Oh no, it’s New Year’s Eve! Again.

Dec 28

nye_timessquare.jpgSometimes I think that New Year’s Eve should be abolished.

You know all the reasons to hate that night so let’s not dwell on it: too many expectations, too many drunks, too much money!

The thing is, no matter what you do, you wonder if you should have done something else. If you go all out and attend a fancy do, you think you should have just stayed home and watched the ball drop on TV. Hey, it’s made of Waterford crystal and cost 2 million dollars. You could have saved even more by not going out.

But if you do stay home, even if you break out the champagne and caviar (or tuna salad), you feel like a, well . .  stay-at-home. Somehow it seems that the exact moment when one year turns into another should be marked by something more momentous than watching television in your jammies.

Then there was the year 1999 when one century turned into another — more incredibly — one millennium into another. In our lifetime! Man, you couldn’t sit that one out. Millions piled into Times Square, although I wouldn’t recommend doing, that having done it once (and never again) in my wild youth. But we got close. A group of us went to a party at the Algonquin Hotel on West 44th Street. By standing just outside the front door we were able to see all the madness of Times Square without actually having to step into it.

West 44th street was closed off to anyone who didn’t have a special pass. (Yes, Virginia, you did need those stinkin’ passes.) But at the end of the evening when they opened the street to the masses of merrymakers, my friend John and I went out to wish one and all a Happy New Year. So civilized. As John pointed out, we were the “swells” that night, emerging from the Algonquin in all our finery, which is pretty funny considering that we both started out far short of the Social Register, across the river in Brooklyn, if you must know.

But that evening was pretty swell  — we were even invited to a private party at a townhouse where the great cabaret singer KT Sullivan performed for us personally. pat_venice_1_05_copy.jpg

And then there was Venice . . .

I honestly don’t remember the year, but it was somewhere in the last decade. Maybe we were trying to outdo the night at the Algonquin, or maybe we were on something (like cough syrup in case anyone out there is checking), but we decided to go to Venice for New Year’s Eve. It was a great deal offered by some travel club we belonged to, and sounded like an adventure.

Well, yes, yes it was. First of all, it was not a direct flight, which meant spending 4 delightful hours in Switzerland in the blandest airport I have ever seen (I remember the whole episode as one big beige blur), and with all this travel time, we only had three days in Venice.

Three nice days, except for for one thing: the package, which included a pretty nice room in a swanky hotel, did NOT include dinner for New Year’s Eve. And nobody had told us that Venice is even worse than New York City for getting reservations and for not spending the annual budget of a small third world country for the privilege of a mediocre meal and some noisemakers.

The hotel wanted 700 Euros (Euros!!!) each, which came to about $2000 for the two of us, which is more than the trip cost, and all the restaurants we called were either booked, closed, ridiculously expensive, or all of the above.

But finally, when the jet lag and the cough syrup had worn off, we came up with a solution, and a brilliant one at that. We went to a salumeria down the street, bought goodies like salami, prosciutto, cheese, olives, some of that great Italian bread, a bottle of Prosecco (the Italian version of champagne) — and had a picnic. On the bed! st_marks_1_05.jpg

Then, just before midnight, we went down to St Marco’s Square, which on New Year’s Eve is like a smaller, classier version of Times Square, and celebrated the New Year, whichever one it was, with the Italians. Molto, molto bene!

So maybe New Year’s Eve shouldn’t be abolished after all. Maybe you just have to be a little creative about it.


This year, we’re doing hors d’ouevres at home and then going to The Edison Ballroom (see Bitter Patter on the right) to hear a fabulous big band and a Latin combo. We may do some salsa if we get sufficiently salsaed up beforehand. The trick is to get enough martinis into my husband so that he will attempt a fox trot, but not enough to make him think he’s Gene Kelly. Or Grace Kelly. Whatever. And yes, to get through security around Times Square, we do need those stinkin’ passes. But I have them in my hot little purse, and we are ready to party!

Should I bring my mask or my black socks???

Photos of Lady In The Black Mask and Arcade at San Marcos by Lou Chisena

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