33 Comments
Dec 31, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

For me, NYE, has not been a big deal for the past many years. After too many attempts to party like it's 1999 on NYE, at gatherings of people I mostly did not know, replete with a pervasive sense of desperation and forced gaiety (i.e., joylessness)—and I actually did attend a 1999 NYE party...which, yes, was also dismal—I just decided to forego the whole thing. Instead, I prepare a fine meal, crack a half-bottle of sparkling wine, and sit out on the patio around the firepit (weather permitting, and this year it's definitely not, with waves of atmospheric-river rains here on the West Coast). Then I do some meditation practice and Buddhist rituals (gratitude for my relative good fortune, sending love and prayers to those less fortunate). If I'm still awake at midnight (less and less likely) I will toll a small bell 108 times (another Buddhist tradition) to disperse the "afflictions" (unhealthy mental states) and invite peace and joy for the coming year.

Expand full comment
author

That sounds lovely.

Expand full comment

My best NYE was 1982 into '83. I was 19. Having returned to NYC after spending Christmas in Baltimore, my friend Paul had me and our homegirls Lourdes, Camille and Michelle meet him in Rockefeller Center. From there we trooped to the center of Times Square to watch the ball drop. We bought our own champagne that we drank from the bottle. The laws were lax and there were no television crews filming pop music specials. Afterwards we journeyed to to infamous night spot Danceteria located at 30 West 21st Street. We got in without a problem and as soon as I saw a muscled guy dancing on a bar with a yellow boa constrictor around his neck I knew I'd found my people. At the end of the night we wound-up at S.G.S. Donuts on 23rd Street and 8th Avenue where we witnessed a knife fight between two drunk guys. We ran out before any blood was spilled.

Expand full comment
author

Wow. What a very NYC memory!

Expand full comment

One day I'll tell you about taking my mom to see Barry Manilow at Radio City Music Hall in the early aughts. LOL.

Expand full comment
author

Oh, wow. You might have to write that for Oldster...

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

I like to remember the NYE when my old dog was my date after two years of widowhood. I saved Steven Spielberg from a clinger-on who just wouldn’t stop talking his ear off: I just inched closer while holding my dog in my arms, giving SS the chance to say, “ooooh! Who’s this?” (Meaning my dog, not me, haha). And thus I had my best NYE date ever, plus he introduced me to Steven Spielberg.

Expand full comment
author

That's a good one!

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

I have my very childish diary entry from January 1, 1971:

Despite the fact that I felt like not going to Coney Island for Mark’s party, this New Year’s Eve was definitely the best one I have ever had. Gary picked me up and introduced me to his friend Joel, who’s a very nice guy. Then we drove to Shelli’s on Church and Kings Highway to pick her up. She was dressed in a maxi-skirt, and being a bit heavy, she looked good in it. We found a space in the Trump Village parking lot and were the first to arrive at Mark’s apartment. His parents were there, if unseen, so “no grass” was the rule, and I’m kind of glad about that. Mark’s 13-year-old brother Teddy was having a little party for his young friends in Mark’s bedroom. Soon the other guests started to arrive: Carl, who played the piano (badly) all evening; Mason came with Barry, a frizzy-haired freshman; Jerry, Leon, Elihu and Elayne arrived together; Elspeth brought her upstate friend Jessie; Allan arrived alone. Casey and his girlfriend came over later from a restaurant; Chuck, a former student government president from a few years back, came with a girl; Lou arrived late with his girl, Doreen; and Ray came with his girlfriend, known to Jerry and me as “The Bitch.” It was a wonderful party, with good food, good drinks (although I don’t touch the stuff), and good people. Shelli and I talked a lot and went into Mark’s brother’s bedroom and talked with the lights out as we looked out over Coney Island just as snow started falling. Shelli’s a mixed-up kid, scared like most of us. I found her attractive, and while talking, we did some caressing, which I started really getting into. I was surprised how easily I could get an erection with a girl. Just before midnight, Elspeth started knocking on the door that we had to come back out or we’d miss the countdown. When Shelli and I walked into the living room holding hands, everybody probably came to the same conclusion. We watched that funny old Ben Grauer at Times Square and heard the sounds of “Auld Lang Syne” from Guy Lombardo. No one at the party got drunk, although Mason polished off a bottle of port and kissed me when I left. Elihu played the piano much better than Charles, and Mark and Gary took turns playing the accordion. I talked to Leon about the movie he’s making and about movies in general. Gary and Shelli found some of Mark’s old issues of Kingsman and the Spigot. Elspeth and Joel were dancing (I cut in). Some people, including Shelli, decided they were going to sleep over at Elspeth’s; others went to Jerry’s apartment for the rest of the night; and Gary, Joel and I came back to our house for some tea and quiet conversation. When Gary and Joel left at 4 AM, the bad weather was just beginning. The snow was really coming down furiously. After a short sleep, I awoke to find a deep snow and it continued snowing fiercely throughout the day, getting deeper and reaching an eight-inch accumulation. At 5:30 PM, I called Shelli, waking out her out of a sound sleep. She said she got home around noon today after sleeping over at Elspeth’s, so we didn’t talk long. But later she called me back. Shelli asked if I want to go to the James Taylor concert at the Fillmore East with her, that she had to know now because Elspeth was going to buy the tickets tomorrow. I said yes.

Expand full comment
author

Omg, amazing that you recorded this and still have it!

