Our city’s reputation for somewhat slipshod urban planning is as much a part of its character, for better or for worse, as is government corruption in Chicago, gridlock in Los Angeles, and chili with spaghetti in Cincinnati. The city particularly seems to lose its grip around New Year’s:
:: In 1994 at the Artemis Nightclub, the oversized mechanical silver apple and full moon contraptions, which are traditionally raised to the top of their housing at midnight on New Year’s Eve, somehow became entangled with one another, stalling halfway up the main shaft and making a calamitous grinding noise while the gears tried to work loose. Workmen finally fixed the problem at 1:33am, but by then, everyone had gone home.
:: Icy roads and a higher-than-usual number of highway accidents in 2003 led to a citywide shortage of champagne, and a number of bars and clubs resorted to handing out 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor to their patrons on New Year’s Eve.
:: In 1981, City Hall, using state-of-the-art satellite TV technology, intended to let the public in on a simultaneous New Year’s Eve celebration with Maracaibo, Venezuela, one of our former sister cities. Unfortunately, no one seemed to be aware that Maracaibo is in a time zone one half-hour ahead of the city, resulting in triumphant revelry followed by standing around looking awkward for embarrassed South American dignitaries.
:: In 1997, the Lyric Opera enlisted Italian tenor Federico Rutilli to give a special performance on New Year’s Eve. A new employee in the marketing department, however, unintentionally booked Italian porn star Federico Rotelli, who gave a rather different sort of special performance.
:: 2004’s New Year’s Eve concert by Green Day was marred by a computer error which resulted in all printed tickets reading “December 30” instead of “December 31”. Nearly 40,000 fans waiting outside of Nabisco Arena in five-below weather were not pleased to be told that they should come back tomorrow.
- Leonard Pierce