New Years Eve *Just* To The Side Of Times Square

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

screen-shot-2017-01-01-at-6-32-07-amThis was such an interesting experience to me – to be so close and yet so far.

I don’t want to give my exact address (’cause you know, safety and stuff), but as I’ve mentioned, I live here in the Theater District proper (in the 40s between 6th and 8th avenues) – and I live closer in to the center than I do to 6th.

In the 3 o’clock (pm) hour – so like almost 9 hours before the ball drops, we already were not allowed to walk into a ball-viewing area of Times Square. As far as I could tell, there were at least 3 stops of barricades on my street – the two others coming from 6th were behind me… But I was stopped at the last one of getting into ball-drop view. I was like literally a 20 – 30-second walk to the corner, but alas, was not allowed to walk there…

The police officer was asking people where they were going, and if they had room keys to a hotel past him, they could go. Otherwise, no.

To anyone who didn’t have a room key, he said we could walk up to 59th. And then, I guess they were gonna let people file on down into Times Square from there…

I didn’t do that. I went back to my apartment.

Then a friend of mine called, and as we talked about this, she said to go check it out from my roof – which I did. Again, so very close and yet so far.

I could *almost* see the ball.

I found a ladder, set it up and walked on it. Nothing.

So, I went back to my apartment.

I could hear the festivities throughout the day. There were things I didn’t know about Times Square before – so many things, really.

  1. When I got home from work Friday, it took forever to walk through Times Square going home. Stuff was already happening on the stages around 8pm on the 30th. I don’t know if it was rehearsal or what. But crowds were insane (even though we weren’t kept out of anywhere by barricades yet – many barricades were set up, but not all, and no streets were off-limit as far as I could tell… I don’t know when that starts).
  2. There’s more than one countdown! There’s a countdown to the ball being lit. (I didn’t know that was a ceremonious part. I just heard it from my apartment.) And there are countdowns to the hour practically every hour. I’m not sure why – practice, celebrating in other time zones… I don’t now. I just know I heard a countdown over and over and over again.
  3. As far as I could tell, the street to the side (the 40s) work as a staging area! How did it never occur to me – someone who literally makes her living working in entertainment – that all of the performers and crew members and such would need a place to go for equipment or costumes or even food or a bathroom. There were multiple trailers of some kind on my street. And when I was walking around around 3-something, I saw a crew hanging out on my street as well.
    It’s a bit of a weird feeling that it’s a zoo just not all that far to your left, and a semi-zoo way down the street to your right. But there are so many barricades and so much is blocked off that it’s almost like a ghost town right in front of you…

I went downtstairs and walked in the area I was allowed to a few more times in the night. And I walked on the roof again. There has to be a way to see it, right? (Well, I didn’t figure it out.)

One more thing that was interesting to me was that I saw multiple people in our little barricaded area with the Planet Fitness hats that seemed to be being given out in Times Square! (Also, for such a cheap gym, what a huge marketing budget, right?)

I asked someone why he left Times Square (someone from France, by the way! Traveled across an ocean, and still didn’t stay in Times Square proper for New Year’s).

He said that since all of the performances are meant for television, not the crowd, that you can hardly see anything. And you’re squished with no idea what’s even going on and not really being entertained… That was interesting to me.

As it got closer to midnight, I decided my best bet was the roof.

Police actually moved people farther back than the original barricades (from which you still couldn’t see the ball). I saw some people try to make a run for it and cops stop them in their tracks. It was getting serious around midnight…

In fact, I was a little worried the officers patrolling the streets all night might get antsy if someone was on a roof. But thankfully everyone started coming out on their roofs (including the people across from me). And then I was no longer worried.

I got to hear the huge countdown and see the people, but not the ball.

BUT, confetti made it over to us with no issue. It was a beautiful storm of confetti. While there were people on roofs around me (and we all shouted Happy New Year to each other), I was the only person on the specific roof where I was standing…

And it was this weird, interesting, super cool, surreal feeling to get to dance alone on this roof – with all this space, almost in this fun confetti vacuum – while technically in the company of thousands of people. As I spun around in the confetti, Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” played and it felt like the world sang along. And I just thought, “Yeah. We’re really here. I am really dancing on the rooftop of my dream apartment right smack dab in the middle of New York City, being covered by all this gorgeous confetti (with some balloons flying in to).

I always thought about watching the ball drop. I never realized there was this incredibly adjacent cool experience that I wanted… The moment I realized I could have it was the moment I got it.

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