What the hell do you even do for New Year's in NYC?
December 20, 2012 5:34 PM   Subscribe

What the hell are you supposed to do on New Year's in New York?

I didn't do anything for New Year's last year. Nobody invited me anywhere, and I ended up lying and saying I was sick to disguise that fact. I can't use that lie two years in a row, but nobody's invited me anywhere this year either. I've always wanted to live the life of being invited to multiple holiday parties, but people I know can't even be bothered to invite me anywhere on non-holidays (Right now, as I type this, they're hanging out without me, and it apparently goes completely over their heads that I can drop endless hints about wanting to leave the house, wanting to actually see people, etc. Of course I can't bring it up directly, that never works either.)

So assuming I have to go somewhere alone, what is the least douchey option? I don't know how to navigate this. I wish I could go somewhere with friends or at least with company, but that isn't an option. My options are to find someplace to go or to stay at home depressed again.

And for fuck's sake, nobody say Times Square. I hate Times Square. I assume this should be a given, but you never know.
posted by dekathelon to Society & Culture (31 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You know, you can just lie and tell whoever asks that you celebrated at a friend's apartment.

Everyone's going to tell you to do the midnight run in Central Park with NYRR.

Maybe therapy for the problems with your friends? Or get new friends?
posted by valeries at 5:38 PM on December 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

Hard to tell from your question if your friends are really mean jerks who don't like you, or if you're like me and just sort of assume that people don't want to hang out with you. If it's the latter (and maybe assume it is for a little bit until you have good reason to believe otherwise), you can say to some of your friends, "HEY! I still don't know what I'm doing for New Year's. Wanna spend it together? What are your plans?"
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 5:41 PM on December 20, 2012 [13 favorites]

Stay local to your neighborhood if possible (or withing a good walk). Do not count on cabs for public transport that evening. Yes, it does exist, but it can be a super pain to obtain. If you do that, it will narrow your choices though.

What general part of NYC are you in?
posted by lampshade at 5:44 PM on December 20, 2012

NYE parties are almost always terrible, in the way of all obligatory social events. Civilized people go out to a nice restaurant in a group of between two and six. New York, for all its social inconveniences, is full of nice restaurants.
posted by escabeche at 5:45 PM on December 20, 2012 [4 favorites]

Local bars have parties on NYE. Go to one of those - just avoid times sq.

There is nothing wrong with saying you don't have plans yet if someone asks you before - they may be looking for a pretext to invite you.

Also nothing wrong with saying you ordered takeout and watched the ball drop on TV.
posted by bunderful at 5:49 PM on December 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

There are some good shows that night--I was thinking about going to see Blonde Redhead. Lots of different venues have New Years events. Start somewhere easy like Time Out.

Or see if any of your other friends are lacking plans and invite them over to your place to eat/drink/be merry.

Or don't do anything at all. I tend to stay in during NYE because it's such a clusterfuck in this city and often pretty anti-climactic. Stay home and write some resolutions about getting new friends or about having a better attitude around the ones you have.
posted by greta simone at 5:51 PM on December 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Why don't you stop dropping hints and instead be up front about wanting to hang out with your friends? Ask them, you know, "What are you doing on New Years Eve? I don't have plans." I mean, they're your friends. If they're jerky about that and avoid the subject or weasel out of it somehow, you need to make some new friends. You'll have all of 2013 to work on it.
posted by something something at 5:57 PM on December 20, 2012 [20 favorites]

Send out a blast email/text/facebook to your friends who haven't told you they have other plans. Ask if they want to get together for New Years to hang out at your place/go in to Times Square/have a nice dinner/go see [show].
posted by mskyle at 5:58 PM on December 20, 2012

Plans don't happen unless you're part of them. It's rare that plans are made and then random people are invited outside those planning the event, unless it's a big free-for-all party. Make yourself a part of them - "Hey, want to play Phase 10 on New Year's until we pass out at 9:30pm?" - "I'd love to but we're planning on laughing at tourists around McSorely's, want to come?"

Done. If they respond in any other way, cross them off and repeat with someone else.
posted by kcm at 6:11 PM on December 20, 2012 [4 favorites]

We took a midnight walking tour one NYE but it was fucking cold walking around even though the tour guide was really good, so maybe not that.

If your friends don't want to hang with you (and if so, why are they your friends? GET NEW FRIENDS), then a local bar is not a bad place to go, drink a few, see a local band, maybe meet someone maybe not. The drinks will be jacked up in price of course, but budget for that.
posted by emjaybee at 6:12 PM on December 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

Organize a metafilter Meetup and start making some new friends!
posted by arnicae at 6:14 PM on December 20, 2012

Here's the thing, just because it's NYE's it doesn't mean that you HAVE to do something. So, while the idea of heading to a quiet bar sounds great, try not to be down if you end up hanging out at your place for the night.

If someone asks you what you did, then you could always reply with "My night was pretty low key, but it was fun. I basically just chilled at my place and _____. What did you end up doing?"

This answer is positive because you don't express negativity or talk badly about yourself or your social life. You also take the time to ask the person what they did.

