Wring Out the Old

But Take It Easy on the Lamé

It's time for 8 million Gothamites to shake off the yoke of 2006's frustrations, stampede throughthe city streets, and booze in the finest hours of the year: the last ones. Who can blame them? Rumsfeld is out, and the morning-after pill is in. This is a night of fireworks-lit walks across the Brooklyn Bridge, open-bar bacchanalias, elegant five-course dinners with fillet and paté, or quiet Dom for two with a lovers' delight bucket of KFC.

A few of our suggestions:

Nouveau New Year
Why hello there, maverick. If life were a liquor store, you'd be Alizé. If you were a jam you'd be—wait for it—quince paste. A straightforward Old Year's Night just isn't for you. To welcome the New Year is to embrace the unpredictable, and luckily you're in a city that cares: Try sprinting a few miles through Central Park with the Road Runners Club, meditating for three hours and enjoying a satisfying cup of vegan chai, taking a bicycle party ride to Belvedere Castle, or bowling your way into 2007. The only irony of alt–New Year's is that there are so many alts to choose from.

Lamé, Not Lame
There is something about the magnitude of a New Year's Eve club extravaganza with hundreds of folks sporting their tuxes, party dresses, and lamé evening tops. Then there are the glories of the seven-hour open bar, and the club or restaurant transformed into a scene you thought only existed in the Land of Diddy. Hell, it's folks taking to the dancefloor without having to look behind their backs for that damn "No Dancing" sign. Every new New Yorker's first couple of years in the city should be celebrated with blockbuster, blowout galas like this; you have years to assume the stance of a cynical citizen and kill baby kittens in your dilapidated Bushwick hovel. For now, there is lamé.

Popping the Cork
Booking a hotel suite on New Year's is a three-in-one deal: party room, crash pad, and den of sweet daddy love. Invite the friends over and it's a mini-soiree with no cleanup; kick their asses out when it's time to get mano a mano with your gal, and presto, you're Brian McKnight with room service. Give it the extra splash of Drakkar.

The Dick Clark Close-Up
New Yorkers always slam watching the ball drop in Times Square with the worst insult they can possibly imagine: "It's . . . (sniff, sniff) . . . for tourists." But every time you turn on Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve, it looks like the best party you never attended. Tourists have more fun in this city than we do: Look, there's 64-year-old Ethel Green of Clark Fork, Idaho, sucking down Champale through a funnel. Over there's a group of 16-year-old girls waving phallic red balloons. Check out those middle-aged tubby dudes, leaping in the confetti. If anyone should be laying waste to the heart of the city, it should be you, native New Yorker.

Cool in Your Code
Old Year's Night is a time to make merry, let love rule, and share in the warm placenta glow of good friends and good company— until the party lets out and you'll cut a bitch for a cab. A friend of mine actually believes the best way to enjoy the night is to stick to your bosom borough and avoid going into Manhattan. The payoff is priceless once the night ends and you don't have to flash titties for a trip across the Queensboro Bridge. The boroughs do provide reliably cheap drinks at your friendly neighborhood watering holes, massive loft parties, and intimate house gatherings. Score an invite to an apartment that doesn't suck like yours and it's a night of living beyond your means. There's nothing like moving into 2007 with a little Moochfest 2006. The booze is always free at Apartment Fancy, and the party snacks are a notch above: No bowl of Cheez Doodles or backup Beast in the fridge here. They've been replaced with gruyére, a doorman, and the Appliance Holy Trinity—washer, dryer, and dishwasher. It's like surfing through the Real Estate section with complimentary crudités.

The Greatest Love of All
The only caveat to spending New Year's alone is to temper the boozing, or by 3 a.m. you're in a dark place watching Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. That said, some of the best Old Year's Nights can be whiled away with your favorite person in the world: you. For some New Yorkers, the only true way to commemorate the passing of a year is to spend the last night of it in private reflection—to look upon what went wrong, what went right, and the hopes and fears of the year to come. Then there are some folks who could care less about the past or future; they just want to get wasted all by themselves. A wise woman once said, "Solitude is the richness of self," and—let's face it—some of us are just richer than others. I've decided to spend this time examining my new belly button mole.

 
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