Our Goal: Watch the "Ball Drop" in Times Square for the Millennium - LIVE!
New York Travel Blog› entry 54 of 116 › view all entries
Jenny and I stayed up late in Hawaii for New Year's Eve celebrations when we lived there in 1995-1999. On that fateful New Year's Eve, Jeff asked Jenny where we should celebrate the Millennium next year after we moved to Washington DC. Both of us said at the exact same time "Times Square"!!!! And a dream was born.....
Neither of us had ever been to New York City, let alone with the anticipated crowds on the streets for such a huge celebration. So, Jenny started calling hotels on 1 January 1999 to see what the availability would be for a hotel on Manhattan Island, New York City, NY for the week of the Millennium.
We decided on Best Western Seaport Inn overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall Street on Peck Slip near the New York Fish Market. It was a 3 block walk to the A-train subway which took us directly to Times Square. Their room rates were the same all year round including the Millennium weekend, which was less than $300 per night.
The goal was to "watch the ball drop in Times Square" but we did not have to be "in Times Square" to see it drop. People were already lining up in Times Square on the eve of 30 December as we conducted a reconnaissance mission the night prior to the big event. We found the USO at Penn Central Station just a few blocks away was going to be open for military members on the eve of the Millennium so we decided that would be our strategic staging point. Our strategy was to go to the USO around 3PM and stay warm for a couple of hours. We could eat and use the restroom for free before heading out into the 43-degree (F) temperatures.
About 5PM we ventured out onto the streets, based on the local TV coverage we saw at the USO showing how many blocks were already full of people.
After we devoured the delicious NY pizzas, we dare not drink anything because there was no access to bathrooms inside the barricades.
We saw the ball drop (I'll have to post video later which is much better than the pics!) and then the half hour of fireworks started. There were fireworks everywhere! There was fireworks as far uptown as Central Park we could see behind us! We were all screaming our heads off and everyone was friendly hugging and kissing each other.
Once the fireworks were over, we then focused our attention on bladder control again. Luckily, the two gay guys from England who got pizza with us, let us use their hotel room bathroom just 2 blocks away! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh. After a few drinks in the room and crowds of people dissipating except the the HARD CORE folks in Times Square proper, we decided to take the subway back to our hotel. What an experience of a lifetime!!!!! Too bad we can't do THAT again!