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 Sinclairification by Grant Sinclair

New Year's Eve Rules

10 Feb 2009

As promised in this blog, I would post my rules for New Year’s Eve.  What determines where I spend a New Year’s Eve in terms of distance, experiences and other factors can all be found here.  I’m interested to hear what you all have to say.

So far, as of 02 January 2009, the locations have been, beginning in 1993, as follows, again:

1993-1994: Williamsville, New York, USA (suburb of Buffalo)
1994-1995: Clinton, New Jersey, USA
1995-1996: New York, New York, USA (Madison Square Garden, Phish concert: Manhattan)
1996-1997: Boston, Massachusetts, USA (Fleet Center, Phish concert)
1997-1998: Atlanta, Georgia, USA (Five Points)
1998-1999: Key West, Florida, USA (Corner of Duval and Green Streets in front of Sloppy Joe’s)
1999-2000: Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida (Phish concert)
2000-2001: Savannah, Georgia, USA (House party)
2001-2002: Athens, Georgia, USA (No where in particular)
2002-2003: Seoul, South Korea (Downtown, bell-ringing celebration)
2003-2004: Miami, Florida (American Airlines Arena, Phish concert)
2004-2005: New Orleans, Louisiana (Near Jax Brewery)
2005-2006: Merida, Yucatan, Mexico (No where in particular; El Viejo)
2006-2007: Dahlonega, Georgia, USA (Some crappy bar)
2007-2008: Jacksonville, Florida, USA (started at Jacksonville Landing, then moved across the bridge to the other side of the river by Midnight)
2008-2009: Charleston, South Carolina, USA (TBONZ Gill and Grill restaurant, North Market Street)

The purpose of maintaining this tradition is to keep alive a spirit of fun and adventure on a night when more of the world comes together to celebrate the same thing than any other night of the year, as well as learning how different locations celebrate the end of the old year and the birth of the new year.

To be sure the tradition maintains its integrity, some rules needed to be set.  And those rules are as follows:

No location may be used twice, ever.  If a location is used twice, the streak will end, as well as the tradition.

Suburbs of a major city are not eligible locations.  For example, New Year’s Eve 1993-1994 was celebrated in Williamsville, New York, a suburb of Buffalo. This makes Buffalo and all Buffalo suburbs ineligible locations for future New Year’s Eve celebrations.

New Year’s Eve 1997-1998 was celebrated in Atlanta, Georgia.  Therefore, all Atlanta suburbs, as well as the city of Atlanta are ineligible for future New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Distance from a previous New Year’s Eve location might not be a factor.  For example, even though NYE 1993-1994 was celebrated in Buffalo, New York, Niagara Falls, New York is still and eligible location, as it is a different city.  Also, I could spend a New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls, New York and another in Niagara Falls, Canada, as it’s a different country.

Even cities that are close together within the same state could qualify, like St. Petersburg, Florida and Tampa, Florida, Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, or even Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, though I’m not particularly excited about spending late December in Minnesota.

The tradition started when it occurred to me that I hadn’t spent New Year’s Eve in the same city twice since 1992-1993 and 1993-1994 (Buffalo, New York), then went to New York and Boston the following years.  The tradition was established and followed officially in 1997-1998 when I decided to use Atlanta, despite having just moved there.  It was intended to be a different city every year, but when Phish announced plans to host a New Year’s Eve Millennium celebration in a place I had not yet spend New Year’s Eve, “city” became “location,” as Big Cypress National Preserve cannot be described as a city, or even a town, but still a location that qualifies in its own right.

One could argue this logic on three points:
1: A Phish concert is the same every time and by attending four Phish shows, while they are held in different locations, I have broken my tradition.

Anyone who has ever attended at least one Phish show, especially a New Year’s Eve show, can attest that each show is completely different any other Phish show ever played. You would also find that New Year’s Eve is the best example of variation in a Phish concert, as the band brings out different special guests (P-Funk and George Clinton in Miami, the Boston Community Choir in Boston), has different stage sets (The Gamehendge Time Factory in New York) and performs different stunts (Playing Midnight to Sunrise in Big Cypress) each time, making not only each Phish concert, but each Phish New Year’s Eve concert a completely different experience.

