I can still remember an East Fourth Street that brought in the New Year with people banging pots and pans on their front porches or out their living room windows from the Margaret Court across the street. I mean, as a kid I thought it was cool, but then as a teenager I thought it was kind of corny. Because most of the people banging the pots and pans were either the elderly or our parents. And maybe it was some habit from the Great Depression when no one had money to buy an M80 from some unscrupulous fireworks dealer who still had a few leftovers from the Fourth of July.
But either way it was still a tradition on my block, and people did it just as the clock struck midnight on December 31st.
“Bang, Bang, Bang” “Happy New Year” “Clonk, Clonk, Clonk” “Bang, Bang, Bang” “Happy New Year”
The pots and pans just banging and rattling away as the television played “Old Lange Syne” with Guy Lombardo in my grandparents apartment on the second floor of 399 East Fourth.
Oh yes New Years Eve at my grandparents apartment, it was a time for everyone to get together and have a ball. More relatives, more food and more fun than you could ever imagine. We probably had more people in that apartment than the NYC Fire Department would allow, and I sometimes wonder how this old house supported all that weight.
Now I also remember New Years Eve for another thing, it was my cousin Pete’s birthday. You see his birthday was the next day after mine, so New Years was always a party in more ways than one at 399.
Hey Pete, Happy Birthday!
Oh, and one more memory about New Years Eve, Pete and I would always go see a Ranger’s game. For whatever reason back in the 70’s the Rangers always had these New Years Eve home games. And Pete and I would take the F train from Church Avenue into the city and still be home in time to hear all those pots and pans banging away on East Fourth.
Yes, New Years Eve on East Fourth. Let’s hear some pots and pans tonight, Shall we?