Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Happy New Year To All

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?

Ron Lopez


Pete said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes Ron - it always kinda sucked having my birthday on New Year's - everyone had other things on their mind...but you and all my friends always made a special effort to celebrate with me, and that always meant a lot to me. I was just telling my kids about you and me and the Ranger games on New Years, and I just read an article about the tradition of banging pots and pans - I really do think it goes back to the depression. Those parties and Grandma & Grandpa's apartment were always so much fun - the highlight of the year when we were kids - we see people we'd only see once a year...cousins, friends of the family etc. - and it was always a huge blowout - lasting well into New Year's Day.

The last thing I remember before it all came to an end after Grandpa died in '76, was Robert Brennan in his unmarked police car turning on lights and sirens and making it into midtown Manhattan in about 12 minutes on New Years with everyone pulling off the road in front of us - what a rush....we'd probably have been arrested if we tried that today.

And Happy Birthday to you too amigo, since we pretty much shared birthdays through our lives. And Happy New Year to you, Virginia and the kids.


Josh said...

Thanks Ron,
Happy New Year to you and your family and everyone from the neighborhood and the Ave. F hockey group!

Alaina said...

Next year we will bang on pots and pans... this year all we had were leftover fireworks...