2: Attending a Phish concert in an arena is a different experience than seeing that city’s own New Year’s Eve celebration, making that city eligible for another New Year’s Eve visit.

I will use this logic only if I get desperate.  Even so, half  of the places I spent NYE at a Phish show (New York, Boston) were cold and I’m in no hurry to get back there when I could be going someplace warmer.  Also, I’m sure one of those locations (Big Cypress) doesn’t hold a New Year’s celebration at all, since it’s a National Preserve and not a town or city with regular events.

The point of this tradition is to have as much fun as possible in as many different locations as possible, for as long as possible.

I understand that if I ever have children, taking off to some remote corner of the world for just one evening isn’t practical, but I’ll keep it up as long as I can.  I have also established a set perimeter of locations within easy driving distance of Atlanta that can be used as New Year’s Eve destinations, including:

Augusta, Valdosta, Macon and Helen, Georgia; Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville, Tennessee; Ashville, Raleigh, Winston/Salem and Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbia and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Biloxi, Jackson and Hot Coffee, Mississippi; Birmingham, Hacoda, Montgomery, Mobile and Gulf Shores, Alabama; Palm Beach, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Orlando, Florida, just to name a few.  Using only those locations, I have NYE choices for the next 26 years.

This tradition has continued for 16 years.  IF, however I ended up in one of those locations for New Year’s Eve again, would the streak/tradition end, or simply be disrupted?

For example, if I were in New York for New Year’s Eve, would the tradition end, or would I just say I’ve been doing this for 13 years, rather than 16?  Of course, if I were to spend New Year’s Eve in New York, it would then make Buffalo, New York and Clinton, New Jersey eligible again for future NYE celebrations.  If I were in Boston again for New Year’s Eve, would I just say I’ve been following this tradition for 12 years, making New York, Buffalo and Clinton eligible again?

Because it’s my tradition and these are my rules, I say, “Yes.”  Ending up in Boston, New York, Buffalo, or Clinton would not end the tradition, just reset it back that many years, unless I use the Phish Concert Qualifier (point #2 under History).

The absolute minimum acceptable amount of time to keep this tradition alive is ten years.  Therefore, if THERE WERE NO WAY AROUND IT, we could use Key West, Boston, New York, Buffalo and Clinton again, BUT the streak would reset at which ever number of years that is and it would make the locations before that repeat location eligible for future New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Feat not, I have no intention of repeating, unless it is the most unavoidable of circumstances.

What about New York?
The city of New York is made up of five boroughs; Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx.  I have spent New Year’s Eve in Manhattan, so would the other boroughs be acceptable locations for future New Year’s Eve celebrations?


If I’m allowing the Twin Cities and Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg, Florida, you would think boroughs of New York are allowed.  Although this falls in line with distance not being a factor (see above), boroughs are either:

1) Part of the city, which makes them ineligible.
2) Suburbs of the city, which makes them ineligible.

However, Long Island is eligible, because it is separate from the rest of the New York and is not a borough itself.  Also applying this logic, different parts of Long Island are eligible, as are Jersey City, Newark, Hoboken, etcetera.

The parts of Long Island which are eligible must be in Suffolk County, as Nassau County is too close to New York to not be considered a suburb.

Within Suffolk County, each town that holds its own NYE celebration is eligible.  For example, Montauk would be okay, as would the Hamptons, though, for these purposes, all the Hamptons must be considered as one, as spending NYE in Bridgehampton one year and East Hampton another year just go back to the same town/suburb rule, because, really, how different can one Hampton be from the next?

However, the New York rules will only apply if I have not prepared well for New Year’s Eve and find myself in New York on December 31 with no way around the situation.

Happy New Year!

Now that we’re into mid February, I think I can stop blogging about New Year’s Eve until November or December.

Thanks for reading!

© 2009

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