....that's what my friends and I (and probably you and your friends too) used to call New Year's Eve, the one night a year when everyone's suddenly convinced that they have the liver capacity, social stamina and overall moxie to sustain themselves through a marathon of alcohol-fueled revelry (yeah, as if we were such booze-hardened party warriors). Still, back in the late 80's and throughout much of the 90's, my capacity for excess and after-hours gallivanting was respectably sizable (or certainly tripled what it is now). Still, New Year's Eve was a night when going out meant dealing with a nation of out-of-towner idiots clogging up every conceivable option. If you didn't have a specific plan (i.e. a house party somewhere or a series thereof), you were invariably going to be more irritated than inebriated -- which was, of course, unacceptable.
When I was in college, the rules were a bit simpler -- go wherever you can and drink as much as you can. And if the sun rose the next morning and you were still out on the tiles, that was a palpable victory -- you had beaten New Year's Eve, a dubious win that demanded yet another round before retiring or falling down wherever you were until-then attempting to stand.
I remember the New Year's Eve between `88 and `89, prior to my graduation from Denison University. Flanked by a squad of equally clueless and youthfully ambitious classmates, we hit Manhattan like a hammer, losing some teammates along the way and gaining others, crashing parties based solely on overheard discussions from the first party we'd shown up at (itself one we hadn't been invited to). The latter part of that evening (or early morning, I should say) involved incidents of drunken ribaldry, being thrown out of cabs (prior to arriving at the stated destination), challenging unsuspecting doormen to unsolilcited bouts of Greco-Roman wrestling, breaking and entering and possibly an unorthodox usage of duct tape. But, y'know...we were young, impetuous and invariably stupid....and it was the 80's.
Since then, New Year's Eve has gradually scaled down. When I was single, I'd hook up with a few friends and hit a party or maybe two (the picture above is from New Year's Eve `95/`96...taken at some loft party off Astor Place). Once Peg and I got married in `01, we basically set up a routine with some friends who'd host a party each year (the picture below is from New Year's Eve `01/`02). Once we had a child, that was pretty much that (as finding a baby-sitter for New Year's Eve is about as simple as finding a great bagel shop in Tehran).
I should point out that NEVER in all my years as a native New Yorker have I EVER attended -- much less harbored a desire to attend -- a New Year's Eve in Times Square. These days, it's bad enough I have to work right in the crotch of it.
In any case, it's New Year's Eve right now. Peg popped out with Charlotte to those same friends (who also now have two little kids). I stayed home with Oliver. It's now about quarter after 8 p.m., and we're looking at dinner, drinks and some bad television, and that's about it -- which is perfectly fine with us. I'd be lying if I said we didn't miss the wanton nights out on the town -- and maybe they'll return some day -- but for now, we're happy to spend Amateur Night on the couch. No duct tape necessary.