New Years Eve

In all the years I lived in and around New York City did I never attend one of the famous New Years Eve celebrations in Times Square. I never saw the legendary “ball” drop, in person, at the scene. I find that odd, in that I took advantage of almost every other New York tradition or landmark, but New Years Eve was not one of them. I don’t say that with any regret, as I never really had a strong desire to be there on that night. It’s always interesting to tell people I meet , after they find out I grew up there, that I never went.

“You lived so close to Times Square and never went to a New Years Eve celebration??”, they ask incredulously, “Why???” And again, I have no great answer.

However, when Rob and I were kids,I do remember with fondness how Mom, Dad, and we kids would bring in the New Year. It usually involved , and this will shock you, a walk; most of the time to St. Anthony’s church and then perhaps a movie. Maybe Rob can help me fill the blank spots in my memory, because I can’t remember if the movie thing was a “tradition” or one of which we only did a few times.

Whatever the case , I remember the long walk, usually on a cold evening, to St Anthony’s and then a movie. The year(whatever year it was) that stands out most to me was the year we went to see the James Bond classic, Goldfinger. My brother and I were huge Bond fans and we thought Sean Connery was the absolute best. Why this particular year is so vivid in my mind , I don’t know, but it was perfect, and the movie has always been one of our all time favorites.

Once we returned to the apartment, the evening consisted of wonderful snacks and food as we watched one of the many TV shows dedicated to bringing in the New Year. I seem to recall Guy Lombardo in the very early years and later Dick Clark and others. Regardless, it involved mom bringing out an endless supply of delicious snacks as the four of us gathered in the living room to watch the talent offered on the television. Of course, whatever show we watched cut off and went to Times Square for the Ball drop at midnight. We would watch with excitement the festive crowds filling the streets. Noise makers and funny hats and streamers ruled as the countdown began: 10, 9, 8…. we chanted along with the announcer… 5,4, 3, 2,1,,,, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Old lang Syne filled the air as the couples on the dance floor or on Times Square kissed and embraced. Mom and Dad always made certain that Rob and I got a happy new year kiss from both of them. I miss those.

The evening would end on a great note with another family tradition. At the crack of midnight , Dad would cook up the most delicious sausage and pepper sandwiches imaginable. Served on wonderful Italian bread, the family gathered around our small kitchen table for this midnight feast. It was priceless.I still try to have sausage and pepper sandwiches on New Years.

And, thus , another year would begin. It was bitter sweet in a way… the holidays were wonderful, and now they were over. We would be back to school in another day, facing all the challenges, fears and insecurities that seemed to magically disappear during the Holiday season. There were no more “real holidays” to look forward until summer.

But….. in the immortal words
of Dad……” time flys” and as soon as winter turned to spring , he would begin to tell us…”Christmas is right around the corner ”
Rob and I used to laugh at that;….
Not so much anymore.
Happy New Year.

-Don

 

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