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Tuesday, January 01, 2013

I Am Hereby Resolved . . .

. . . TO MAKE NO PROMISES even in this, at best, semi-public place. I mean, why show the cards you're holding so early in the game?

Photo by B. A. Nilsson
My Ghosts of New Years Past are an odd assortment, ranging from a party to welcome the new decade of the 1970s (four high-school friends, an all-nighter, the very stupid idea of reheating pizza without removing it from the cardboard delivery box) to working a restaurant line (banging with serving spoons on the hanging pots at the stroke of midnight) to performing (and getting wondrously overpaid) at Albany's very first First Night, long since abandoned by that city -- to a night at home unsuccessfully trying to persuade my family to join me in listening to Berlioz's Requiem, a tradition once followed by Columbia University radio station WKCR.

My good friend and performing/writing partner Tom Savoy chose New Year's Eve for his nuptials, and one of my last public performances as a violinist took place as a member of the ceremony's orchestra, for which, I hope, he long since has forgiven me.

Manhattan's TV Channel 5 (WNEW) used to run Marx Brothers and/or Busby Berkeley movies on New Year's Eve, a fine precedent I've tried to observe when possible, presenting it as an alternative to the horrifically overhyped Times Square ball-drop ceremony, but it's tough to wean sentimentalists from tradition. For myself, I had long since resolved never to be part of that crowd.

So it was with complete astonishment that I joined the doughty Times Square throng last night. I've never wanted to do this, but was persuaded by my daughter, who was invited, thanks to her upcoming beauty pageant participation, to be part of the viewing area at 44th and 7th with members of the Wounded Warriors Project, who (understandably) like to surround themselves with attractive women.

She hustled her parents in as guests as well, and thus it was that at 7:45 PM (on the dot!) our group was police-escorted uptown from the headquarters at 31st and 8th, our yellow passes clearing us through the Times Square barricades until we were dumped in a cordoned-off area in front of the Bubba Gump restaurant.

Although the run-up to the ball-drop was mostly a matter of dodging the cold, I found the actual moment of calendar transit oddly moving, as a (literal) ton of confetti was dropped, fireworks shot through the skies, and Guy Lombardo's "Auld Lang Syne" pounded through the square -- followed by selections from Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. 

Having therefore ended the old year by breaking one long-standing resolution, I see no need to boast of any others.

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