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My New Year Experience at Times Square, Before and After
WHEN IT WAS JUST A BARREN LAND
Manhattan is an island, but thousand of years ago was part of the Continental ground.Deglaciation and erosion did the rest to shape up this now famous land that was inhabitated by Leni lenape Iroquian Tribes, who were the first to see Giovanni da Verrazano approaching the Bay around 1524.
Picture Manhattan like a National park with trees and not much space for todays skyscrapers. These indians were used to fish with their canoes and felt nature in their own eyes. Henry Hudson was bolder and by 1609 made contact with these new people and was granted to get inland until toda's Albany New York
Before New York, there was New Amsterdam and it changed to its actual name after the English settled and took over the Dutch in 1664.
Legend states that Peter Minuit bought the island from the Native American leni lenape for an exchange of trading goods worth 60 guilders, often said to be valued at $24. What a bargain for today? Since a 2 bedroom apartment at the exclusive Soho costs around $3,000.
Before 1904 it was called Long Acre, after a London place similar to the zone, mostly known to hold stables for carriages and supplies for the trade. If you know Times square, you can imagine that, way back, it was just a corner with a trapezoidal shape, which was a perfect area for a future place that not even a century ago has gained the name of the Crossroads of the World. Why Times square? It was bought by the Magazine in 1904 and starting on December 31st held its annual ball drop. Don't get me wrong, but until early 1990 it was considered the worst area to take a kid for a ride, Due to its bars, Prostitution an drug dealing. before the end of the millennium it changed its style to today's flamboyant air. Neon lights surpassed the ones in Vegas and Theaters remodeled the long go Vaudevillian style from Sinatra, Fred Astaire and Liza Minelli.
Our own experience...
DECEMBER 31ST 2007
SEACACUS NEW JERSEY
We were curious for over 20 years to take this trip and we thought that it was the best time for us. Driving was not a option, since it was impossible to get a parking space near Times Square. We had finished our work at 3 P.M. September 11 was still in our minds. So we took the train that goes from Northern New Jersey through a tunnel that creeps under the Hudson river. We knew this was going to be a long trip...and we didn't make it home, We left our car at Work.
We had our last stop under the Madison Square Garden Arena, weather? 45 degrees, kind of cloudy and lots of people around. We had to walk from 34 st. to 43 st. Nine blocks to be at the center of all.
We found our first problem. Now, why did we go too early, when the ball starts its drop around midnight? It's a a matter of 'first come, first serve situation.' You have around 2 million people showing up for the ceremony. First issue? No back packs allowed, all purses would have to be researched thoroughly. We didn't know how to get access from the adjacent blocks to Times Square.
Finally, after asking the police and going in circles and getting help from others, we found a Barricade that would allow us to get to the next 3 blocks closer to our target. Picture yourself an stadium, but laid out flat. From block to block we would have to walk like those people in a concentration camp, orderly and without causing suspicion from the Authorities.
We start to get closer to the place but is kind of disheartening, is still four blocks away. Many people got there during the early hours of the day; that meant that we couldn't push no more into this gigantic Human Sardine.
We were able to see the big screen on times square though. Our first impression was the countdown from Paris and London. They were six hours ahead, and by 6 p.m. they were welcoming the new year ahead of us..but we were reminded by the Toshiba screen and the big digital count down. Sort of warming up for this Super Bowl.
Issues that you wouldn't imagine arose on time: Once you are in!, you won't come out. So what about restrooms? None. How did the ladies solve it? They made circles of their own and they would take turns, yep! kneeling down and take care of nature. What about food... was only 7pm? You either had a granola bar or you would have to wait. Lucky us that some Pizza places sent bus boys to offer slices from the street corners. Chinese restaurants would do the same. Handing out samples of sesame chicken or Lo-Min noodles. Business was business. Two weeks before, Madoff was caught with his stock exchange scheme scandal, Lehman Brothers came down next.
Temperature was dropping and only the emotion of being there and experience History in our own eyes, kept us standing our ground. Friends from Montreal told us that they just had driven that morning. Ladies from Italy took pictures from the buildings and themselves. Some others kept pushing to get closer. The good idea was to see Barricades every half a block, otherwise you would have been crushed...probably to death.
We wanted this experience to be over, since it was not fun at all. Five hours inside this bullring of people was enough for us. But we had no choice. The singers invited for the Show near the MTV headquarters were Miley Cyrus and Carry Underwood. The Jonas Brothers would join them as well. Since 2005 Ryan Seacrest co-hosted the Show, due to Dick Clark voice problems.
People and its wave of emotions started to shout and feeling the upcoming Iconical moment. We have seen the Countdown drom South Africa and Venezuela.....this time the clock was ticking for New York. The most cheering person were the ladies. Picture the famous kiss at that place from this army guy holding a nurse bent against his arm, and giving her the best kiss of her life. No! We didn't get any....we were just there to see what this was all about.
From the top of the buildings, residents and hotel crews, threw off shredded office paper on us. It felt like a live Concert. People from Japan, Eastern Europe were smiling and shouting with us and they knew it was coming....
The famous ball was way up high and started its undaunting drop. The TOSHIBA screen finally announced it : 10, 9 ,8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...... 2008!!
The emotion was unique and we cannot lie, we felt some kind of unforgettable joy. We thought, after all, was worth to experience the moment...Would we do it again? No thanks! This was like a one hit wonder meeting a blopper..! We would try the moon next time, you know?