Yeah, yeah, I know I’m probably going to Hell for finding this story so gut-bustingly hilarious.
Standing on your feet for hours during the freezing cold, not having a single sip of water because there’s no restroom to relieve yourself, and being crushed on all sides by strangers sounds hellish — but some 2 million people do it willingly every year.
Indeed, there are no port-a-potties, and local businesses turn away revelers in need, as Jeryl Lippe learned the hard way.
When the 22-year-old from Mahwah, NJ, hit Times Square with her boyfriend, Gabriel, four years ago, she smuggled in vodka in a water bottle. (Alcohol, along with large bags and umbrellas, is forbidden; plus, Lippe was underage.) She didn’t eat anything other than a breakfast bagel, and didn’t have her illicit drink until the end of the day. But, “by the time it was turning midnight, I had drunk a lot and was desperate to go to the bathroom,” said the junior social-media editor. “I tried to find someplace to go — hotels, restaurants,” she said, but she was denied.
One of the more unpleasant realities of life in NYC is that there are just about NO public toilets, male, female, or 37 Flavors Of Diverse Undecided. Other than the ones in the subway, that is, most of which aren’t exactly…welllll, let’s just say you’re way better off just pissing in the street. Which, late in the night after the bars have closed, is exactly what a lot of desperate folks, filled to the ears with booze and their back teeth afloat, end up doing.
Yes, me too. Plenty of times, in fact.
A telling aside: in Little Richard’s autobiography, he waxes rhapsodic about his days hanging out in the Times Square subway stop men’s room trolling for prospective blowjob recipients. It’s a testament to his encompassing kinkiness (legendary among older rock and rollers, by the way; Richard, bless his perverted little heart, was way beyond either gay or straight, long before anybody even thought of the term “omnisexual”) that it comes off as one of the tamer stories in the book.
It’s also as good a reason as anyone not within reach of Richard’s exalted level of buck-wild should ever need for resolving to stay out of the place at all costs. Perhaps even worse yet, that was back in the tamer, politer, and supposedly sexually-repressed (yeah, right) 50s. I very much doubt environmental conditions have improved in there since.
Alvarado recalled how one of his friends gave up and urinated in the street, adding, “I’ve heard stories of people who wear [adult] diapers.”
Yeah uh huh, no. I assure you most sincerely: NOT. It ain’t worth it. I have no intention of putting on adult diapers until I absolutely must, thank you very much. And once I do, I’ll be in them for good. I damned sure ain’t gonna make that depressing capitulation in order to see a ball drop after long, long hours of being squeezed in cheek by jowl amongst a bunch of yahoos freely pissing themselves and each other the whole while. The smell alone would be disincentive enough for me.
In all the time I’ve spent over the years in NYC, both as resident and visitor, I was never once even tempted to do the Times Square NYE thing. Part of the reason for that is probably the time I went to Herald Square for the Thanksgiving Day parade back in the 80’s. It wasn’t as hellish as the Post story makes NYE sound—barely—but it was certainly bad enough: packed in like sardines, freezing-ass cold, and hardly even able to catch more than a glimpse of the parade over the heads of my fellow victims. Afterwards, as the great mass of humanity started to try to edge out of the mob any way they could, it took about an hour to get to the subway station a half a block away.
It was bad enough, in fact, that when I was living there years later my girlfriend’s older sister, who was a Macy’s exec with a bit of clout, offered us much-coveted seats in the grandstand for the parade one year. We turned her down politely, firmly, and without a moment’s hesitation.
I have never once rued that decision.
I was much younger and more adventurous back then, too. Nowadays, I don’t usually stay up til midnight on New Years’ at all, and can’t even be bothered to watch any of the New Years’ Eve TV specials when I do. For years, the band would be playing every New Years’ Eve, since on that night even a half-assed, lower-tier outfit can expect to make three or four times as much as they would any other day of the year. On the rare occasions we weren’t playing that night, a quiet evening at home seemed like just the thing—something of a vacation, almost. It’s a tradition I’m happy to go on upholding, for as long as I last.
Happy New Years? Bah. Humbug.