New Year’s Eve… Not in Times Square, But I Coulda Been a Contender!


As I write this, I am sitting in Times Square, New York. I’m not sitting in the long line– that started early this morning, of people waiting to see the ball drop at midnight. I’m not waiting to see the star-studded show that will happen, just a hop, skip and a jump from the hotel lobby where I’m writing. I’m waiting to get out of the city.

My husband and I decided it would be fun to bring our 18-year-old son to NYC to see some of the renowned holiday windows; visit the famous museums; the lights, and the Broadway shows. We knew it might be very cold, but we’re people who prepare. We knew the city would be busy; it’s holiday break for all public school kids. We found out that by leaving on New Year’s Eve day we could save a lot of money; so we booked our flight home to the west coast for late in the day– knowing we’d forego celebrating the end of 2014 anywhere interesting. With all likelihood, we’ll be on the highway driving home when the clock chimes midnight.

We visited The Met; we spent much of a day at the Museum of Natural History; walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, and visited 1 World Trade Center and the memorial. We saw two shows (The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Nighttime and Hedwig and the Angry Inch); we ate specialty foods in the places that made them “famous”– donuts at The Donut Plant, cronuts at the Dominique Ansel Bakery, pizza at Johns. We walked in Central Park and listened to a buskar play John Lennon’s “Imangine,” at Strawberry Field, the memorial just outside The Dakota, where John was shot, 34 years ago this month. We stayed in Times Square, right at the hub of where it’s all happening tonight. The stage is literally right outside our hotel door.

And that is why we’re leaving today. The cost of staying one more night brought the entire trip (airfare and hotel, in particular) up, up, up! Add to that what most people who head to Times Square for New Year’s Eve don’t know: there will an estimated 1 million people in the square tonight; it’s bitter cold and will get colder as the wind chill drops; you can not leave once you get in (or, if you do, you can’t get back in), and here’s the clincher: there are no toilets anywhere in the square! If you come to drink and be merry, you better have an ironclad bladder. My 18-year old might in fact be able to do this, but as a 50’something mom of 3, that seems well out of my comfort zone.

Our hotel is issuing letters that enable you to come in and out of Times Square, to get in and out of the hotel, but they gave it to us with a stern warning: Just because you have this letter doesn’t mean you’ll actually be able to get here. In fact, the staff laugh at the idea of trying to go anywhere. We were told to leave for the airport– and we have to walk 4-6 blocks with our luggage, because the NYPD closed off local traffic hours ago– by 1:30pm for 5:30pm flight. That’s if we can find a taxi. Again, 4-6 blocks with our luggage… in bitter cold!

So we took the smart route, and came five days ago and saw what we wanted to see. Let’s face it, you can’t see everything in NYC with five days. Our first day we walked 15+ miles, and we averaged 8 miles of walking each day after. It’s fun to ride the subway, but then you miss the sites. This is an infinitely walkable city, and I hate to miss a thing. I’ll have time to rest when I’m dead; while I’m here in this amazing city, I want to see as much as I can.

Admittedly, whether it makes more sense to leave or not, I have some regret about leaving today– when CNN is right outside, the crowds are filling in, the excitement is palpable. I’ve been watching the ball drop in Times Square, on television, all of my life. We stayed up as children to watch Dick Clark and the festivities. It’s been on my bucket list since I was in college. However, faced with the reality of the challenge, we opted to flee.

The live cam from the hotel, shows we were there!

The live cam from the hotel, shows we were there!

Tonight, I will miss the show on TV, as we drive home. I’ll look at the digital clock in my car and know that we were here, right here, where it’s all happening… and we left. I may regret it for a long time, but looking at the crowds just in this lobby, watching the live-cam of the crowds outside, it seems a smart move to slip away and welcome 2015 in the quiet of our evergreen world at home.

Where are you spending New Year’s Eve? Have you ever been to Times Square for New Year’s Eve? Happy New Years!

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
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33 Responses to New Year’s Eve… Not in Times Square, But I Coulda Been a Contender!

  1. Happy New Year, Dawn!


  2. Safe travels, sorry I missed seeing you but understand. 15 miles in one day– wow. I’ll be in the city tonight- wish I wasn’t.. but a work event my husband has to do this year— would rather be home and in bed by 10! Happy 2015!


