by Shayne Benowitz
The countdown is over. Goodbye 2008… Hello 2009! I, for one, am bubbling over with excitement for what the New Year will bring. New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday and always cause for celebration. It’s a time to reflect on how we’ve led our lives over the last twelve months and a time to set some goals and get charged up for the future.
If you rang in the New Year in balmy Key West, first of all, you’re lucky! Everyone else around the world was bundled up heading out to bashes in chilly weather while you were literally dancing in the streets all night without even a sweater. So, where were you when the clock struck midnight? This year, I rang in the New Year in Las Vegas, but one of my most memorable New Years was right here in Key West.
There’s always a party on Duval Street and a crowd begins to form at the western end near Sloppy Joe’s. Think of it as Key West’s little Times Square. Instead of a giant crystal ball descending as the second hand ticks into a new year, a giant conch shell is rigged above the iconic façade. On the raucous 800 block at Bourbon Street Pub one of their famous drag queens teeters inside a giant platform pump that descends to the street. You can watch either cheeky spectacle and then kiss everyone around you to chime in the New Year.
Parties rage up and down Duval Street and there is something for everyone whether it’s New Year’s Eve or any time of year. If you’re looking to dance it up in a chic lounge head to Mangoes, Martin’s, or point5. Want to get silly with your friends, try the mechanical bull at Cowboy Bill’s. Drink with the locals? Head to Fogarty’s for their giant patio or the Green Parrot for live music. Shake your booty on the bar? The Lazy Gecko and Rick’s will fit the bill.
Key West is a perfect place to ring in the New Year. It’s laid back and not overcrowded, but most importantly it’s also wild, fun, and celebratory. Happy New Year!
Shayne Benowitz is a Fury crewmember and freelance writer working on her debut novel. For more travel stories and a daily dose of what’s cool around the globe visit her Wanderlust Website at http://web.me.com/shaynebeth.