Expand full comment

I’ve always disliked NYE . I’ve always felt it should be more introspective and ritualistic. So I’ve had many NYE’s like that. But a few years ago we were in Mexico with friends and ended up starting a dance party in the street and that was pure joy. I’d forgotten the ecstasy of dance. This year my husband and I are taking my mom out to a movie and a drive after to look at the lights. My mom will be 84 but she still wants to do something. She believes in celebrating every holiday as much as you can ,so I’ve put aside my overwhelmed introspective side . A movie is a fine compromise. Happy new year! The oldster has been a great addition to 2022! Thank you.

Expand full comment
author

That sounds lovely. And thank you for the kind words about Oldster!

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

I'm hoping it will be this one because for me they have always, without fail, been a disappointment.

Expand full comment
author

I hope so for you, too!

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

Thanks! But I will not be holding my breath...

Expand full comment
author

Wise, to be honest...

Expand full comment

It was always an all-night party of board games and cards when I was growing up with family friends. Now I have seven kids and we have our own safe night in every year doing the same.

Expand full comment
author

Sounds divine.

Expand full comment

Bruce! At the Nassau Coliseum!! This gave me all the feels. I never had very many NYE experiences. One memorable one was running around NYC with my friend Lisa close to midnight, desperate to be “somewhere” at midnight. We were maybe 20? Ended up in some fern bar and narrowly avoided being kissed by creepy strangers!

Expand full comment
author

Oh, those 20something nights in NYC...I totally relate.

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

In 1987, I spent NYE in London. It was four days before my 31st birthday and one month before I moved from Pennsylvania to start a new life somewhere that I had never been before and where I knew no one - California. I sat alone in my flatlet in Eccleston Square, while someone on the other side of the Square stood on their balcony and played a saxophone to ring in the New Year. I was full of excitement as I anticipated my bright new future. 35 years later, I sit alone in my apartment in Sacramento, listening to a Grateful Dead CD, once again anticipating what the New Year will bring...and glad that I am still here and still filled with wonder and hope.

Expand full comment

My son was born in Sweden on Christmas Day, 1971. Needless to say, I wasn't partying on New Year's Eve that year. I was home in Hagalund, north of Stockholm, watching "Yellow Submarine" and staring incredulously at my very own Christmas miracle.

Expand full comment
author

Lovely.

Expand full comment

It was the 1970's, and I think this was when my friend, Ellen and I went to see some movie in midtown Manhattan. It might have been "Casablanca," and it might have been another Bogart movie...double feature? We'd met up with my family in Chinatown. I remember having a great time. It's possible we smoked a joint--again, a long time ago and I'm not even sure I journaled about it--as I often did. But we were taking the subway uptown, and when the doors opened at Times Square, all of a sudden our eyes began tearing and itching. It was bizarre. And frightening. Who had released itching powder into our subway car?! Anyway, it was great after we recovered too, and got to the movies.

Expand full comment
author

Love it.

Expand full comment

WOW! Bruce, The River Tour, on New Year's Eve!!! I did see him on The River Tour, but it was summer at The Spectrum. I went with my best friend and after the four hours of concert, the entire parking lot just stayed, we all talked, laughed, someone shared warm beer with us and as we actually sat on the hood of her (my best friend's) car it started to "soft summer rain". A CLASSIC Bruce moment. So glad you had yours too. Happy New Year and thank you for your story. I could picture every moment of it with your description.

Expand full comment
author

I love this memory. Thanks for sharing it.

Expand full comment
Jan 1, 2023·edited Jan 1, 2023Liked by Sari Botton

Happy New Year, Sari! So happy to have met you and discovered Oldster this past year. My first concert I went with my friend Amina Petty to see DeBarge open for Luther VanDross at the Capital Center outside D.C., 1984. We literally had no idea who Luther was. We just loved DeBarge.

When DeBarge came on stage we rushed to our feet and started screaming and hollering. Me, perhaps the whitest girl ever, and my light-skinned, also 12-year-old friend the only ones standing and making a racket in a stadium full of Black women. The woman in front of us turned and stared holes through me. “Sit your ass down. The main show ain’t even come on the stage yet.”

We sat our asses down. And then Luther came out in a pristine, three-piece, snow white suit, dark and heavy and singing like nothing I’d ever heard. Damn, could he sing! His back-up singers were in gold lame and sequins, dark-skinned and big-haired. There was a lacquered white grand piano and a Black ballerina in a gold tutu pirouetting on top and all I could think was, “Oh, Amina! I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

Expand full comment
author

What a great memory! So glad to have connected with you and your work this year, Asha! 💕

Expand full comment

Your concert memories took me back, the Boss and Jackson Browne! My first was Kansas...remember them?

Good to see Ticketmaster’s still killing it

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

We have an old friend coming over for dinner, and at the last minute I invited another old friend, who's been having a hard time of it emotionally...she has bailed on every invitation this year but I think we may have snagged her. Hope so. I am pretty sure I'll fall asleep before midnight.

Should I have a cappuccino at 6:10 pm? MAYBE!

Best NY Eve was my senior year of college. My roommates were gone, everyone I knew was gone, why the hell was I there? But Todd Rundgren was playing at the Park West. I'd seen the show the night before, couldn't afford to go again, but I stood outside the stage door, could hear everything, and sang along to the frigid Chicago evening.

Expand full comment
Dec 31, 2022Liked by Sari Botton

Happy new year, Sari and Oldster!

Expand full comment
author

Happy New Year, my friend! <3

Expand full comment