  3. Hi – I will be in a small Greek restaurant, where the staff know me because it’s my favourite to-go place for lunch with ‘girl’ friends or my 85 year-old parents. I’ll be texting my four twenty-something kids, who are just this year getting past the have-to-be-at-the-coolest-biggest- party stage and are all planning something quieter with faithful friends. Happy New Year! I’m happy I found your blog. I wrote a while ago to say you might like mine…


    • Happy New Years, “mom!” I’ll check your blog out too. Sorry, I must have missed it last time. I’ll be texting my kids too– one is in Sydney and it’s all over there, and the other is in Jerusalem and it’s just happening!


  4. I’m sure this trip will be a special memory even if you didn’t stay to se the ball drop! All the best for 2015 🙂


  5. Hi Dawn, As a native New Yorker, trust me you aren’t missing anything. The tradition of freezing to death for hours on end to watch a heaping ball of crystal descend down is totally not all it cracks up to be. I promise! Haha Happy New Year though! Looking forward to your works of 2015!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much xsoulxonfirex! It’s an incredible city (I’m from Boston, originally), where I’ve spent many memorable times… this may some day be checked off my list, or it might just have to stay a list item. 😉 Happy New Year!


      • Boston is totally awesome! My best friend lives out there and I’ve had the privilege of seeing some of the very beautiful history in the city and the bars, ha. Times Square is definitely a bucket list thing to think about conquering. I would applaud you if you managed this. You would definitely be a braver woman than I. Happy New Year to you as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. angelinahue says:

    Brussels and absolutely no NYE crowd for me. Happy new year and all the best for 2015!


  7. I always marvel at the crowds at Times Square…I’ve lived my entire life a quick train ride away and never, once, have I wished to be there on New Years Eve. It is not for an introvert, that’s for darn sure. The rest of your trip sounded wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. susanissima says:

    Happy New Year, Dawn, and safe travels! Sounds like you made a good choice in leaving before the onslaught. We’ll be drinking hot chocolate under, if the snow clouds give it a rest, the shimmering aurora. Cheers!


  9. Amy Reese says:

    Happy New Year, Dawn! You can still say you were there on New Year’s Eve…just not at midnight! Close enough, but at least you got to see the sights, and you don’t have to battle the crowds or the cold. Cheers to the New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy New Year Dawn! It sounds like you made the right decision. New Year’s Eve can be so wacky – especially in NYC. I’m a New Year’s Eve baby (or as my parents liked to say, “A very welcome tax deduction! 🙂 ) so I learned long ago to celebrate on either side of the date and save NYE for a quiet party. Here’s wishing you a fabulous 2015! Can’t wait to see what you’re up to. ~Terri


  11. hbksloss says:

    Happy New Year Contender! I’ve been in Times Square millions of times when I lived in NYC in my twenties. Spent one New Years in the square and never again! Too cold, too many drunk people and now the rule no in and out, forget about it! Would much rather be warm, (have access to a toilet) and spend the evening with people I love. I’ve learned (for me) it is not about where I am, but will I’m with that matters most. Driving home, after a great adventure, sounds like a perfect way to find in the new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Good piece Dawn. I think you were wise to leave early. 🙂 — Suzanne


  13. Now that is some great trip planning. Last night we were watching the ball drop on Times Square and we kept talking about how stupid those people were for standing in the cold for over 11 hours…and with no bathroom? What is the point? I enjoyed my warm home, fireplace, cocktails, good friends…and my wonderful, glorious bathroom!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. jgroeber says:

    You know what I told parents when I was doing college counseling with their kids? It’s not the college results that matter, it’s the way they feel about it. I don’t have any hard evidence, but life seems to prove that it’s all as good as we say it is. And you, my friend, seem the Queen of finding the beauty, bringing the joy, going all out for the adventure. And it sounds like you had the perfect New Years; beauty, joy, adventure and midnight in a safe and quiet car with 2 of your nearest and dearest. Yay! Cheers to a wonderful (and healthy) 2015!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Mike Lince says:

    What a great treat for your son to be shown the sights of the city! You certainly outdid us as far as celebrating New Years Eve. We tried to stay awake until midnight. However, while Florence snoozed on the sofa and I nodded off several times right next to her, we gave up the battle and cracked a bottle of sparkling cider at 11:30. After a toast to Auld Lang Syne we went to bed. That was a good thing because I was wide awake for football the next day! 🙂

    Happy New Year! – Mike



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