The best-laid plans…
Chicagoans dish on their favorite cheap New Year's and share their recession-proof plans for ringing in 2009.
Peter Zelchenko, author of It Happened Four Years Ago: Mayor Daley’s Brutal Conquest of Chicago’s First Ward (VolumeOne Press, 2003)
Best cheap New Year’s When the CTA announced it would cease offering paper transfers on bus rides on January 1, 2006, Zelchenko was determined to procure the last one. He left his friend’s party in Pilsen and spent ten pennies hopping from bus to bus until 9:59pm, when he became “the proud owner of Chicago’s very last CTA paper transfer,” which expired at 11:59pm.
This year’s plan “A friend who shall remain nameless manages a superlatively tall building that shall remain addressless. There is an entire floor very high up that is currently empty, gutted from wall to wall down to the pillars. It’s about 100,000 square feet, with a city view from all directions. Some friends have been invited to rendezvous there with refreshments, a small TV and perhaps skateboards.”
Bobby Lentell, pedal-cab driver
Best cheap New Year’s “Just being a kid and having my mom make us black-eyed peas with a dime in it for good luck.”
This year’s plan Lentell says NYE is one of the most lucrative days of the year for his pedicab business, and he’ll be working the crowds watching the fireworks in Grant Park. (The pyrotechnics blast off at 11:40pm, but Lentell will likely be working all night.)
Byron Hatfield, producer of the comedy show Bye Bye Liver
Best cheap New Year’s “Everyone remembers Y2K. The specter of doom. We decided to have our house party that year up in the mountains with my folks back home. This may not make sense, until you realize that I’m a Hatfield…like the Hatfield and McCoys of angry, revenge-fueled Americana history…. I learned what happens when you throw an empty can of paint thinner onto a bonfire made of an old couch. All in all, though, it came out the same as all the best New Year’s Eves have for me. I was surrounded by people I cherished (and uncontrolled fire), I got a kiss at midnight (nonfamilial, I think), and walked away without the world having ended.”
This year’s plan “We’re doing something to embrace the whole world-in-recession-please-God-let-me-keep-my-job holiday atmosphere,” Hatfield says. The theme? New Year’s Eve 1929. “Gangsters, flappers, wear your best tux, learn the jitterbug, bathtub-gin fun.”