I know that ringing in the New Year in Times Square is pretty high up on a lot of people’s bucket lists, but nothing about the idea has appealed to me. Too many people in a place I already detest. And I don’t know if you know this, but it was FREEZING (technically, below freezing) on New Year’s Eve night in New York. And we saw people starting to stake out and claim their spots two whole days before the celebration. Uh, no, thank you.
But I’m here to tell you that there is a more laid-back — family-friendly, even! — way to kick off another twirl around the sun. I have to thank my brother-in-law, Ryan, for finding out about this event. He was also responsible for getting us to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and giving Ali her new favorite toy (a catnip-stuffed raccoon), so I guess he more than paid us back for his stay.
In Central Park, in the area near the Naumburg Bandshell (closest street entrance to the park is E. 72nd & 5th Ave), Emerald Nuts hosts an annual Midnight Run. Like, a four-mile run in the park that starts at midnight. In 20 degree weather. Meaning some people REALLY get a headstart on all those healthy-living resolutions. But the event is open to everyone!
In addition to a pretty impressive fireworks show at midnight — which also signals the start of the run — Emerald Nuts provides a DJ, a few live musicians, dorky “insert New Year here” hats, and of course, snack packs of nuts. We didn’t get the dorky hats (oh, darn) or nuts, but that’s OK.
I liked this event because it was not only free and within a reasonable walking distance from our apartment, it was also pretty fun. There were enough people to make it feel celebratory without being overwhelming. And, come on, it was kind of hilarious to see people of all ages jumping up and down in their parkas, beanies, boots, and scarfs to clubby music trying to keep warm in the frigid temperatures. Costumes are encouraged for the run, so those were fun to check out, too. My favorites were the two guys who wore whole-body spandex outfits in solid blue and solid green. I don’t know why, I just feel like things get really interesting when people cover their faces with colored spandex.
We enjoyed this event so much, we think we will go again next year! You could even hear some of the ruckus from down in Times Square, which is crazy. After, we went home and toasted with some faux-champagne, a.k.a. cheap sparkling white wine, that tasted like it was worse even less than the $10 or so we paid for it. Maybe because we were sipping it from coffee mugs, as all (three) of our wine glasses were dirty.
Happy Belated New Year! What are your resolutions? Mine are to read more nonfiction, join an “extracurricular activity” to meet new people (I’m attending a book club next Monday!), and to write more snail-mail letters to people.
Here’s a gift to keep you going through to Dec. 31, 2013. Are there two more adorable people in the world? No. No, there are not.