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Twenty Ten

New Year's Eve is my favorite holiday. Plenty of people I know react to this holiday with some form of the following: Too much hype; Never as fun as I want it to be; That bar I rented in New York was actually triple booked, and I ended up celebrating the new year on the Williamsburg Bridge on my way to Brooklyn. Well, I liked having the ball drop when I was on the bridge. It is always as fun as I want it to be. And who uses the word "hype" anyway?

Here are some of the great things about New Year's Eve that are not true many other nights of the year:
  • You may sentimentally review the past with wild abandon;
  • You may look to the future with bright-eyed optimism;
  • You may walk around your apartment in a tiara even though you are not (and never have been) in a beauty pageant;
  • It is customary to kiss at the stroke of midnight; and
  • Champagne is the drink of choice - preferably with a swirl of Grand Marnier [thank you, Last Hurrah at the Parker House in Boston].
This year, of course, was a little different. My husband prepared a delicious dinner, and we opened one of our special bottles of wine. Even though the crowd for the night was reduced to a party of two, I like to think that we maintained a festive atmosphere. As a gift to ourselves, we were in bed by 9:30 pm.

About two and a half hours later, I woke up to two sounds. One was Baby. Presumably, Baby woke up because the second sound (set of sounds, really) was very loud and very unusual.

Pratt Institute is about three blocks from our apartment. Every year, on New Year's Eve, at midnight, the school's engineer plays the school's steam whistles. Even though this is the third year that I have celebrated New Year's Eve in my neighborhood, this is the first year that I noticed the volume, the duration, and the amazing sounds of the steam whistles. What do steam whistles sound like? Well, they sound like a cross between a train whistle and a whale giving birth. (I have heard whales giving birth, and I believe wholeheartedly that I am providing an accurate description.)

Perhaps more impressive than the sound of the steam whistles was the fact that Baby lulled himself back to sleep after a bottle even while the whistles continued to blow.  And so, New Year's Eve remains my favorite holiday of the year.

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