Published: Monday, January 23, 2012
My boyfriend and I began our winter break in Columbus, Ohio. After a few days in Columbus exploring the entire capital, learning about the state history and enjoying the regional architecture, we drove out to New York City. About noon on December 31, 2011 we were passing through the Lincoln Tunnel and parking in Manhattan. I was ecstatic the moment I walked out of the car and stepped onto the pavement. We were situated about three blocks away from Times Square. The first few hours we walked around and visited 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Central Park, Hell’s Kitchen, and the Theatre District. Absorbing the sights, sounds and smells- the garbage lining the streets, the strange array of architecture, the bustle of rude people pushing past us, and the mixture of pleasant scent of food and the putrid odors of waste- homesickness overcame me. I began to appreciate my clean and well organized Chicago, which I took for granted.
Crowds began lining the streets near Times Square around 4 PM. We followed them closely, weaving in and out of the already blocked areas of the neighborhood. The police was unorganized by barricading the area last minute and pushing people back. However, people around us kept a cheerful mood, singing and joking around, making the wait as pleasant as possible. We met people from all walks of life, various states and countries. Two hours later, we were passing the pat downs and chatting with others. There was a six hour wait ahead of us. The entire night we had a clear view of the ball, standing only a block away. The first few hours were slowly trickling. Without any public restrooms or food available, sometimes the wait became unbearable. Although the weather was pleasantly warm, we could not feel our legs or feet from walking and standing the entire afternoon.
The last hour couldn’t have come any sooner, but celebrating the new year’s with other countries and hearing the blaring music from the main stage made it all joyful. Finally, as the last hour turned into minutes, the tension was tightening. With the last few seconds left until midnight, everyone set their cameras up and began counting down. Just as the ball had dropped, cameras flickered, fireworks exploded, confetti flew, cheers roared, hugs and kisses spent. All of New York flooded the streets and celebrated the New Year. Everyone was merry and wished strangers the best for 2012. I am overjoyed that I had the opportunity to celebrate my New Year’s in Times Square. It was all worth the travel and wait.