Happy(ish) New Year

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Note: Feel free to skip to the end—a map of my first weekend out in the new year. The rest is mostly reflection on the decade. I feel particularly nostalgic right now.

I was going to do a list of things to do on NYE in the City. Doing lists of things / places / events makes me feel useful-ish and like I can post anecdotes that are probably only funny to me as a side-along to the main event––NYC ATTRACTIONS. Because clearly, where I live is the most interesting thing about me. But I kind of hate New Year’s in New York. It’s overblown and way too crowded. My best New Year’s Eve memories are mostly centered in the middle of nowhere, Vermont or Connecticut. In Vermont, I’ve passed out at 8:30 (teenage me was an idiot) and watched my friends (1) pee in a litter box (2) fall into the bathtub, tear down the shower curtain and become stuck like a flipped over bug (3) spill a huge amount of tattoo ink on the kitchen floor, not getting the security deposit back as a result. Also that one year with the mashed potatoes all over the wall.

New Year’s in Connecticut with my family usually involves poetry readings and charades (wild). I’ve spent two NYEs in New York. One in my Brighton beach apartment, five feet from the sand. Most frequently recalled moment of the night was when I lost at a game of Quarters (which if you’re unfamiliar is a drinking game that involves trying to flip a quarter into a shot glass…last one to get it in takes the shot, but it’s important to remember to take the quarters out before doing so). I did not remember to remove the quarters from the shot glass, almost swallowed them, then spit whiskey all over my kitchen and my friends. That was a really good night, honestly. 

But my one NYE spent in Manhattan was a disaster, which is why I am mostly making this post about me and not New York because I don’t like New Year’s in New York and I feel everyone should share my opinion. Some friends and I once tried to spend NYE in Times Square, but upon experiencing the crowd first hand and learning we could not bring food or drinks or use the bathroom all night, we went to a nearby bar full of douchebags, including a bartender who loudly admitted to being racist.

All in all, it was actually a decent night, but throughout the past decade my favorite New Year’s Eves have been far from the city. There’s obviously plenty to do here in New York. Buy tickets in advance for an event or open bar. If you have the money, book a hotel room overlooking Times Square way, way in advance. I don’t love making plans, but this is an occasion for which you have to plan or GTFO in your own best interest. All that said—next up is a possibly boring, self-indulgent review of my 2010s. Gotta do it.

So—in the past ten years, I’ve become a grown-up. My friends are getting married, I can rent a car without a hassle, and I know more or less what I want to do with my life. I still feel like a kid in a lot of ways, but the 2010s have left me very different than they found me. My memories of the 90s are obviously pretty blurry. The aughts were incredible because I had not actually experienced real life yet. But the past ten years have been my most important (if not my best) because this entire decade has been a process of becoming fully aware of myself, other people, and the ups and downs of life. More than anything, I’ve learned to accept and embrace the fact that the universe is constantly throwing curveballs, and weird shit is part of the human experience. I’ve met wonderful and horrible people, and have been a wonderful and horrible person myself. I have made very good and very bad decisions. Various outcomes. Lots of charged memories. Highlights include, not limited to—seeing the sun rise and set on the same day several times, driving around backroads in the boonies singing late at night, often ending up in questionable places, moving to the City, concerts (from Paul McCartney in Fenway park to tiny venues with a dozen people in the audience), the final Harry Potter movie, absolutely wild New Years Eves in Vermont, getting very meaningful tattoos, giving a stranger a totally meaningless tattoo, loud parties on rooftops, ONE SantaCon (oof), ten perfect Christmases, multiple hospital visits, paranormal experiences, finishing college with a major I could never use, wasting a bunch of money by going to grad school for a year then quitting, having made many trips to Seattle and LA using my student loans, adopting my two (demonic) furry sons, writing A LOT, countless beach days, hikes, starry nights, starless nights due to all the light pollution, boat rides, plane rides, looooonnng car trips with my father spent discussing politics and conspiracies and physics and aliens, reality TV, discovering my favorite music and books, holding onto my favorite people and getting rid of the bad ones, getting ordained through a ten minute online course to marry two of my friends who will forever be laughing at the fact that I got ordained and married them, watching my little sister grow up and find love and become a professor (she’ll be working on her PhD for another several years and is only allowed to teach Intro to Public Speaking but still), spending many days babysitting my incredibly emotionally mature little cousin who honestly taught me how to act like more of an adult and work through my anxiety in a productive way, on that note spending a whole lot of time with my big, crazy but also very…*reserved, dry, cerebral, New England, Irish* family, attempting to make sense of life through spirituality, being unsure of what I believe, losing fear of death and growing an all-consuming phobia of time, and spending thousands of dollars on Starbucks. On my list for 2020, get tattooed with words I have become obsessed with over the past several years—I AM HAUNTED BY HUMANS. Keep haunting me. And HAPPPPPPYYY NEWWWW YEEEAARRSS!!!!!

All done. Actually no, one more thing, reminisced about with my father when I called him just after midnight on NYE––I also have to mention my single favorite moment of the decade, which ranks above graduating college or moving to the City: Game of Thrones, Battle of the Bastards (S6E9)—Jon Snow beating the shit of Ramsay Bolton. That was the highlight of my life ages 15-25. I am not being hyperbolic.

My first worth mentioning outings in the city in 2020 were with my parents, who mostly like eating and walking. So, an obligatory few sentences about New York and not my life—we hopped around a lot. Did lunch at the Ox Tavern in Ditmas park (my neighborhood) which was very very good. Classic pub fare, slightly elevated. We went around 2:30 on a Saturday, and as most people living in this city know, brunch goes most of the day on weekends. Dinner that night was at Fonda; a kind of fancy, very delicious Mexican place in the East Village. Highly recommend the guac, which they are known for. Sunday morning brunch we went to Loosie’s Kitchen in Williamsburg. Vaguely southern, vaguely hipster, but very very good. This was my favorite meal I’ve had in a while (Nutella French toast). Now that they’ve left, back I go to a diet consisting mostly of fast food.

brunch at Loosie’s Kitchen