These last few years, and by “few” I mean six or seven, I’ve rung in the dawn of the New Year in glorious, disgraceful frolic. Down the East Village the better bars buy day licenses so they can keep serving until 8:00 a.m. or later on the morning of January 1st, a dangerous luxury that most of America outside of New Orleans never gets to taste. And so historically Pierre and I have clung, limpet-like, to the last shreds of night, waiting bleary-eyed for the sun to burble through so we can at last head our separate ways with the satisfaction of a job well done.
I’m startled to discover that this is getting a little old. Which means, I gather, that so am I.
The only time I ever went to Times Square for New Year’s is so far back I guess I was in high school. I remember being cold and bored. Perhaps it was drizzling. Add this year’s Condition Orange wall-to-wall cops and metal-detector screening, add the inevitable rules about alcohol, backpacks, and handbags, and even if I’d thought of going up there I wouldn’t go up there. I think I was with someone and her friends that wayback night, and if I’ve got the someone right, by gosh, I haven’t thought of her in years. Proof positive that smooching ’til dawn isn’t always such a hot idea.
A couple of years ago I was in Austin for the SXSW Music Conference when a music girl and I were caught in a deluge as we walked back from a party across Town Lake on the Congress Street bridge. We bolted through the sheets of water to a gazebo generously perched in a bit of hollow on shore, and huddled together under my leather jacket as whipcracks of rain snapped past. We were drenched and pressed close, giggling as water sluiced out of our hair, as drops pelted against the leather. There was a lingering gaze-into-each-other’s-eyes turn-up-the-soundtrack pause. We realized it together, irrevocably: Right place, wrong guy, wrong girl. I hate when that happens.
Anyway, after a flurry of shrugging-shoulder emails it looks like we Peppers will start at Sparky’s Ale House down on Court Street, and usher in the ball a few long steps from the madding crowd. Then the late burlesque show at The Slipper Room and, when the crowds subside, surely a last dip into zymurgy at d.b.a., which is after all where these sorts of nights always come to roost. Mailboxes or no mailboxes, and whether or not the manhole covers have been welded shut.