Your New Year's Eve Survival Guide

The end of days never came, and I have to admit I was really looking forward to it. I’m sure people in Tea Party country are disappointed, too, but they don’t answer my letters so I can’t tell you where they stand on the matter. What I can tell you is that I’d never been more prepared for anything in my life.

I started stockpiling ammunition and magazines after a string of phone calls from debt collectors disguised as family members. Throw in a few natural disasters, the creation of the first synthetic genome, and talk of banning menthol cigarettes and—BANG!—I figured it was best to hide in some dark place and wait it out.

The moment I heard that Christine O’Donnell was giving serious consideration to a spot on Dancing With the Stars from a friend in Butte, Montana, over my CB radio, I decided it was OK to emerge from my bomb shelter in Hell’s Kitchen and celebrate the coming year with the rest of humanity. After taking a moment to witness my first sunset in six months, I got to work writing this guide for all of you out there who need some help getting around town this New Year’s Eve.

From left to right: Nate Bargatze, Vince August, Kurt Metzger, Michael Vecchione, James Smith, and Harrison Greenbaum, all appearing at Carolines
Christopher Farber
From left to right: Nate Bargatze, Vince August, Kurt Metzger, Michael Vecchione, James Smith, and Harrison Greenbaum, all appearing at Carolines

If this is your first time in the Big Apple, consider yourself in luck and a little bit blessed to have come across this. New Year’s Eve in New York can be a real motherfucker if you don’t know what you’re doing. For those of you in the know, welcome back. Didn’t we have fun last year?

The granddaddy of all downtown mega-parties is still at Webster Hall this year. Their 100,000-balloon drop at midnight should be rated one of the awesome wonders of the brave new world to come. Swimming in a sea of revelry while New Year’s cheer rains down on you from above is a feeling that borders on the ecstatic if you’re partying with the right people—and this place is brimming with them.

Across town at Terminal 5, the Drive-By Truckers bring some down-and-dirty, Southern-style lovin’ to our magnificent city-state on behalf of our like-minded and economically beleaguered red state brethren. If you just can’t get enough, Gogol Bordello will hoist their trans-continental gypsy pride flag there on the first day of 2011.

For those who refuse to pay a king’s ransom for the privilege of dancing to club music, the heads over at Beauty Bar on 14th always know how to have a great time and Santos’ Party House’s reOPENed party promises to be sick. Since you’re already in the Lower East Side, you may as well get a burger deluxe and whiskey-flavored gelato milkshake from the 24/7 Sugar Cafébefore heading down to Mehanata to catch Kangero play some awesome stuff you’ve never heard before.

Manhattan may be your ultimate destination, but don’t hop on the train just yet, because Brooklyn’s chockfull of good times, too. Stop by Second Chance Saloonand steel your resolve before heading out to catch Motor City soul legend’s Marva Whitney and Billy Prince of the Precisions at the Bell House. On our biggest night of the year, these two great performers have decided to grace us with their dignified presence and school us on some of the illustrious fundamentals of funk. The Roots will be holding court all night at Brooklyn Bowl, while the Butthole Surfers spread some New Year’s Weird around at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. Afterward, you can hit Union Poolon your way home and drunkenly devour a huge burrito before sleeping it off at your friend’s place.

If huge crowds and screaming masses set your teeth on edge, there are a couple of low-key watering holes, like Malachy’s, for adults who work hard and pay their dues peppered throughout these pages. There’s also a love letter to David Chang and more than a few suggestions for what you can do in lieu of a standard Friday night out.

The wonderful thing about living in the center of civilization is that there really is a little bit of everything here for anyone from anywhere. New York is the greatest city: Our buildings are living monuments that light up every night and illuminate the sky like a sacred flame tended by buxom virgin high priestesses on a mountaintop. Our women are tall and brimming with wit; our men are powerful and tougher than a Tibetan sherpa’s feet. We are a collection of the beautiful, the brilliant, the eclectic, and the strong, cobbled together onto long, narrow streets, moving the world in different directions every day. And, man, do we know how to party. Enjoy yourselves.

 
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