Sunday, January 1, 2012

Journey 2012: How I Enjoyed The Historic New Year's Eve Ball Drops In New York City!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

To see the iconic New Year’s Eve Ball drops from the flagpole atop the historic Times Square, New York City, at the stroke of midnight on December 31st tops my idea of ringing in the New Year!  Year after year, I am one of the billion others from all over the world whose eyes are riveted on TV "waiting for the ball to drop" on New Year's Eve, as  million revelers on site unitedly bid the year goodbye  and welcome the new year. The celebration is unlike anything in the world! 

At exactly 11:59 pm of December 31, 2011, I have witnessed the ceremonial ball descended down the flagpole of One Time Square (New York City) for 60 -seconds just as it was in previous years! The only difference this time is I've seen it in real life and not on TV! Guess, I can now claim to be part of this over a 100 - year global tradition and checked off this task from the book " 2001 Things To Do Before You Die"! TOot, toot!

My prince's apartment is just 38 minutes away from the Big Apple on a train, so I took advantage and embraced the idea that this is gonna be the year to get that  glimpse of the famous ball dropping on the New Year. As date draws near, my anticipation runs high. Website says Justin Beiber will perform and Lady Gaga, after her performance, will officiate the lowering of the ceremonial ball which will be lit and raised to the top of the 77-foot flagpole at One Time Square (Broadway at 43rd Street). I knew that the earlier we arrive, the better view and the closer we will be to the action! But the problem is, I can't stand being in the middle of such giant crowds in potentially below zero (freezing!!) temperature for many hours. So to get the most enjoyment out of this historic celebration,  here's what I did:

1) Bundle Up. I put on many layers both tops and bottoms - 6 total including a thermal wear and a wind-resistant coat. Two of the layers have hoods, so I have three coverings for my head with my hooded muffler to keep me warm. I made sure too that some layers have zippers so it can easily be removed while in the car, train and train stations which are all heated. And don't forget the gloves!

2) Bring Nothing Except for camera, New Year's paraphernalia like funky 2012 eyeglasses, confetti, horn (not as fun as Pinoy's torotot)  and your holiday spirits! Backpacks, alcohol, folded chairs even are not allowed! You can bring pizza and drinks (esp. water to keep you hydrated). But again, you don't want to drink or eat much since there isn't any restroom nearby! In our case, we dined at my prince's favorite Famous Amadeo's Pizza place after the celebration. The pizza couldn't be better, not only because it was really the best pizza in the world, but also because the craving built up as we waited!

3) Get There Late. Of course, if watching the performances is your thing more than just to see "the ball drop", then you should get there in the afternoon to claim a good "spot" since access to the pens (as in pigpens and not ballpens) is on a First Come First Serve basis. Your only problem though is being out there long in the cold without a restroom nearby and not being able to do any other fun things for hours or you lose your claimed "spot"! 

Since I am already happy just to see the 60-second ceremonial ball descent, we planned to get to New York by 10pm. We drove to the New Jersey train station past 7pm  and made it to the 7:32 train to New York Pennsylvania Station. Unlike our anticipation, there wasn't a huge crowd there (maybe already at Times Square) so we found a good seat. Our commute was only 38 minutes and reached New York (albeit in the station) a few minutes past 8pm. 

We took the subway to Central Park and walked our way to the access entrance manned by New York Police Department. Though we can literally still walk a lot closer to the 43rd Street, we decided to stay in the front row pen located in the 57th Street. Yes, it is far away, we couldn't even hear the sound system nor see the huge screens, but I could see the famous ceremonial ball and that's what counts (pun intended)! Besides, we have a good, if not the best view, of the fireworks after the countdown!

4) Use The Restroom While In Train Station. This would be your last until the ball drops (from Times Square flagpole). Once you get access in one of the many pens,  you can't leave, otherwise someone takes your precious "spot".

5) Hot Hands. I mean the air-activated Heatmax warmers made of iron powder, water, salt, activated charcoal and wood fiber that when exposed to air produce heat up to 10 hours. My prince was so sweet to have Hot Hands handy for me for that soothing warmth inside my gloves when I felt the chill! 

But of course, adding to the thrill of having participated in a historic global tradition is to be  with my prince and feel the warmth of his hands, his tight embraces and gentle kisses (just two!)  - to bid the year goodbye and welcome the coming year!

Happy New Year To All. May this year be fruitful and full of many wonderful surprises to everyone!!


  1. Bilis magpost! So nice! It's actually a target of my college buds to have New Year's Eve at Time Square one day, someday, some how!
    Exciting post! I have a non-portalet solution for the bathroom thouhg, the problem is maneuvering it through layers of clothes! :P

  2. Eileen! Thanks for dropping by and for the tip. You are funny! haha.I am excited for the blog carnival girl!!Good luck and a Happy New Year to you.


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