The world is slated to be destroyed about 10 days from now by angry Mayan gods, so planning a night of hardcore partying and heavy drinking might seem a bit pointless this year. Maybe you should just start writing a list of regrets followed by a slew of apology letters to the people you hate and haven’t spoken to in years. Then you can abandon all of your possessions on a street corner and cap the whole thing off by setting your dog free to fend for himself, heading to Central Park, and staking out the tree that will become your tombstone.
Or you could embrace the notion that whatever created the cosmos digs humanity and wants nothing more than for you to celebrate your brief span in the heart of the greatest city ever—the city of us, the few who have been drawn from the four corners of the earth to show the rest of our species that, yes, it is possible to live together and build great things. This is the place where freedom of expression can quietly live up the street from ancient dogma. This is where a marvelous, glittering metropolis can weather the worst nature has to offer and still come together not only unbroken, but also undiminished. This is New York City.
New Year’s Eve is not just a time for celebration; it’s also a moment for the sort of reflection that we here in Gotham rarely allow ourselves, a night in which a man is allowed to unshoulder the burdens of his past and dream up new ways to cast them aside. Forget resolutions—in this town, it’s all about reinvention. This year, we will take to the streets to celebrate the passing of 2012 and welcome the promise of a new year brimming with possibilities.
If you’re riding the rails into town this December 31, leave the house early and tie a couple on at the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant. This subterranean touchstone keeps the traditions of our founders alive with trays of bivalves and beer ready at your beckoning. If seafood makes you cringe, head downtown and order a mound of empanadas while sharing a cigarette with the owner of Azul.
Thirsty? We’ve got you covered. The good people at East Williamsburg’s Second Chance Saloon are pouring cheap drinks into the wee hours of the morning. While you’re in the neighborhood, stop by The Acheron and check out the Hesher New Year’s Eve Party. If you’re looking to be in the thick of it while pregaming for the main event, the gents over at GYM in Hell’s Kitchen have a happy hour planned. If you don’t mind spending a buck or two on quality cocktails before hitting the streets, Summit Bar in Alphabet City has some of the most awe-inspiring drinks ever tasted.
After you’re nice and toasty, hail a cab and tell the driver to take you to Roseland Ballroom for some Pretty Lights. Or, if you prefer something a little more in-your-face, Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra will be taking the stage at Terminal 5. Is trance more your thing? We’ve got Armin van Buuren on the decks for four hours over at Pier 36. Once the ball has dropped and you’ve gotten your fix, head to the East Village and jostle the crowds occupying Webster Hall for Tommy Trash‘s epic show.
Don’t stop yet. You and your new friends still have a sick after-hours to make over at Santos Party House on Lafayette. And if you’re still going by sunrise (which you will be), just walk a few blocks and take the train to Coney Island for the Polar Bear Club‘s annual New Year’s Day Dip. The Atlantic Ocean might be bigger, but you are far meaner. Go forth, nightlife brethren, and let the world know that New York City’s lights are back on. Have a happy New Year’s.