First off, let me tell you how boring New Years in Vancouver is. Well, at least when I was a kid. From my childhood memory, I still recall trying to drive to Downtown Vancouver Robson street to find a count down timer to countdown to 2009. Failing to do so, I found a bunch of people gathering on Burrard St. and Robson St., looking aimlessly at the Future Shop/Winners building – nothing fun really happened.
Here’s a photo I found on Facebook for the 2008 to 2009 count down in Vancouver. Very exciting – not. Only when I started screaming “Godzilla!” – when it started to become a little fun.
However, I’ve heard it has gotten better now, thanks to Team NYE, Karm & the VancityBuzz team. However, this year the weather in NYC was relatively warm compared to other years – so I decided to jump on an adventure and get down to the Big Apple and experience something that’s on many people’s bucket list. After all, it is one of my life goals to experience New Years countdowns through various cities across the world. So far, I’ve done – Vancouver, Toronto, Hong Kong, Taipei – and recently New York City. What’s next on the list includes – Tokyo, Melbourne, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing, and the other typical big cities – I guess.
Here’s what went down at New York City. I spent Christmas in Vancouver, and left Vancouver around midnight on 31st, I got to Montreal on the morning of the 31st and picked up my friend and drove down to New York. We crossed the borders fairly quick, however, and checked into our rooms around 7:00PM. We stayed at Staten Island, and by the time we took the Ferry across the New York City, it was around 8:00PM. Keep in mind, at this time, the immediate area of Times Square has been completely blocked off – as people already started waiting in the morning in Times Square for the highly-anticipated ball drop.
In order to get in the main Times Square area, we had to have a reason to pass the blocked off areas. We followed the crowd mostly, and incorporated a strategy to by-pass certain points. Restaurant registrations, and hotel room keys for specific hotels within the Times Square area would give you an automatic by-pass, which we learned quickly. The closest point we reached was the view from behind for the ball drop. While we couldn’t get a glimpse of the performance stage or the front, it was already full of anticipated people – because we did have a nice view of the ball drop.
We waited for four hours for the ball drop and it was pretty epic. I think the fireworks made the view magnifcant, and the crowd and atmosphere was also incredible. Overall, it’s worth it, but at some point during my four hour wait, I did question myself if it was really worth it. I mean, it’s just a ball drop, but look at the photos below. We dashed into the blocked-off main Times Square area to experience the after-math of the countdown.
What’s your favourite city for counting down to New Years? Which ones have you been and where would you like to go? Comment below.