New Year’s Day has been by far the best day of 2012 and I’m finally ready to tell you about it. It all started in the early afternoon as Luis, a close friend of mine, and I met on the corner of 34th and 2nd to take the bus downtown. I remember I took my time getting ready that day, a habit I have picked up since. It was the first day of a new year, I wanted and I needed to feel different, so I took my time to tweak things here and there before heading out the door. As I exited the room, I even made sure to keep the pieces that were usually pulled off my outfit at that final cut.
Our adventure began slowly as we were gliding down to meet the delightful Sara. We roamed around for a bit until we arrived to CeciCela to recount the New Year’s bash we had all attended the night before. We decided to have desserts before eating and began to order. We pushed towards the back with our coffees and pastries in hand. Towards the end, we found a magical little table fit for three. Please note that we later got yelled at for skipping the line. Excusez-moi, monsieur! Sh*t, put up a sign or something, you know? Anyway, we had an excuse, you don’t. Ask the guy if you want to be seated.
So as I was saying… we were delighting in our hangovers and discussing our resolutions when Fonz, the New Year’s party thrower, joined the pack. Now we were four. I felt so European while we sat there in the back. I had no next place or mindset to transition into, no diet to follow, and owned no worry that afternoon. My only concern was not burning my tongue when reaching for my latte.
We proceeded to make a list of random things that we wanted to do. Anything random, anything eye-opening… any idea that you would say and seek approval for was worth writing down. I think Sara and I focused on Luis’ reaction to things. The more confused he looked, the faster we wrote. Fonz, a master of random events, added light saber class and a basketball game. I don’t know, we just went with it. It made sense at the time.
This year was looking good.
I should mention that Luis got tangled up in a thrown out X-mas tree as we walked down Houston. He literally bumped into the trunk and then into the tip of the tree as he finished passing it, spinning him around angrily at the interruption. I don’t want you thinking the day was perfect. There were definitely bumps in the road.
As we wandered the streets of Soho, Fonz suggested that we take a look inside Billy Reid, a men’s clothing store located in the East Village. Its funny the feeling this place brought on. I seemed to be feeling quite impressionable that afternoon. The old wood and Americana style made me want to travel. The fancy coats and shirts made me crave luxury. And finally, the photography made me want to pull my snapshots out of my hard drive and run home to paste them on my wall. As we walked out, I was processing more of what the store made me feel than what my eyes had seen. These cravings were different. Everything felt attainable. Could it be? I carried those thoughts with me while we crossed over to Gemma for appetizers.
When we arrived at Gemma, we enjoyed some good conversation and indulged in all those breads and hors d’oeuvre that you avoid during the week. We were totally hooking up with carbs that night and spread butter all over the inevitable walk of shame that came with it. It was perfect. We’re still not sure if our socially awkward male waiter hit on one or both of the guys but we decided it didn’t matter. The story didn’t need a conclusion to be funny.
The city was getting darker but the changes in the light seemed irrelevant to us. After appetizers, we decided to visit Fonz’s apartment in Soho. On his coffee table lay a tiny guest book that he asked me to fill out. I don’t remember the state of mind I was in that day but I promise that I have shed traces of the girl who wrote in that notebook since then. Or maybe I haven’t. I’ll have to go back to find out.
Fonz thought it would be amusing to watch Portlandia. We’d had a random day so why not a random show? He was right. The combination of awkward scenes and Luis’ reaction to them made it all worth the laugh-less 30 minutes we gave up. Before leaving, we made sure to jot down the adult hide and seek game that had been featured on the show. If only to look as stupid as the characters did, it would be enough.
Sadly, Fonz had to attend a family dinner so we packed up our awkward faces and ventured back out into the night. It was around 7pm and we were starting to get hungry again.
Luis tripped over the same X-mas tree on our walk down. Like I said, we definitely encountered some mishaps that day but we mustered through it and kept marching.
I knew that my diet days were near so I begged the group to take me out for mussels and fries. My favorite place is closed on Sundays so we decided to finally have our first entree of the day at Ed’s Lobster Bar. Upon our arrival, we basically decided to order anything and everything that caught our eye. Honey, if you can’t indulge shamelessly on January 1st something is wrong.
Since then, we’ve all agreed that January 1st goes down as one of the best times that any of us can remember. Nothing we did seemed necessary but it was the very nothingness that seemed to matter. It was like crossing off the to do’s of a list that hadn’t been written. If your life was a country, on days like this you are a foreigner. You just roam the streets without recognizing the comfort zones and expectations that usually hang over your head. It’s like your memory is erased and the only thing that exists is the desire to create something new.
And create something new it did. Since then, I try to wander as often as possible. I plan “nothingness” on my calendar just in case. On most days nothing happens but I don’t mind. That’s what is so special about days like this, they kind of just pop up when everyone happens to be on the same page. You can’t expect or plan it. The city is the only one that knows when it’s time and if it’s ready to have you, it will invite you out to play.
I remember that day a lot and try to let go of worrying so much when I do. Is it possible January 1st is the only day of the year we can enjoy life this way? We’re so hungover with the past and so blank page excited about the future that our minds shut up for a second and the rest of our senses take over. All thoughts fall asleep as if your body is unaware the day has started or that it exists at all. Who knows. Either way, there is nothing I can do but I promise to write about it next time it falls into my lap.