With the millions of people in NYE, there's bound to be at least 1 million people (if not more) that spend the night on their own. It's not like you'll be walking around with a name tag that says "loser" or "loner" just because you stayed at home for NYE.

I say this as someone that doesn't have plans for NYE since I have the 25th/26th of December off instead of the 31st/1st of December and January off. But, I still have a good time because I stream live events at my place, drink, eat food that I normally don't have during any other time of the year, and think a lot about the year that just passed and the year ahead. It's become a tradition and I like it.
posted by livinglearning at 6:21 PM on December 20, 2012 [7 favorites]

Crash a party and make new friends cause yours sound like kinda dicks.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:35 PM on December 20, 2012 [4 favorites]

Just go out and have fun. Whether that means going out to a bar or making some good food at home. I can't imagine making yourself miserable on NYE.
posted by signondiego at 7:00 PM on December 20, 2012

Almost everyone hates NYE. It's a stupidly disappointing holiday if you expect it to be anything but another night. Go to sleep early. That is what I will be doing, and I'm only 40% douche. (That is a joke).

Also consider being screened for Asperger's. It presents in the kind of black and white thinking and social issues you discuss here.

It seems like you ask metafilter a lot but never acknowledge that you're getting any benefit from it. It doesn't seem helpful for you at all. If you want confirmation that your life sucks or you want to prove to yourself that you are singularly fucked (which I very much doubt, seeing as you have a warm place to sleep tonight) then there might be more efficient ways than asking us questions and ignoring all of our advice.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:08 PM on December 20, 2012 [11 favorites]

Amanda Palmer and her band are planning to play Purple Rain, the album, in full and it looks like tickets are still available. That's what I'd do.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:08 PM on December 20, 2012 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: I don't want confirmation that my life sucks. My life provides plenty of that. I want practical, actionable advice.
posted by dekathelon at 7:28 PM on December 20, 2012

Start fresh and meet people who don't know you. Odds are you'll have a better time talking to random strangers you meet by throwing darts at a map than you would with your current "friends". Any thing you might vaguely enjoy will do, so long as it gives you the opportunity to be social! For instance, something musical as mentioned above?
posted by StrikeTheViol at 7:41 PM on December 20, 2012

Okay, my actionable advice is to talk to your therapist about agoraphobia. Some people with agoraphobia are only able to leave the house when in the company of other people or when meeting other people, and as you keep saying that people won't "let" you go out, that might be something to consider.

I also suggested that you stay home and try to change how you look at it because many, many people stay home. It doesn't have to be about self-loathing and/or victimhood, it can just be a thing where you stay home.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:56 PM on December 20, 2012 [7 favorites]

Central Park fireworks. You can go alone and surrounded by friends.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:58 PM on December 20, 2012

When I lived in the city, NYE sucked. Either some ridiculous party was being thrown by a friend of a friend or my friends were going to some club that was going to cost $250 for all the cold shitty appetizers you could grab before the other folks grabbed them and a free champagne toast at midnight or I was alone.

I decided to take matters into my own hands one year. I found a friend (female, but not really relevant) who also was bitching about what a bad time she had on NYE and suggested we do something together (as friends). Her idea which turned out great was to get an early (9:00pm) chinese dinner at her local favorite chinese place and then just go for a walk. We walked all around the upper East and West sides that night. The people watching was the best I have ever seen. We ran into vague friends, talked to all sorts of drunks and other street types (jugglers, buskers, etc). It was a really terrific evening.

The next year, I went to some vague friend of a friend party that clearly sucked and it was only 10:00pm when I realized I did not want to be at this party at midnight much less much longer. Some guy from out of town who I had never met before who I later found out was 'shrooming his head off, looked at me and said, "You look like you think this sucks. Wanna do something about it?" I said, "What do you have in mind?" His reply was simple. "Free transit. Let's go to Times Square." Up until that moment, I would never have even considered going to TS if you paid me. Something about his out of town infectious attitude just made me say to myself, "Self, what the hell. If it sucks, you can leave and tell everyone you were at Times Square all night.

I know you said you hate TS and don't want that as a suggestion and this was pre-9/11 so it may not be as relevant, but I went with this crazy cat. We got off the train and within about 7 minutes I lost him to his world of make believe. I was by myself in this throng of people. Well I started talking to the folks around me. What an eclectic bunch. There was a family of 5 from Harlem that always wanted to see TS on NYE. There were two biker tough looking types who turned out to be the nicest guys who had ridden all the way from Memphis to be there. There were a few couples just trying to be romantic and enjoy the evening. There was one sort of hippy type who kept asking everyone to close their eyes and think mellow thoughts. There was a couple from Poland that barely spoke any English but kept raising their drinks shouting Happy New Year and Yeah America. There were two cops sort of stationed near us who were as polite and helpful and low key as you could ever find a NYC cop.

