Happy New Year everybody. I was in Times Square
on this New Year's party. The largest, grandest and supposedly one of the most spectacular new year's eve party in the world. Lucky me, isn't it, so read on about me experience of it.
Well I reached Manhattan
around 5:30pm, most of the streets where blocked, so I had to walk for a mile from Port Authority Bus Stop to 52nd Street, through which commoners were to enter the secluded party zone. At 52nd Street there was a sea of humanity, which was trying to get into the party area through a narrow outlet, from which only two people can exit at one time after being frisked by police officers. I was in the middle of melee, where people who where in the back where pushing forward, while people in the front where resisting and holding back; standing in the middle I felt as if everyone wanted to converge to a single point centered upon me. I am an Indian so I easily overcame this claustrophobia and was somehow able to enter the so called `party zone' by around 6:15pm. By the way, if you work in Times Square area, or you have a room in one of the hotels there, you can easily get in from some of the other streets by showing your id and/or hotel keys, and no need to fight your way in.
Once I was in there, it felt good, there were so many people around, so much infectious excitement and enthusiasm. There were several fenced enclosures, and everyone had to be in one of them, and hope to get a chance to move to the next enclosure which was closer to the stage. Near Times Square they had set up a stage from which they where playing music, and the show was being hosted and broad-casted on TV. The music which they where playing was good, but unfortunately the acoustics where horrible. One was only able to hear noise, and maybe get a vague feeling that it was something musical. There should have been speakers along the entire avenue. Everyone was thinking that if they can get closer to the stage the music will become clearer, in the same hope after much jostling I was able to get within 500 feet of the stage, but still the music was sounding hopelessly bad. Maybe for the people who where within few tens of feet away from the stage the music was clear, because from a distance they were looking cheerful and it seemed as if they were enjoying.
After standing there in the street for two hours and with nothing exciting to do, everyone started to feel hungry. Luckily there were few souls out there who had the business sense to take advantage of this situation and sell some pizzas, but for some reason they were supplying only few boxes of pizzas and that also, only once in every half hour. Being a vegetarian, I generally prefer carrying food with me, and so luckily I didn't have to wait and scout for the pizza delivery boy. With hunger satiated, it was the time for cold to strike. Everyone was wearing big jackets and caps, etc. so the torso and the head were well insulated, but the feet were getting numb with cold. To compound it the roads where cold and wet due to morning rain and snow. So, everyone was moving their legs and dancing, not to any music, but just to keep their legs warm. After some time I realized that I have another problem, I wanted to pee, but there is no way I can leave the enclosure in which I am standing, if I do so, I will lose my well advantaged position and I have to go to the end of line (there where at least 7-8 thousand people behind me). So, I had to be in that situation for more than 4 hours. Afterwards on my way back home the bus driver, told me that he heard stories of people doing it in empty water bottles, but anyway I can never imagine myself doing that, I am too prude.
Everyone including myself endured everything hoping for something gala around the period when the ball will be dropped. Finally, the countdown happened, and the ball was dropped followed by a minute's fireworks (the local independence day city or community fireworks are much better), and everyone started congratulating each other and wishing a happy new year. That was my highlight of the night. It taught me a valuable lesson, people can be made willing sufferers of pain and hardship by being promised a chimerical reward, and finally when the reward is not delivered, they will still appear happy and not whine, because they invested so much energy and enthusiasm into it and don't want to believe that they where crazy to do this. There was a method to the entire madness. It was all organized in such a way, that things look neat and fun on TV, but who the heck cares about people out on the street who have traveled thousands of miles, crossed oceans to come and see this. Its only foreigners, tourists and few gullible people from other US states who go to the ball drop, the local guys only watch it on TV.