Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bucket Lists? It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..........

Kerri looks forward to the New Year by looking back at a favourite New Year’s Eve

Unfortunately I am approaching one of those ages when it is tradition to set yourself a “bucket list”; those must do things before you die. Quick poll around the office has revealed our top bucket list:
1. African safari
2. Walking in Tuscany
3. Greek Islands cruise
4. Christmas in New York
5. Scandinavia in winter
6. Rio Carnival
7. Snowboard Japan/Canada/Europe
8. Milan Fashion Week
9. Sail the Caribbean
10. Trek Nepal/Himalayas
11. Visit the Colosseum

I haven’t made a bucket list yet, but thinking back, New Year’s Eve in New York would have been on there. Tick. Done. Best New Year’s of my life!

Imagine standing shoulder to shoulder, in a series of what look like cattle pens, eyes glued forward just watching for hours on end for that little ball to drop signalling the New Year in. It’s freezing cold. There are no toilets. Once you are in – you are in. We were told people bring plastic bags – the mind boggles what for!!! There is no food. No alcohol.

We were staying just a block from Times Square and our hotel had given us a special letter for us to be able to walk around the City after midday – New Yorkers start to gather in their little pens from 2pm in the afternoon. As each pen is filled up, new pens are opened further down the street and block after block it goes. Crossing the streets to get food for dinner requires said hotel letter to say that we are “locals” and where we should be, and able to walk where we want.
I have never seen so many police and weapons in my life.

Thankfully as a member of the worldwide police family, we didn’t have to line up from 2pm just to get a great view of the ball, we stayed warm in our hotel room until 11:30pm and then wandered with my son out to find a friendly policeman who ushered us up to the front of a pen for a fantastic view of the whole party. As everyone chants down and the ball starts to make its descent, it is really hard not to be completely caught up in the excitement. Tickertape falls all around you. Complete euphoria that I will never forget –nor the sight of my 8 year old screaming his lungs out with the best of them.

New York at Christmas and New Year is really spectacular. Fifth Avenue dressed up to the nines, the Christmas decorations adorning every building and corner, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, toy shopping at FAO Schwartz, ice skating in Central Park, coffee at Dean & Deluca, the post-Christmas sales! Battling extreme winds and frostbite atop Empire State Building, visiting the Natural History Museum – you know the one that Night at the Museum is based on, and then watching Night at the Museum at your hotel that night! There really is a sense of magic and romance about New York at this time of year that is hard to beat. Bah Humbug to our cab driver who told us on our arrival in New York, that all the terrible traffic at 9pm that night was to do with “some stupid tree”.

Everything about New York at New Year’s is lines – lineups to get into every attraction, all the major stores, and the funniest line was the unfortunate crowds shivering outside Grimaldi’s famous pizzeria whilst our pizza tour was ushered into the warmth to gorge ourselves on the best Neapolitan type “pie” I have ever had. But it’s just all part of the experience.

I’m a Christmas tragic if you haven’t worked that out, so on that note, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at Urban Economics, and one day you will find me wishing you a Merry Christmas from New York as I tick Christmas Day in NYC off my bucket list. One day.
I’d love to hear your bucket lists!

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