Travel Disappointment: New Year’s Eve in Time Square

I try really hard to find the good in every place that I visit. Still, there are some place I’ve been, and experiences I’ve had which were just plain disappointing. The weekend in Prague where it never stopped raining, Saint Patrick’s day in Dublin (which involved absolutely no Irish people) and pretty much anytime I’ve ever spent in Baltimore for starters.

My most disappointing travel experience though was one that crops up on a lot of people’s bucket lists: New Year’s Eve in Times Square.

I’d wanted to participate ever since my grandmother told me she went as a twenty-something back in the 1930’s. I loved the idea of ringing in a new year in such a historic setting with thousands of other revilers. So I convinced my then boyfriend that we needed to ring in 2006 in just that fashion.

Here is what you have to look forward to if you choose to spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square

  • You will have to start queuing up for a spot at about 2pm, forcing you to be on your feet for 10-12 hours.
  • Even then you will still find yourself a good 8 blocks away from actual Times Square. The sparkly dropping ball, which is surprisingly small to begin with, will be a barely visible white dot on the horizon.
  • It will be really, ridiculously, painfully cold. The bright side of that is you will no longer be able to feel your aching feet.
  • You will feel this bone shaking cold despite being packed cheek to cheek with other disgruntled strangers.
  • You are not allowed to bring in alcohol. This will be a blessing in disguise actually, as there is nowhere you could even think about peeing.
  • The New Year’s countdown will last all of 10 seconds. The euphoria of the new year will be nothing matched to the euphoria you will feel at the fact that you can now go home. Of course it will take you another hour to pick your way out of the crowd and walk back to your overpriced hotel.

Can you see the New Year Ball here?

Needless to say it was NOT my favorite New Years. Still, 2006 would be the year I broke up with that boyfriend, found my independent self, studied abroad in England and discovered my love of travel.  So it wasn’t a total write off. Nonetheless I will be perfectly pleased never ever to repeat that touristic nightmare.

I spend a lot of time here talking about all the beautiful highlights of the world. While that is obviously important, for a change I’d like to talk about all of the experiences totally worth skipping.

So I want to know…

What has been your biggest travel disappointment?

This could be a place you visited that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, an event that fizzled or any travel experience that proved to be a letdown. Anytime that a place has dashed your hopes and hurt your soul.

Leave a comment or send your answers to Steph(@) and I will feature the best ones in a post next week!

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118 thoughts on “Travel Disappointment: New Year’s Eve in Time Square”

  1. I’ve been to Paris three times and honestly the last time I went I was ready to never go again. The city is beautiful but I feel like its so overrun with tourists that nothing is authentically French. They are also huge a**holes to you when they hear you speak English, despite that I can speak enough French to get around on it. I also have found the service to be less than desirable. And to boot, I had to deal with two bomb threats while there.
    I really can’t think of many places I’ve traveled where I am polite, trying to spend money, and learn about their culture and am treated rudely.

  2. I should not say this the worse but I was disappointed with India when I visited it the last time. I don’t know whether it was my high expectations or the strike there, my visit was not very fruitful. I stayed more than the expected date and budget went more than I had prepared for. But am planning to visit there once again for better experience.

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