Not every Dec. 31 is about bubbly toasts. And that's a good thing. Here's a brief top-of-mind recollection of New Year's Eve overtones, by the decade:
I think I was lucky to stay up until midnight for one of these, perhaps 1969. I was sound asleep for the others.
I remember lots of snacks -- that was the focus. Ring Dings, Twinkies, Yankee Doodles, Drakes cupcakes. I spent most of these with Paul Brink, one of my best friends. In 1976, we dressed up like KISS and played air guitar to "KISS Alive." Paul was Ace Frehley and I was Paul Stanley. I think we sounded OK, despite missing the bass and drums.
Welcome to the working world. One year I had the midnight to 6 a.m. shift at WBPM-FM in Kingston. N.Y., which meant I had to take some responsibility while all my friends were out gallivanting. I remember a lot of house parties -- mainly Budweiser, Miller and, if the hosts charged an extra buck a head -- Michelob. One year we camped out at the Dragon Inn. It burned down a few years later. Another year we hung out at Taxis on Long Island. After moving to Boston, I worked nights as a sports writer/editor. Being the newbie, I got stuck with the New year's Eve shift. Sometimes I would get home just in time for midnight. Others, the ball dropped while I was driving home.
Why did I choose a career in journalism? More New Year's Eves in the office. But I think I got home before midnight for all of these except a few. On one that I missed, Christine rewound the clock and taped "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" so it felt like I didn't miss anything. The shrimp cocktails and sparking wine were exceptional. My first year working for AT&T Interchange, an online network before the explosion of the Web, I had to cover the 7 p.m.-3 a.m. shift. My colleague and I climbed to the roof of our Cambridge office at midnight and watched the fireworks over Boston Harbor. If I did make a party, it was always Sam Adams.
Hmm. Quiet evenings at home. Quality bottles of Pinot Noir. Sometimes staying awake for Dick Clark, sometimes not. In 2001, we spent New Year's Eve in Montreal. After an OK dinner in Old Montreal, we froze just waiting for a cab. Then we didn't realize that Montreal was a haven for teen-age drinking. And they were all in our Marriott. Lots of noise. All night. Quiet evenings at home suit me fine. In hindsight, these are the best New Year's Eves.