New York City


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NYE ball drop


In the United States, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with formal parties, family-oriented activities, and other large public events.

Auld Lang Syne –   The most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year’s Eve, “Auld Lang Syne” is an old Scottish song that was first published by the poet Robert Burnes.   It is often remarked that “Auld Lang Syne” is one of the most popular songs that nobody knows the lyrics to. “Auld Lang Syne” literally translates as “old long since” and means “times gone by.” The song asks whether old friends and times will be forgotten and promises to remember people of the past with fondness, “For auld lang syne, we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet.”

But it was bandleader Guy Lombardo, and not Robert Burns, who popularized the song and turned it into a New Year’s tradition. Lombardo first heard “Auld Lang Syne” in his hometown of London, Ontario, where it was sung by Scottish immigrants. When he and his brothers formed the famous dance band, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, the song became one of their standards. Lombardo played the song at midnight at a New Year’s Eve party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City in 1929, and a tradition was born. After that, Lombardo’s version of the song was played every New Year’s eve from the 1930s until 1976 at the Waldorf Astoria. In the first years it was broadcast on radio, and then on television. The song became such a New Year’s tradition that “Life magazine wrote that if Lombardo failed to play ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ the American public would not believe that the New Year had really arrived.”

New York City is a classic destination for New Year’s Eve, with amazing parties, dinners and even the opportunity to watch the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop live in Times Square. Whether you’re looking for a big party, a fancy, intimate dinner or something entirely different, we’ve gathered a variety of different ideas for your New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City.

Watch The Ball Drop in Times Square  – Probably the most famous tradition in the United States is the dropping of the Waterford Crystal New Year ball in Times Square, New York City, at 11:59 pm.   Thousands gather to watch the ball make its one-minute descent, arriving exactly at midnight. The tradition first began in 1907. The original ball was made of iron and wood; the current ball is made of Waterford Crystal. Inspired by the time balls that were formally used as a time signal, at 11:59 p.m. ET, an 11,875-pound (5,386 kg), 12-foot (3.7 m) diameter Waterford crystal ball located on the roof of One Times Square is lowered down a pole that is 70 feet high, reaching the roof of the building one minute later to signal the start of the New Year. The Ball Drop has been held since 1907, and in recent years has averaged around a million spectators annually. The popularity of the spectacle also inspired similar “drop” events outside of New York City, which often use objects that represent a region’s culture, geography, or history—such as Atlanta‘s “Peach Drop“, representing Georgia‘s identity as the “Peach State”. The portrayal of festivities on radio and television has helped ingrain certain aspects of the celebration in American pop culture; beginning on the radio in 1928, and on CBS television from 1956 to 1976 (which also included coverage of the ball drop), Guy Lombardo and his band, The Royal Canadians, presented an annual New Year’s Eve broadcast from the ballroom of New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The broadcasts were also well known for the Royal Canadians’ signature performance of “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight, which helped popularize the song as a New Year’s standard. After Lombardo’s death in 1977, prominence shifted towards ABC‘s special Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (which had recently moved from NBC), originally intended by its creator and host Dick Clark to be a modern and youthful alternative to Lombardo’s big band music. Including ABC’s special coverage of the year 2000, Clark would host New Year’s Eve coverage on ABC for 33 straight years. After suffering a stroke, Clark ceded hosting duties in 2005 to talk show host Regis Philbin. Although Clark returned the following year, a speech impediment caused by the stroke prevented him from being the main host until his death in April 2012, Clark made limited appearances on the show as a co-host, but was formally succeeded by Ryan Seacrest.

Enjoy a Great Concert or Show on New Year’s Eve  – New York City venues pull out all the stops on New Year’s Eve, so it’s a great night to catch an amazing act performing at one of New York City’s great performance venues. From Lincoln Center to the Lower East Side, there are plenty of great concerts and shows happening on New Year’s Eve.

Feast Your Way into the New Year – Sometimes the best way to celebrate the New Year is with a delicious meal. These restaurants will be having special New Year’s Eve menus. Consider early seating’s if you want to toast in the New Year elsewhere and pick a later time for dining if you want to clink glasses at your table.

Dance or Drink the Night Away – From all-inclusive to very exclusive, New York City clubs and bars will be hosting New Year’s Eve parties. Check details about what’s included at various places — some tickets include unlimited open bar, while other venues offer a range of tickets that each include different perks (keep in mind: sometimes the cheapest tickets are no bargain!).

Ring in the New Year from the New York Harbor – Celebrate the New Year aboard one of New York City’s many New Year’s Eve cruises. Whether you’re looking for an elegant evening aboard a yacht in formal attire, a New Year’s Eve booze cruise or even a family-friendly affair, one of these NYE cruises will fit the bill.

