Bright Lights, Big City

Anyone who is old enough to remember this movie from the 80’s will not be impressed by this blog title.  The movie may have been Michael J. Fox’s worst, and it was just a really depressing, gritty story about the sad reality for some who were living in this city in those days.  It *was* a great movie *title* though, and I can never help but smile when I hear it.  It conjures up wonderful images of one of my favorite cities to visit – none other than the Big Apple!

Since I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, there was no shortage of visits to NYC.  By the time I was a full-fledged adult, however, the trips became more sporadic.  And if you know Elliott, you’re probably not surprised that after I met him, the trips became reallllly spread out!  I’m working on him though.  I took him on a 2014 Thanksgiving trip to watch the Macy’s Parade and to show him there would be some things he’d like about New York, and I daresay it worked.  This return trip would surely show him even more of the positives.

The real reason for this trip, however, was one of my bucket list items – to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve from Times Square.  Yes, I know, it’s an insane thing to want to do and all of you readers are glad you didn’t get dragged into it.  All of my friends were uninterested.  I still wanted to do it – so badly that I was willing to do it totally on my own (and maybe make some cooler friends in the process).

I had researched all the possible places from which you can watch the ball drop, and deemed them all too expensive a year or two ago.  It was going to have to be in the street or nothing, I told Elliott.  He was committed to coming to New York, but very noncommittal about coming to Times Square to watch the ball drop.  We had some friends with whom we always spend New Year’s Eve that agreed to the coming-to-NY part and not to the watching-the-ball-drop-from-Times-Square part.

As the event grew closer, I prepared myself for the idea of going “alone.”  I researched all kinds of things from what time you need to line up to what you are allowed to bring to how to stay warm to what people do when they have to go to the bathroom (the NYPD does not let anyone out of the barricades to use the bathroom).  I looked into female urination devices after one of my friends showed me hers, and thought about using a device and a plastic bottle together to make urinating as convenient for me as it is for every man.  I even learned about crazy unadvertised services such as those who get paid to come collecting dirty diapers during the afternoon and evening.

So far, it was just Big City, and it was pretty depressing.  But the Bright Lights shone just a few months before the big night.  I never would have recognized it, as it was a neon sign that spelled Applebee’s.

20 but at least I'm not freezing for hours in the street

Neon sign spells out a clear sign!

Who would, really?  Honestly, I’m not even a big fan of Applebee’s these days.  But they made everything easy, if not economical, and suddenly Elliott and I had a plan!  Together!

This was the deal: Buy a ticket, get past the police barricades long after they are erected, and into the line at Applebee’s.

18 Partying it up at Applebee's

In line at Applebee’s after clearing the “police border”. Ready to party!

Enjoy endless music, food, drinks and dancing until 11:30pm.

And then, assuming NYPD cooperation, be let into the streets where everyone else has been freezing their butt off since 12pm!  It really was that simple in the end.


After we watched the ball drop, we walked in the sloooooow-moving mob for several blocks, thinking we could get all the way to 42nd St.  We did get to experience confetti falling on and all around us, but we did not make it all the way to where the ball drops.  The police know better; if they let people get to that spot, they’d be managing crowds all night long as *everyone* wants to get there!  Instead, they starting sending us out through the side streets.

Another bucket list item crossed off!  I was (am!) one happy girl.  Yeah, I paid too much for the Applebee’s thing, but this way I got to share it with my baby, and that made it all totally worth it. We did a bunch of other cool stuff during our five day stay in NYC:

55 Twelve hours later

Confetti is still falling the next morning!

We finally got to go inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral!  It was under renovation during our last trip.

Outside of St. Patrick's Cathedral

Outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Elliott got to take a turn as Atlas:

09 Its just like having a 9-5 job again

It’s just like having a 9-5 job again

We got to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller, a light show display set to music on a department store building, as well as other special window displays for the holidays…

We saw the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, starring none other than those famous Rockettes:

We took in our 1st NYC museum together at the Museum of Natural History…

127 Bronto burger, hold the meat

Bronto burger, hold the meat

We indulged in some local delicacies – 6 ounce gooey cookies at LeVain’s (so good we’ve already found copy-cat recipes and tried baking them at home), and a shopping trip to NYC’s famous Economy Candy, which appears to have every candy we remember from growing up.  (On the way we stopped at K-Mart and hit the jackpot when we found after-Christmas sale candy – gigantic Reeses Peanut Butter cups, normally $10, for $2.50!  If only we’d had more room in our backpacks…)

Last but not least, and on a very serious note as we ended our trip, we visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum.  Despite all the fun we were having, it was so important to us to do this and remember all of those who gave their lives that day.  Very moving, very intense, and something we plan to revisit next time we’re in the city.  There simply was not enough time to do it proper justice in one visit.






4 thoughts on “Bright Lights, Big City

  1. “Yes, I know, it’s an insane thing to want to do and all of you readers are glad you didn’t get dragged into it”

    Yes to both.

  2. Not sure where you crazy kids are right now, but if you are back in Ecuador, I hope you are safe and not affected by the big earthquake.

    David M. Leonard | Chief Technology Officer | 4R Systems, Inc. | Office: 610-644-1234 x203 | Mobile: 484-947-4786
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    • Hi Dave! Great to hear from you. We are in the States, leaving today for Egypt, and totally psyched. Luckily the quake was far from Cuenca so our home and friends are safe. Thanks!!!

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