First morning in NYC
We woke up around 9am. We put on CBC Radio 2 on the hotel room’s Bluetooth radio and lounged around for a while before showering, listening to classical music. It took awhile for the water to heat up in the shower, and operating the shower was a bit of a trial, but after much squeals from unexpected cold water, I eventually figured it out.
We started our day proper at Gregory’s Coffee, which was next door to our hotel, the Gotham. It had the best coffee in all of NYC, according to Yelp. I instantly gravitated towards the Cinnamon Blowout buns, then saw delicious smooth and granola bowls – we got one of each! I ordered a red eye and Matt had a black eye (double shot of espresso). The staff were pretty miserable, but the coffee was good!
Prep for NYE
Fueled up, we went out to run errands and scope out Times Square. The most important errand was picking up champagne for back at the hotel after the Ball Drop. I always enjoy going to liquor stores in other countries – the selection is always different than back home.
The prices, even in USD, were more than back home! Usually American booze is cheaper, but then everything seems more expensive in NYC!
We picked up a half bottle of Veuve Clicquot and the salesperson helped us pick out a wine. We got a NY white and took it back to the hotel to chill. We layered up, packed our day-packs, said goodbye to the cozy hotel room and headed to Times Square.
Times Square Take One
We headed to Times Square around 2:00 and after consulting a couple friendly NYPD officers, got to the front of the line at the 7th and 48th pen fairly easy. Sadly, we got turned away because our day-packs were too large. This was annoying as they were the size of a medium purse, with a shoulder strap – not a backpack! The Times Square website had said no backpacks or large bags – ours were neither! So, we headed back to the hotel.
We unloaded our day-packs to our coat pockets, and headed out again. We stopped in a diner on our way back, ordering mac ‘n cheese with a side of fried eggplant to share. It felt like a NYC experience – one of those makeshift salad bar/deli/pizza/hot buffet spots nestled between skyscrapers. Dinner cost us $8 too!
Times Square Take Two
When we returned to Times Square at 3:00, it was much harder to get in. A lot of streets were already shut down. However, we managed to get ourselves down to 49 and 7th by following the crowd and weaving through the masses.
It didn’t take long to get in the pen. The police officers were friendly and cracking jokes with the spectators. I didn’t get checked, which surprised me, especially since I had my fur muff with me! Somehow, plenty of people in our pen had big backpacks too!
We settled in against the fence in front of Ray’s Pizza on 7th at 49th. This provided much entertainment as there were salespeople coming out of Ray’s selling cheese pizza for $25 and hot chocolate for $5. Unfortunately, there were no washrooms.
NYE in Times Square
It cooled down once the sun went down. I was glad we wore extra layers, however soon the cold got to our toes and fingers. We danced around and cuddled to keep warm. Fortunately, one of the event sponsors was handing out purple hats. Matt went on a mission to find two for us, aided by a kind neighbour who grabbed us two when they were handed out. The purple hats covered our ears, which was an improvement over my beret.
The stage was hidden from our view, but the NYE concert was being broadcasted on a small screen below the Ball. We couldn’t hear either. They really should have a live captioner at the event – we could barely hear a thing down at 49th Street! Real-time captioning, porta potties, and trash/recycling bins – that’s what they need for next year according to my books!
Somehow, I had gotten it in my mind that the ball would drop and smash into a billion pieces at midnight. Unfortunately (but for good reasons) this was not the case. The LED ball just dropped, accompanied by a million people and 6,000 cops counting down together as numbers appeared on a big screen overhead. The air was full of confetti, like colourful snow. Matt and I kissed, took pictures and video footage of the festivities, then headed back to our hotel.
It was surprisingly easy to get out of Times Square. We were back at our hotel by 12:30, including a stop at a street vendor for a chili dog and pretzel. Even a car crash didn’t deter our progress home – although Matt did stop to take a picture. It had a very cool accessibility icon after all (fellow #a11y enthusiasts check out the waving International Symbol of Access on the upper rear!).
Even at 5th and 46th street, confetti had made its way onto our suite balcony. Matt opened a bottle of champagne and we sat outside, amazed that we had survived the evening – 9 hours of crowds, cold, no water, or needing to use the washroom! That’s pretty damn impressive! I’m still amazed we made it through, relatively comfortably too! Go us! Yeah!