If you’re looking for a cruise without the crowds, consider this New Year’s Eve cruise. $346 buys you (& and just 39 others) a cruise aboard a 1920s style yacht where formal-wear is encouraged. A champagne/sparkling wine tasting will begin your cruise and hors d’ oeuvres, desserts and standard open bar (beer, wine, soda & water) are included with your ticket. Mixed drinks and champagne will be available for purchase.

Looking for Something Different for New Year’s Eve? – Maybe the same-old, same-old isn’t how you want to start 2015? There are some unusual ways to celebrate the New Year’s here, including a New Year’s Eve race and a Brooklyn Bridge walking tour!

Brooklyn Bridge Walk into the New Year –   Learn about the Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall area on this late evening walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. You will ring in the New Year while watching fireworks from around the area — in the past they have been able to see Central Park, Grand Army Plaza, Staten Island and New Jersey Fireworks, as well as the Empire State Building light show. Tour leaves from outside McDonald’s Restaurant, 160 Broadway between Liberty and Cortlandt Streets. Tour registration begins at 9:45 p.m. and multiple tours will depart from 10:15-11:15 p.m. Pay $50 cash for the tour onsite, or pay $40 if you book online in advance. Children 6-12 are half-price. Children under 6 are free.

NYC’s best tour guides will lead you around the City Hall area and the Brooklyn Bridge to learn little known facts about the 19th century’s greatest technical marvel.    Free prizes included that show up whether you prepay by credit card online or pay cash on the spot. Party and play on the Brooklyn Bridge.

If history repeats itself, fireworks will be visible from Central Park, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and New Jersey as well as the Empire State Building light show.

Emerald Nuts Midnight Run – This Central Park race is held annually by the New York Road Runners and promises a fun and healthy way to get your New Year started! There is a costume parade and dancing, as well as fireworks in addition to the 4M race.

Kick off the New Year at the Midnight Run! Join the fun and celebrate with dancing (starting at 10:00 p.m.) and a 15-minute fireworks show. With a countdown to midnight beginning at 11:59 p.m., the four-mile unscored run will begin on the stroke of midnight, as will a spectacular fireworks display to light up the night and the start of 2015.

Pre- and Post-Race Festival Details:   Enjoy pre-race and post-race festival at the Central Park Band-shell from 10:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. This celebration is free and open to the public. Check out what we’ve got going on: (1) Souvenir giveaways, which include light-up 2015 glasses, glow-in-the-dark glasses, and Airbnb reflective armbands. Get yours early—quantities are limited! (2) Visit our Resolution Photo-booth and get your customized back-bib. This is your chance to complete the phrase “In 2015, I’ll run for…” and share your motivation with the world. (3) A dance party featuring a DJ and live performers

Fireworks: Noisemaking and fireworks on New Year’s Eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck. The Chinese are credited with inventing fireworks and use them to spectacular effect in their New Year’s celebrations.

Kathy Kiefer



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It’s never easy when someone loses a parent, a child, a spouse, partner, etc.  But it hits especially hard when you lose the person so unexpectedly as my brother and I did just recently on Holy Saturday 2014.  Our Mom, Irene Lilholt Rogers passed away so unexpectedly on Saturday the 19th of April in Orange, Virginia not suffering any sort of trauma.     She passed away as she had lived her life, with dignity, class and style.    We will always remember her with so much love as always, despite the difficulties she endured in her later years with Parkinson’s disease.

Mom was born and raised on a farm in Narrowsburg, New York (a beautiful rural community almost 2 hours upstate from New York City) and was the youngest of 5 children. Narrowsburg is located in the Sullivan County region of the state not far from Port Jervis and Middletown as well as a close driving distance to the United States Military Academy at West Point.  Narrowsburg is also close to the Delaware River which is near the New York/Pennsylvania Border.  Her senior class at Narrowsburg Central School took their senior class trip to Washington, DC where they stayed at the Mayflower Hotel, and from that time on she became fascinated with the idea of actually living in the Washington, DC area.   For mom, this dream actually became a reality for her in 1980.   But before that,   she had met our dad, on one of the trips he made upstate with some of his friends on a fishing and hunting trip where they were introduced by one of my uncles.  Eventually they married and set up a home on Long Island, New York in the area near where my father was born and raised.  After a few years, my brother and I completed the family.

