Same Millennium Story, Different Millennium Day! LIVE from NYC Times Square!

New York Travel Blog

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Watching the "ball drop" in Times Square for the Millennium with 2.5 million of our closest friends!!! Followed by fireworks galore....

Jenny and I stayed up late in Hawaii for the 1998 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.

Watching the "ball drop" in Times Square for the Millennium with 2.5 million of our closest friends!!! Followed by fireworks galore....
  By the end of New Year's Day, she had called over 60 hotels.  We narrowed it down to 5-6 possibilities.  Some hotels she called did not have room availability yet and we were put on a waiting list.  Others said it would be $10,000 to rent a floor in the hotel, with a 6-night minimum!  Some of the other prices were just as outrageously high, usually requiring a 7-10 day minimum stay at $1,000-$3,000 per night.  Even other hotels in the city far from Times Square priced themselves at 3 times the normal room rate.

 

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.

Watching the "ball drop" in Times Square for the Millennium with 2.5 million of our closest friends!!! Followed by fireworks galore....
  Yes, the fish smell from the fish market was evident outside, but it was a room to crash in for the biggest party the world has ever seen!

 

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.

Watching the "ball drop" in Times Square for the Millennium with 2.5 million of our closest friends!!! Followed by fireworks galore....
  By 6PM we were in our nearest available block at W 53rd Street and 7th Avenue with a clear view of "the ball" in Times Square.  By about 7PM our block was "full" and the 300 police set up the barricades to prevent anyone from going in or out from that point on.  By 10PM we were hungry so we threw pebbles at the door of a pizza place on the other side of the barricade that was open.  An angry NYC owner came out to yell at us, but when we explained that there are about 10,000 hungry customers outside his place that all would love to buy a pizza, he gladly took our order first, which we shared with 2 gay guys from England who flew to NYC for the Millennium Night on a last-minute whim and got a deal on the air and hotel package, just 2 blocks from Times Square (this detail will be key later in the story...)

 

After we devoured the delicious NY pizzas, we dare not drink anything because there was no access to bathrooms inside the barricades.

Watching the "ball drop" in Times Square for the Millennium with 2.5 million of our closest friends!!! Followed by fireworks galore....
  By 11PM, the crowd was getting excited, you could tell.  We could see activity on the jumbotron screens and see the different cultures celebrate every hour around the world until it was midnight in NYC.  Around 11:30 was the last of the foreign celebrations for Nova Scotia, Brazil, and a few Eastern Caribbean Islands.  Then it got really noisy, with "waves" of noise and clapping.  Then we could see the big signs and the final minute tick on by....

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1....Happy Millennium!!!!

 

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.

Watching the "ball drop" in Times Square for the Millennium with 2.5 million of our closest friends!!! Followed by fireworks galore....
  I later heard there were only 16 total arrests in NYC that night and only 2 were felonies!  I had to tell a couple guys in front of us to put away the marijuana, which amazingly they did right away since there were about 300 cops on the block.

 

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!

missandrea81 says:
That must have been amazing!! Wow! Glad you got to be there!
Posted on: May 27, 2008
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