New Year’s Eve is a little like High School, for some reason it comes with an expectation that it should be the best night of the year, but in the same way that High School rarely turns out to be the best years of your life (thank goodness) it’s often disappointing and not nearly as exciting as you hoped it would be. More often than not I’m sound asleep when the New Year rolls in.
This year I gave the assignment of ‘what to do for New Year’s Eve’ to my oldest son Jeff. I hate that duty as much as my kids hate the task of thinking up the dinner menu so I figured turnabout was fair play. He diligently sifted through the search results for things to do in Philly on New Year’s Eve to find something suitable for a middle aged mom, a teenage brother, and himself – a twenty something single guy.
After discarding dozens of ‘over twenty-one’ and ‘not appropriate for mom’ options, he found the perfect outing, Fireworks on the Battleship New Jersey. There were two options – twilight and midnight. Given the fact that we were driving to an unfamiliar destination, none of us are fond of the cold, and I didn’t want to drive home on I95 after midnight we opted for the early show and a nice homemade dinner to follow.
With reservations made, tickets ready for pick up, and directions in hand we headed down I95 and across the Ben Franklin Bridge into Camden, New Jersey. Thankfully I had not one, but two navigators because the signage was unclear. After a few near wrong turns and some confusion about where to park we found the garage, secured a spot, and walked to the battleship.
The ship was visible as we exited onto the street and the mixture of orange and pink that illuminated the cloudy sky made a perfect backdrop for the impressive vessel and its massive guns. We stopped for a few obligatory snapshots along the way, surprisingly without too much resistance and from the boys.
I’m a little embarrassed to say that it didn’t occur to me to look up any history about the ship until the day after the event. The ship was built at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1942. It was launched on December 7, 1942 and made her final voyage home in September 1999. It’s hard to fathom that we stood on the deck of history waiting to watch fireworks and welcome 2012.
The deck was lined with people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. I couldn’t help but tap my foot and move my head to beat of the music and I eyed the group of people line dancing with a bit of jealousy.
“Don’t do it Mom. Don’t dance. You’ll embarrass me,” Christian pleaded.
“You mean you don’t want me to do this?” I laughed and cha-cha’d.
“Nooo…don’t do it,” he grinned and looked away.
Before long Jeff and I were twisting our way down low to (shout) a little bit softer now and raising our hands and singing out Shout along with several hundred strangers and much to Christian’s chagrin. The dancing ended and the fireworks began with an impromptu sing-along to Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline…Bah Bah Baaah!
The fireworks were spectacular.
We made our way through the congested traffic and back over the bridge to home. I surprised the boys with party hats and noisemakers to go along with the pork tenderloin, garlic roasted potatoes and green beans. Of course the hats were too small for people and too big for the dogs but we had a good laugh and made a lot of noise.
We passed the hours between dinner and midnight with a round of guitar hero and a game of monopoly. The three of us declared it one of the best New Year’s Eve’s ever, counted down with the people in Times Square, raised our glasses, and welcomed in 2012 with the toast Jeff coined when he was two.
Happy New Ear!