When my brother and I were growing up in Brightwaters, New York (Bay Shore School District), I remember that mom was always involved in our school activities as well as Girl Scout and Boy Scout functions that we participated in, plus our various music lessons, sports and so much more.  While we were in elementary school, mom, like many of the mothers of our school friends, volunteered in the school library.   It was at an early age as well that I began a lifelong love of reading and going to the library which continues to this day, among many other wonderful things that she exposed both my brother and I to.  By this I am referencing things such as art, music, the theatre plus so much more.   I remember mom taking and teaching classes in adult cooperative extension at one of the local colleges that entailed jewelry making.    She also loved to sew and when we were growing up she crafted many of our costumes for Halloween and some of the outfits we wore to school.   I remember mom and I created the gown and dress for my Senior Prom and Senior Class Day at Bay Shore High School.  Even down to the details on the hair style and jewelry to be worn with both outfits.  To this day I have retained much of this style, class and elegance, learned from mummy.

I remember growing up that mom and dad also loved to entertain and had wonderful soirees and parties.   She loved to cook and crafted many fantastic creations not only for these functions but also to give as gifts.    We had a small garden in our back yard where we grew tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs and a variety of items.    From the cucumbers we turned them in to pickles, and canned our own jams and jellies.  I always enjoy stopping by farm stands and going to the farmer’s market even now to buy local  fresh homegrown fruit and vegetables (we also did this often in Upstate and on the east end of Long Island).

On our vacations in the summer and winter and spring breaks from school we often went to visit relatives and took trips to many different places like Boston, Plymouth, Old Sturbridge Village and Salem, Mass.   Other places included The Von Trapp Lodge in Stowe, Vermont, Bar Harbor Maine (where I remember mom having lobster meat in her scrambled eggs for breakfast), going to Sea World in Florida.  And of course Disney World and there were so many other fascinating places we got to visit as we were growing up.   Another highlighted stop that stands out was at the Baseball Hall of fame in Cooperstown, New York as both my brother and I are big baseball fans).  We went to Cooperstown as part of a trip that we had taken to visit some of our cousins.    On the same trip I also remember we went to Catskill game farm.  These family travels fostered a lifelong enjoyment of not only travel and seeing/experiencing many new places, meeting new and fascinating people and getting a better grip and understanding of many places in our country’s past and what we could learn from it as well as it impacts our lives today.  One of the trips that stands out was when I was 10, we went to Colonial Williamsburg to celebrate Thanksgiving, on the way down, we stopped at Arlington National Cemetery at the Grave of President John F. Kennedy.  For a youngster, it was such a moving experience; we then continued to Williamsburg, this was a unique experience to spend the holiday at the Colonial Capital of the United States.   We also went to the Jamestown Settlement while we were in that part of Virginia.     What a twist of fate that many years later that mom, my brother and I would be living in Virginia.

In 1980, mummy had the opportunity to move to Washington, DC/Northern Virginia area.   I was living in Manhattan (NYC) at the time at Gramercy Park, it was hard to see her move south, but knowing that it was something that she always dreamed of, I was happy for her.   She settled in the Bailey’s Crossroads (Falls Church) area of   Northern Virginia working first as a leasing agent at an apartment complex, and then began working for a defense contracting company as an executive secretary.    Mom also had an interest in genealogy and was learning more of the family ancestry, tracing some of the family back to Denmark (on her father’s side of the family).  Mummy was able to take a trip to Denmark as part doing this work, even finding the original Lilholt family home.  Both mummy and I have become better acquainted with our Danish relatives over the years (our family ancestry is both Danish and German).   One of the things she discovered while doing her research on the family was that we had a great (think 2 greats) grandfather was the oldest living veteran of the US Civil War and he passed away when he was 114 years old.  Mummy gave me all the documents and it is so fascinating.

Mummy’s favorite colors were lavender and green, and her home reflected those colors, even to her Christmas Tree, which took a great deal of lavender spray paint to get it to meet with her approval.  But the lights and ornaments looked fantastic on it.   I doubt anyone would go to that extreme!!   But it was worth it

I remember her also being involved at her church.  She was such a people person, enjoying many people plus how important her family and friends were to her all the time, everyone that knew her loved her back and enjoyed being around her as well.   And remembering how much she still loved to go places and have many wonderful experiences even after she finally retired from her job several years ago.   Unfortunately at the same time mom had been diagnosed with Parkinson Disease and one of the side effects of the disease was tremors which were hard for her and all of us, she was not in control of the tremors.   I moved into her condo to help her, but as the years progressed it became apparent that mummy could no longer be in the house alone when I was at work or in classes at the university, so we found a senior living facility near where my brother and his family live in Orange, Virginia that she liked and where she felt comfortable.  So she moved down there a little over four (4) years ago, and was involved in activities every day, even at Halloween, when one of the local elementary schools came over to enjoy some spooky fun with the residents.  I remember mom dressing up in a Cat in the Hat Costume and going around reading the story about the Cat in the Hat, even with her walker.   She was such a hit.   Everyone loved it.!!!!!!  Even at the Dogwood and her church in Orange, she was well liked by everyone that knew her.      No matter where she went or what the occasion, mummy was always well coordinated, from her outfit, her jewelry, hats (when appropriate), to her hair, nails and shoes.  Always thoroughly and classy.   Truly   A UNIQU 1.    There will never be anyone else like her.

