What’s better than celebrating your 40th birthday in New York City? Why, being joined by two of your best friends, of course!

With New Year’s Eve fast approaching, and on the fifth anniversary of that trip, I was recently reminiscing about it with my friends CA and Joel. We all really love NYC, and have been there many times. It’s been five trips for me, and I can’t wait to go back now that I have this blog to share my experiences. Maybe in 2015…

Although I loved this trip and have many fond memories, I can’t say I would recommend visiting NYC on NYE. While I hear the Christmas decorations, store windows and big tree in Rockefeller Center are gorgeous, I barely had a minute to admire them all as the huge crowds were carrying me along by them like I was one of a thousand sardines going with the current in the sea! Although these pictures appear serene, we had just emerged from a human chain we needed to create to stay together as we struggled by the Christmas tree.

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We did do one thing very right. We didn’t succumb to all the marketing propaganda warning us to buy tickets to get into restaurants (for at least double what you would pay on a normal night). We decided to walk around and just see where the night took us. We ended up buying fun hats, meeting other revelers and enjoying a couple of bars and lounges, and a really wonderful Mexican meal (at a restaurant I sadly forget the name of) – the best chili rellanos I have ever eaten, and amazing sangria and margaritas!

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There is one thing I want you to remember when you are watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV – everyone has been there since about 3 p.m., basically locked inside pens like cattle. Just waiting for the ball to drop. Oh, yeah, there’s some fantastic entertainment (between TV commercial breaks) for a couple of hours. But overall, you are locked in a pen. If you want to get out, you can’t get back in. Think about that. There are no port-a-potties, and you can’t run into a restaurant for a “comfort break.” So, are all these people holding it for about nine hours? How do they do it? There are websites that give advice… and that advice is… wear an adult diaper. Yep, all those people you see on TV kissing in Times Square have probably pissed themselves. For real.

imageWe stayed right in the action at the W Hotel in Times Square, and this was a good move for New Year’s Eve. Even though we couldn’t

be right in Times Square, our hotel cards gave us access to many side streets nearby (that you otherwise couldn’t get into). It’s a pretty hip hotel (a little too hip for me maybe – considering I pulled out my signature robot move on the “dancefloor” one too many times). We started and ended at the lounge bar, and watched everyone standing outside on a little TV.

imageThe downside was that being so close, it would have been great to just be able to stand outside of the hotel and watch the ball drop.. but it doesn’t work that way. If we got close to the barrier on the side street, we were asked to move back. So, at about 11:30 p.m. I decided to wander around nearby. As luck would have it, a barrier was removed about then on a side street about two blocks away (with a view of Times Square). About 50 people and I got ushered into a pen with a good view of a big screen…. But I got antsy and immediately ran out and across the street and stood on my own to watch the screen. (Oh, by now, CA and Joel had gone to bed!).

All was well until about 11:50 p.m., when a police officer came by and apologetically asked me to move because I was starting to get attention (and it wasn’t allowed). So… I wandered back to the hotel and greeted the new year in my room… my view was the side street below and not Times Square… but it was kinda fun to hear it all so clearly (even though I couldn’t see it)! Does that sound like a sad and pathetic New Year’s Eve? I can promise you it wasn’t. Just… an experience.

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Overall, great memories from this trip, including buying a beloved watch on New Year’s Day that I still wear every day (Joel helped me bargain with the suave Italian stallion sales guy at a local shop near Macy’s). One of the best trips ever!

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