The trouble with New Year’s is that we always expect some grandiose celebration; something epic to happen. Even as I write this word (epic), I’m cringing, because it’s become one of those overused meaningless words. In my world, every weekend is an “epic party” (Guys: would you please cease and desist with that word? Surely every weekend can’t actually be EPIC! Srsly).
That’s the thing, though, that just like every weekend isn’t epic, neither is New Year’s, usually. It’s just another night out, when the calendar year happens to be turning over and most people’s expectations for the night are way too high. And then they wind up disappointed that nothing “OMG-worthy” happened. I’ve personally stopped expecting amazing things from New Year’s. Usually, I’ll go out with friends and hope to have a fun time, but, you know, the way I would on any night out with friends. I don’t expect it to be the second coming of Christ or anything.
Last year, I spent New Year’s night wandering around too much in the cold by myself. First, I went by my friend’s Carl’s place, armed with a bottle of wine, as he was having a dinner party, only to have him tell me I was a day early. D’oh. The dinner thing was on Jan. 1, not Dec. 31. But he invited me in anyway, we drank the wine and I chatted with him and his husband for a bit. Then left around 10-11 and went on a long walk in the freezing cold to Kay and Jefferson’s place for a little low-key gathering they were having. It was some 20-30 blocks away from Carl’s place and it didn’t make sense to take the train, while cabs were nowhere to be had at that hour on New Year’s, so I walked, begrudgingly. I had a good time with the two of them and our friend Crystal, who was also there to celebrate. I rung in the new year with them at midnight. There is a Russian superstition that says that whoever you celebrate with at midnight and whatever you’re doing at the time will set the tone for the following year. And while Jefferson and Kay have since broken up, I’m actually very pleased to be better friends with both of them and Crystal these days, as they’re all great people. Maybe the superstition is true!
After seeing the three of them, I went back out (on another long, cold walk) to meet my friend H at a bar in Gowanus. Except he had already left that bar with a friend and went to some warehouse party, which a) took me forever to find and b) was exactly what I was trying to avoid on New Year’s. When I got there, I had to pee like crazy and wound up waiting in a 40-minute-long (no joke) line for the ONE bathroom in a place with hundreds of people. H had gone there to chase some tail he had just met, I expect, but said tail had its tongue down some other guy’s throat when they got there, so he and our friend Matt left while I was in the bathroom line and went back to the original bar. I was going to just go home after the (truly epic) bathroom line, but H intercepted me and got me to the bar to buy me a drink for all my running around. So we knocked back a whiskey or two together and then went home around 3-4 a.m. So last year was, more or less, meh.
But it was, by far, not the worst New Year’s on record. That award will go to the 2006 into 2007 New Year’s night, when I went to my friend V’s party with my boyfriend at the time. That relationship was already not working for me for a while and I was trying to get out, but the boyfriend kept convincing me to stay and giving me “I can’t live without you” speeches, so I stayed, although deep down I knew I didn’t want to. And on that night, after having a bit too much champagne and whatever else I had drunk, I decided I was “done!” and bolted from V’s place, while said boyfriend was puking or passed out in the bathroom. I felt awful about it the next day. Both for abandoning him there like that (he had no place to even go back to in New York, as he lived in Pennsylvania) and for leaving him on V and her husband’s hands. The boyfriend apparently kept them up all night, asking, in a drunken drawl, “whaaaa happened?” over and over again.
Meanwhile, one of the most memorable New Year’s nights on record was the 2004-2005 one. I actually had to work in a restaurant I was waitressing in that night, which kind of sucked, though it turned into a big party come midnight and the guests and staff, yours truly including, were dancing on tables. I finally got released from my shift around 1-2 a.m. and went over to a friend’s party in Times Square. I’d normally avoid the area like the plague on New Year’s night, as thousands of people gather there to watch the ball drop and it’s way too hectic and claustrophobic for my taste, but my friend’s party was up at a penthouse apartment around Times Square, where you had a great view of the madness outside, but weren’t actually entrenched in it. He was house sitting for a friend at the gorgeous apartment, which had a spacious outdoor roof deck. Oh, and I was sleeping with said college friend at the time, so when all the other guests left, we went outside and fucked on the roof deck. It was unseasonably warm for December. Besides, even if it were cold, when you have an outdoor roof deck in Times Square on New Year’s, you should probably carpe noctem.
Prior to last year, I spent the last two-three years going to burner parties with my girlfriend. I believe one was a Winkel & Baltick underground thing in one of those sprawling warehouses and another was the opulent and decadent stylings of Love that Fever. They were both fun, but since we did burner parties around the clock at the time, they weren’t anything particularly out of the ordinary.
And last night, I went out for Silvester, as they call it here, in Berlin. I rung in the new year at midnight with my friend Amy at a, more or less, low-key bar where her boyfriend was bartending. New Year’s in Berlin is apparently a war zone of fireworks and firecrackers, with everyone and their mother, father, dog and child, blowing shit up all over the place. Smoke billowing everywhere. We threw some fireworks ourselves and then wandered over to another bar/lounge, Wiener Blut (it just means Vienna Blood in German, by the way, but I’m still laughing at seeing “wiener” everywhere), that was playing some really great 80’s dance hits. So we danced, we made some new friends. I talked to a sexy pro domme who told me about how her work is legal in Berlin and “she pays taxes and everything.”
I made friends with a guy from Atlanta, by way of St. Louis, and his half-sister, who lived in Switzerland. They were apparently children of a womanizer, who went around the world spreading his seed far and wide and then leaving the women he knocked up. But the kids all found each other on social media and became friends. What a wonderful way to turn something ghastly into something positive! The kids were awesome as well, as people and as dancers.
I took my Hemingway-infused ass home around 3 or 4 a.m. For more on that night see my Berlin Street Scene post. All in all, a good night. But, you know, not epic or anything. Luckily for me, I no longer expect epic from New Year’s or any given night, so if/when epic actually knocks on my door, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Oh and p.s.: please tell me below how your nights went. I do miss my friends in New York and wonder what trouble you got up to!