I didn’t watch the ball drop. Unlike most of my twenties, I had plans with friends, thank goodness. For the second year in a row and what may be a new tradition, we caught a movie before moving on to the main event. Last year we watched “Into the Woods” before heading to the now closed Neely’s; this year “Daddy’s Home.” We didn’t watch a movie New Year’s Eve 2013, when we attended a Jill Scott concert at Radio City Music Hall. We met for dinner and drinks before, then walked over to the venue.
Our movie choices this year were limited because of the theater and times. We had a 9:30 pm reservation at Lips, a restaurant and bar with a drag queen servers and a drag queen show. I’d been there a few months back for a book club meeting and had a good time then, so I knew a New Year’s Eve show would be even better. I was not disappointed. This night the Drag Queens were performing for tips and walked between tables to collect their bills. I was on a tight budget and had not made change, so I was able to tip only one performer, but they all deserved to be well tipped. There was lots of wig whipping, cartwheels, splits, sass and attitude. The best performer of the night was Empress who performed Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love,” complete with a fan set on high to make her wig blow in the wind Queen B style. Our waitress, All Beef Patty, was also exceptional. She was a finalist on America’s Got Talent and sang instead of lip synced her performance.
My friends and I, four of us total, had a fabulous time. There was a prix fixe dinner (we all had the filet mignon, but different appetizers and desserts) and a champagne toast at midnight. Of course we had other drinks, including shots. All the drinks were weak. I didn’t get tipsy or a buzz. That’s saying a lot because I’m a known lightweight. Half a glass of red wine gives me the dizzies. But the drinks were good, and more importantly, I had a great time.
At the end of the night, I felt fine enough to take the subway instead of spending $40 on a cab ride back to Brooklyn. Being sober kept me cognizant of the budget I’ve been blowing through these past few weeks. The night before, I had seen The Color Purple on Broadway with a friend from grad school. The week before was Christmas. ‘Nuff said.
I know I’m getting older because I didn’t feel the least bit shy about wearing a flashing Happy New Year tiara on my head and a huge flashing plastic ring on my finger–both complementary of Lips. Not that I was the only one donning New Year’s garb on the subway. With my iPod set to shuffle, I unabashedly craned my neck from my seat to look at and even stare at my fellow passengers.
By the oversized foam hats, I could tell who came from the crowd gathered at Times Square. Women dressed nicely but wearing flats came from bar hopping. The people dressed really nicely probably came from house parties. I saw one man in a tuxedo. One girl’s body weight was supported by her friend who dragged her off the train at their stop. One guy was so tired he was bent over. He didn’t seem drunk because of his perfect balance, which is why I fought the temptation to give him my seat. One group of people brought a smile to my face. A mother with her teen children leaning and sleeping on each other to her right, while her own mother sat on her left. I was more than relieved when it was time for me to get off at my stop and escape the sounds of an air horn that a guy blasted as he was cheered on by another passenger.
I survived the holiday season. I spent a lot of money, gained some pounds, but also new memories. Another new year has rolled in. I hope it will be a great one. 2015 was good, just good. I’m a work in progress and constantly setting new goals for myself, none of which I wait to set or start at the beginning of a new year. I have plans and hopes that were set in motion a while back. I’m hoping I can achieve all or most of them as I come up with new ones in 2016.