Joints were passed, six packs were shared, candy and food passed around etc. The biker dudes were sort of territorial and acting tough with drunks pushing and messing with our little gang of about 15. When the young twins from Harlem kept telling their mom they could not see, each biker picked up a kid and put them on their shoulders. Two long bearded tatoo wearing bikers with a rebel flag as part of the club insignia on their back with two 9 year old black children on their shoulders so they could see and so the mom could tend to the fidgity 5 year old. Quite the sight. It was probably the best NYE I ever spent and I hate crowds, I hate the cold and I hate closed in spaces, but the spirit of most attendees was truly uplifting.

(The only real issue was urination. Once you left your spot, the chances of making your way back were very slim. For the guys, the solutions were what a long distance trucker might do. Empty bottles. Not much for the ladies.)

My point or two suggestions boil down to find a friend, have dinner and go for a long wandering people watching walk around the city, or suspend all your preconceived notions and head to Times Square.

Or, come up with another excuse to stay home.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:07 PM on December 20, 2012 [26 favorites]

Church of St. Paul, 60th & Columbus, 7 pm. The New York Festival Singers will perform selections of Handel and Bach, and the NY Repertory Orchestra will play. Come up and say hi to Jim in the tenor section.
posted by JimN2TAW at 10:36 PM on December 20, 2012 [11 favorites]

What do *I* do on NYE in NYC? Usually have 2-4 friends over, have a quiet night talking with some nice food and a bottle of wine. Turn on the television just before midnight. Kiss my friends, say good night and go to bed.
posted by gaspode at 7:11 AM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

For what it's worth, I don't have any plans for New Year's Eve and I don't see that as confirmation that my life sucks. I'm probably going to have a quiet night in, alone, with a bottle of wine and a good book, maybe some takeout. I'll go to bed early and maybe go for a hike on New Year's Day if it's nice out. Maybe something more exciting will come up but I'm not fussed either way. Most of the people I know where I live are going to be out of town, and I don't want to spend NYE hanging out with friends out of town and then have to drive hours home hungover and/or exhausted on New Year's Day.

Do you have any musician friends who are performing on NYE? You don't even have to be good friends, they don't have to invite you or anything, you can just show up at whatever bar they're playing at and pay the cover. Then you can say "Oh, I went to see [X]'s band on NYE." Actually this even works with friends-of-friends "I went to see [X]'s friend [Y]'s band, they were pretty awesome [or terrible]!"

But basically, if you want to do something, start something; if you don't want to do anything, own it! Just don't do anything! Who gives a shit!
posted by mskyle at 8:12 AM on December 21, 2012

Why isn't initiating something on your list?

Try meetup.com? Or volunteer at a shelter somewhere.

FWIW, you sound really socially passive aggressive. I know people like that, and I never invite them to my parties, because they're huge leeches and a real drag to have around, and nothing I do is ever enough for them.
posted by rosa at 9:03 AM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

There always seems to be a collection of empty champagne bottles on New Year's Day out on Brooklyn Bridge. Seemed like a nice not-Times-Square, not-lame-club option to me.

Or the Central Park option said above.

FWIW, when people ask me, and I say that I stayed at home in the tub for a couple hours, and then watched Casino like I do every holidays, people get jealous.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:16 AM on December 21, 2012

I don't live in New York City, but every time I am there on a Friday night, I will typically hang out at a certain bar with live music in the LES because I like the band who plays on that night, and they serve a certain drink I can't find elsewhere. If I'm in NYC on New Year's Eve, that is where I will end up going, because they have a special New Year's event. And no one in NYC has asked me to do anything with them, either, and, as I said, I don't even live there, but I have definite plans for what I will do that night if I'm in town. So you have plenty of options.
posted by deanc at 10:21 AM on December 21, 2012

I live in NYC, and I skipped NYE once. I was invited to a party but didn't want to go (I always hated the parties at this particular person's apartment) and just stayed in and ordered a pizza and watched a movie. I was sort of dreading it at first, but I actually enjoyed it. If people asked what I did, I told them, honestly, and no one thought less of me for it.

Another time I didn't know what the hell to do and ended up calling a few friends at the last minute and organized a poker night. It was just four of us, a deck of cards, and bottle of whiskey. It was fun. Another time I just stayed home with my girlfriend at the time and made dinner, which was also fun.

I dislike going to bars on NYE, and I hate those organized parties that seem to proliferate that night (you know, the ones with a cover charge and some band or performance group you've never heard of). An actual concert with a band that you know and like could be fun, however - you should look into that.

Personally, I see no reason why you can't speak up and ask your friends what they're doing. So, here's my actionable advice: ask your friends what they're up to, or find a concert. If those don't work, stay home, get some good take-out, and find a couple of good movies to watch. If you don't go into it thinking "God, I'm such a loser," you might actually enjoy yourself. You certainly don't have to lie about it.
posted by breakin' the law at 10:31 AM on December 21, 2012

New Year's Eve is a compulsory fun evening, and as such usually is no fun at all. You don't have to be depressed just because you're home alone. Good food, good book or movie or just putzing around on the Internet, in bed by a reasonable hour -- sounds pleasant to me.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:50 PM on December 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

> Of course I can't bring it up directly, that never works either

Then you're either bringing it up wrong or your friends are not really your friends.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:51 PM on December 21, 2012

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