year!"  The streets were crawling with people.  By the time we got back to my building we'd mellowed out a little, however when we walked into the lobby (which has a RIDICULOUS echo) there were a bunch of people just sitting and standing around, we busted through the doors and screamed, "Happy New Year!" They all immediately screamed it back and everyone cheered and blew their noisemakers.  It was great.  I just kept saying over and over how happy I was, and how glad I was that we'd done it.
A little later Chelsie came home.  She'd gone to a party on W 104th St.  I guess everyone was there.  Was I said I'd missed it?  Nope.  I would not trade my New Year's Eve experience for anything.  As much work as it was being there all day, it was totally worth it.  I felt like we earned it.  It was so fun meeting new friends and just enjoying the experience.  Oh yeah, not to mention running into Megan Haslem, the sister of my brother Brad's buddy Josh.  I haven't seen her in 6 years.  She'd just seen Brad a week prior in Utah and he'd mentioned I was doing the Times Square thing.  The odds of running into someone you know that night are literally one in a million.
Was it worth it?  Totally.  Would I recommend people do it?  Absolutely.  Would I ever do it a second time?  Not a chance.  :)


linds said...

New York is seriously cool. And it is no wonder that post was a month in the making. It was in depth!

Elise said...

SO FUN! What a great memory.