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Vince Vitrano: Not For Broadcast



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I just don't get the whole Times Square ball dropping thing.

I bet in 1907, watching an illuminated ball drop from an elevated position while precisely counting down the seconds to the new year was really something to see. A century later, I wonder how that's any sort of attraction. Nonetheless, half a million people will gather in Times Square tonight for this, the 100th anniversary of that historic first ball drop.

That latter fact alone is one of the primary reasons you can count me out. I got no interest in sharing space with 500 thousand people. Many of them will arrive early this evening, and just stand there for 8 hours, waiting for the ultimate anticlimax.

The first thing I think of when I see that many people is where/how do they go to the bathroom. Next thing I think, where/how do they get anything to eat? Next thing I think is what do they do to pass the time waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the highly scripted, schlocky program of whatever sort to begin. That's a recipe for insanity.

If you like it, or think you would, more power to you. I'm not saying they shouldn't do it. I'm just saying they'll forever do it without me.

There is the whole feeling, probably, that if you're in Times Square, you're kind of at the center of the earth in a significant moment. One of the joys of New Year's Eve is feeling connected to the rest of the world. At the same time, you look within yourself. You evaluate the year that was. You hope for the year to come. You ask God again how come you had twins.

Maybe that's just me.

My point is, I can do all that, comfortably, right here in Southeast Wisconsin. If you've got to take part in some sort of celebration, they do a pretty good job right in downtown Milwaukee. You've got room to move. There's ice skating and fire works at Red Arrow Park.

My parents did something with us kids that I'll always remember fondly. I shared recently the year that Christmas was canceled, so I guess I owe mom and dad a little positive press.

New Year's Eve was a special day for our family. We prepared a fancy meal on the good china. The old man popped for steaks and some fancy seafood... shrimp, and since my mom was allergic to that... she got crab legs. I remember going to the Empire Fish market off of Watertown Plank Rd. in Wauwatosa. My brother and I liked going because they had live lobster.

We all had a special dish to prepare. I was older so I actually got to use the oven or stove-top for preparation. I usually chose the bacon wrapped water chestnut as my delicacy.

My goofy brother often made Raggedy Ann salad. It was was some lettuce, and a peach, and some other garbage arranged to look like a doll. Cute, Nick.

We stayed in and had a great night as a family. There are tons of great family events throughout the City as well. Working for years as a reporter here, I got the sense that more and more people were making family choices for New Year's. 

God Bless the folks who are still out getting dressed up and blasted. If you've got the energy, the interest, and a ride home... have at it.

No matter what your plans... Happy New Year everyone.  



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