I think that one of the reasons that mom liked the area where she ultimately moved to is that it reminded her of the area that she grew up in New York.   She always remained a country girl at heart, despite living in the big city.      Even at the cemetery where she now rests, the setting is so serene and tranquil behind a lovely country church that even transports me to being back upstate.

I just want to say MUMMY your daughter loves you very much and has always loved you, even though I didn’t say it that often maybe because I was angry with you at times, and because thou hast always challenged some of the choices I have made in my life, and now I understand why. I hope that now, wherever you are that you are able to find the peace and simplicity you’ve always wanted and tried your hardest to get me to understand. And I am understanding so much better. You are loved and will always be with me (and my brother). And missed

Kathy Kiefer



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If you are shopping for many of the top fashion designers, and you are in a city such as Manhattan (New York City), Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland or any other big city you won’t have a shortage of places to shop in order to find just the right item.   I am aware that many people from Italy and other European countries come to the United States not just to visit and do the usual tourist things, but to shop for brands that they have come to know from back home, as well as top American Designers,  I am referring to brands such as Roberto Cavalli, Armani, Versace, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, amongst others and generally at a cost savings to the consumer (as a reflection of lower rate of exchange in this country where you generally can get more for you money).

Many  of the  designers clothing lines, plus accessories (including shoes as well as handbags) can be found at department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales’, Macy*s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom’s, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylors amongst others.  I also find it quite fascinating to window shop at the department stores to even gain a better insight into some of the brands that being offered. This applies also to the fantastic displays inside the store that highlights much more wonderful items.  Also many of their fragrances and makeup can also be found at these department stores, but also at a store such as Sephora.   In New York City alone I have found that many designers also have their own stores in different locations, and not just tied in to the fashion center of the city in addition to the department stores.  Also designer Roberto Cavalli recently just opened his own flagship store in New York City called “Just Cavalli” and is located at 434 West Broadway (he is also found in Macy*s and several of the other top stores ).   I have also discovered that several of the big designers also have their own stores in Manhattan in addition to being sold at the afore mentioned department stores.    Having their own stores also holds true at shopping malls around the United States as well.  At many of the shopping malls they have what is known as anchor stores (i.e., Macy’s, Lord & Taylors, J.C. Penny’s, etc.)  But also other specialty stores that have many items those aren’t found in the larger stores but are equally as important and worth purchasing.    This also holds true not just in Manhattan but also at stores around the country.

Throughout these cities shoppers can also find designer shoe stores also carrying appropriate shoes and accessories to “dress up” any outfit and any occasion.   Also another venue where one may find these top brands are outlet shopping malls, but I would think with the shopper being cautious.   While I am not knocking outlet stores/or malls, you can get a good bargain on many things, including the designer labels, but recently I had gone to a local outlet mall and was browsing in one of the stores I routinely shop at when I noticed that they had an item I purchased somewhere else days before at even more of a    savings than at the outlet store.   So the moral would have to be  not just “buyer beware” , do a bit a research before going out shopping so that you get the desired items at the best price.   I am aware that there are many shoppers that are looking for excellent quality and well-made Italian products will generally go to the best places to exactly what they desire, regardless of the price.    It is important to note that the “Made in Italy” label, just as with the “Made in the USA” label stands for quality of workmanship, style, elegance and class.   But both labels carry much weight behind them.

From late January to mid to late February many of the department stores will begin to have end of season  (or clearance)  sales to move out the remaining winter clothing lines and accessories  that are on the shelves as they begin to gear up for the spring fashions as well as getting the departments ready with spring displays.     It always makes for such an interesting transition of clothing and at this time the consumer can get even better deals/bargains on the closeouts with substantial markdowns and reductions in price.

Also, in the Little Italy area of New York, they have specialty shops that sell many wonderful items with the “Made in Italy” label that one can find nowhere else.  To that end I am providing a list of some of these shops that can be found there.

Di Palo (Fine Foods), IL Coccio (Italian Ceramics), Piedmonte Co. (Food Products), Sandy’s (Hats, Clothing, Shoes), Accessories by Regali, Bella Mimo Gifts, E. Rossi & Sons, Enoteca Di Palo, Go Go Jewelry, Mulberry Street Cigar Co., Regal Handbags, Step Up Boutique and many other wonderful stores.  Little Italy also has Pastry and Italian Food stores  that aid in getting those hard to get  food items to prepare and/or serve at home. But if you are looking for a good Italian meal you need not look any further than one of the restaurants in Little Italy.

Kathy Kiefer