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 Sinclairification by Grant Sinclair

16 Years' of New Year's Eves

08 Feb 2009

As promised in this post, I would post my stories and thoughts for 16 years’ of  New Year’s Eves.  We don’t really need a preamble for this story, so here it is, in chronological order:

1993-1994: Williamsville, New York, USA (suburb of Buffalo)
I don’t remember much about this New Year’s Eve; it was 16 years ago.  Grade: ?

1994-1995: Clinton, New Jersey, USA
I think I was at a friend’s house.  Grade: ?

1995-1996: New York, New York, USA (Madison Square Garden, Phish concert: Manhattan)
This was an amazing night, to say the least.  Great enerergy, great show, great time.  Ten years after the show, Phish released this concert as a 3 disc boxed set.  Also, the trains to New Jersey broke down on the way home and we ran amok in the streets of Manhattan with 100,000 of our closest friends.  Grade: A+

1996-1997: Boston, Massachusetts, USA (Fleet Center, Phish concert)
Bitter sweet but fun.  My best friend and I road tripped from New Jersey to Boston for the shows.  Fun because it was a good time, sad because I was moving from New Jersey to Atlanta a few days later.  Grade: B

1997-1998: Atlanta, Georgia, USA (Five Points)
Pretty standard NYE Event.  We all crammed into Five Points to watch a two-dimensional peach awkwardly drop at Midnight, then we all left.  Nothing really memorable one way or the other.  Grade: C

1998-1999: Key West, Florida, USA (Corner of Duval and Green Streets in front of Sloppy Joe’s)
I witnessed the biggest street fight I ever saw, got thrown off a police car by the officer, rescued a girl and an old woman from the fight,saw a girl punch a policeman, then get punched right back, then saw her and her boyfriend (who also punched the officer) get arrested and the fight clear, all before the big conch dropped at Midnight.  THIS is what New Year’s Eve is about!  Grade: A+

1999-2000: Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida (Phish concert)
Watched Phish play a marathon Midnight-to-sunrise set which ran for seven hours, 45 minutes.  It was great, though I vaguely remember sleeping on a palm leaf then being woken in the middle of the night by the commotion caused by some big fat guy high on something running around, charging at people and taking his clothes off.  It was cold that night.

The traffic was horrible, but the company, music and experience were great.  After the concert, my friend and I (same friend from the Boston show) headed to Key West to relax for a few days.  Grade: A+

2000-2001: Savannah, Georgia, USA (House party)
I saw a rookie police officer examine a bullet hole in the front seat of an empty car, then slam the door and spill the glass all over the seat.  Other than that, not much happened.  Grade: C

2001-2002: Athens, Georgia, USA (No where in particular)
I raced from my shift at the Taco Mac in Roswell to get to Athens before Midnight.  I made it and saw the fireworks as I drove through down town Athens, but I got a speeding ticket on the way and slept in my car in a sleeping bag.  Grade: C-

2002-2003: Seoul, South Korea (Downtown, bell-ringing celebration)
My first New Year’s Eve abroad!  This event was detailed in a writing I did when I lived in Korea called “The Tolling of the Midnight Bell.”  It was really, really fun, spontaneous, different and cool.  A last-minute decision by a friend of mine and I to go into Seoul for the New Year’s Eve celebration found us witnessing live music, good vibes and monks ringing a giant bell to literally ring in 2003.  Grade: A+

2003-2004: Miami, Florida
(American Airlines Arena, Phish concert)
Not the best Phish New Year’s Eve concert I ever saw.  The crowd didn’t seem that into the show, but the marching band climbing out of the car was interesting to say the least.  My girlfriend was bored, but the streak continued!  Grade: B

2004-2005: New Orleans, Louisiana
(Near Jax Brewery)
Much like the Atlanta New Year’s Eve, we all gathered to watch the Baby Baccus drop at the top of Jax brewery at the edge of the French Quarter.  Because it’s New Orleans, the vibe was especially good, mostly because the Sugar Bowl was the next day.  I was named an honorary Hokie; afterwords my buddy Mark and I found ourselves in an authentic French Quarter apartment, then on to Jean Laffite’s Blacksmith Shop, which some say is the oldest bar in America.  Grade: B+

2005-2006: Merida, Yucatan, Mexico (No where in particular; El Viejo)
Nothing says “celebration” like a bunch of people drinking and blowing up stuff.  Add that the clebration is in Mexico and you have a party like no other.

You see, there’s a tradition in the Yucatan – and maybe other parts of Mexico, I haven’t checked – where they build a life-size doll to represent the old year.  They fill it with fireworks, then set it ablaze at Midnight to symbolise the end of the old year and terrorize gringoes like me.  This is called "El Viejo" for "The Old Man" or other variations.

This New Year’s Eve party was the last day of a one-week tour across the Yucatan.  A great week, great food, great party and an outstanding New Year’s Eve.  Grade: A+

2006-2007: Dahlonega, Georgia, USA (Some crappy bar)
After Mexico, I knew it was damn near impossible to have two great New Year’s Eves in a row.  I was right.  Cathy and I booked it up to Dahlonega, found a place that was still serving food, had dinner, drinks and rang in 2007.  Pretty standard and kind of boring, but at least the streak continued.  Grade: C+

2007-2008: Jacksonville, Florida, USA
We hit Jacksonville Landing, which is where the party was.  It was a really cool scene, but it was crowded, so we tried to watch the fireworks from the bridge.  We weren’t the only people with this idea, but the police kicked us all off for safety reasons.  I can’t say I blame them.  We ended up watching the fireworks at Midnight across the river from Jacksonville Landing, which was actually really nice.  It wasn’t crowded, but there were a lot of people there, mostly families.

I didn’t think New Year’s Eve could be both relaxing and enjoyable, but this one was.  We all had a good time and rang in 2008 together.  Grade: B+

Still, relaxing though Jacksonville was and as boring as Charleston was, I’m really, really looking forward to getting to some place more exciting for 2009/2010.

Do you have any ideas?  I would love to hear them.  Drop us a note at the Contact page and send in your thoughts.

© 2009

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