Me first! Cities scramble to be first to party on New Year'sgreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
9/23/99 -- 5:15 AM
Me first! Cities scramble to be first to party on New Year's
BOSTON (AP) - If you happen to be in Boston or Los Angeles on New Year's Eve, you might want to check your watch before joining their millennium celebrations.
Neither city is going to wait until the clock strikes midnight to pop open the champagne - they're getting a jump on everyone else by starting their party hours before the year 2000 rolls around.
Los Angeles' $1 million taxpayer-funded extravaganza is to start around 7 p.m., or 10 p.m. in the Eastern time zone.
``It's complicated, because at 12 midnight, it's 3 a.m. in New York, so who's going to be watching our celebration?'' Mayor Richard Riordan reasoned. ``So we are trying to do it so we can start about 4 in the afternoon, so we can get some news coverage throughout the country, hour by hour.''
``It's the essential nature of a competitive society, to be numero uno,'' said Joseph Boskin, a cultural historian at Boston University.
It seems to be dawning on officials across the country that making this New Year's unique is worth a lot - be it for bluster or tourism dollars.
``There are all sorts of little controversies over who is first and who deserves the title of first,'' said David Kessler, executive administrator of the Center for Millennial Studies, which itself was well ahead of the millennial curve with its 1996 founding. ``Part of it is just the intuitive idea that the millennium is too perfect of a marketing ploy to pass up.''
Boston officials say they orchestrated their 7 p.m. fireworks for the first time this year so children might participate in revels usually well past their bedtimes. (There will still be midnight pyrotechnics for the purists.)
The evening fireworks also give people who are fearful of a Y2K cataclysm, such as computer meltdowns and electric surges, a chance to party and return home by midnight, organizers said Wednesday - 100 days before the big night.
Boston's early-bird celebration will coincide with midnight in Greenwich, England, which is the universally accepted standard of world time, Mayor Thomas Menino said. An enormous television screen on the Boston Common will broadcast the 60-second countdown from 6:59 p.m. live from England and other countries in the first time zone, including Iceland, the Ivory Coast and Portugal.
``It's not so much bragging rights as it is an opportunity for us to participate with the other countries and the world that will be celebrating at that moment,'' said Michael Taylor, president of Boston 2000, the nonprofit group in charge of millennial activities.
In truth, New Year's Day actually first begins at the international dateline in the Pacific Ocean, 12 hours before it reaches Greenwich. But fireworks at 7 a.m. over Boston Harbor just wouldn't have the same panache.
In Maine, the tiny town of Lubec believes it has the lock on the first place in America to see the sun rise each day. Folks' dander was raised when the U.S. Naval Observatory declared recently that the summit of Cadillac Mountain, just outside Bar Harbor, would be the first place in the country to see the dawn on Jan. 1.
After enough Lubec complaints, the Naval observatory refigured its calculations to find that sunlight on Jan. 1 will hit both Cadillac Mountain and Lubec's Porcupine Mountain at precisely the same time: 7:04 a.m.
In Las Vegas, some 750,000 partygoers are expected to come to town for New Year's Eve. The city only has 120,000 hotel rooms, and many of those are going for thousands of dollars a night.
Caesars Palace, for example, will be charging $2,000 a night, with a four-night minimum. Rooms usually are between $125 and $500.
-- Homer Beanfang (Bats@bellfry.com), September 23, 1999
i have a few questions: 1) are people really insane enough to TRY to get stuck in the middle of a dessert? 2)how often are scientific calculations changed to appease the population?! and 3) do the local governments think it will be easier to control people that have had 5 hours to drink???
-- sarah (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 23, 1999.
Sarah asked: 1) are people really insane enough to TRY to get stuck in the middle of a dessert?
Yes, traffic jams on holidays between California and Las Vegas routinely turn a 4 hour trip into 14+ hours.
3) do the local governments think it will be easier to control people that have had 5 hours to drink???
Las Vegas does it all of the time for New Year's Eve.
You should visit sometime....Las Vegas is a great place!
-- Lynn Ratcliffe (email@example.com), September 23, 1999.
I'd rather be stuck in a room full of Furbies. Guess I'm just a little ticked that I'll probably have to work that weekend...
-- Tim (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 23, 1999.
``There are all sorts of little controversies over who is first and who deserves the title of first,'' said David Kessler
No controversy...weeze first!;-)
-- matt (email@example.com), September 23, 1999.