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New Year's Eve: Is Attendance Mandatory?

The latest in an ongoing series in which we debate current style topics with an intensity that is—we'll be the first to admit—a little out of proportion to the actual significance of the issue at hand.
Photo: Corbis

Ah, the good auld days: White tie at the Waldorf.

On Dec 27, 2010, at 10:53 PM, Andy Comer wrote:
Okay, so it’s become almost obligatory to cast New Year’s Eve as an empty let-down, and to poke holes in its broad spectrum of rote, puffed-up festivities. I’ve tended to buy into that mindset myself, but I’m rethinking things this year. I mean really, is it that uncool to want to collectively cast off the dead weight of a drab year (especially when that year was 2010) and to ring in a new beginning? And drinking oneself into a stupor along the way? It didn’t look so undignified in the old Hollywood of An Affair to Remember and The Apartment, after all, when it seemed a part of basic gentlemanhood to partake. Colleagues, is it time to reclaim New Year’s for the cultured?

On Dec 27, 2010, at 12:53 PM, Josh Peskowitz wrote:
I’m of the “I don’t like New Year’s” camp, for the same reason I don’t like Halloween: Don’t tell me when to have fun, I do a fine job figuring that out on my own. That being said, I usually do end up having fun on New Year’s, and it’s invariably because of a house party. In a city like this, it’s the only civilized option. I think a major part of the appeal is the host; not a promoter, not an organizer, none of that. When a person invites you to their home (or their bar or restaurant or whatever) there is something special to that; a level of camaraderie you can never get from an all you can drink cover charge party.

On Dec 27, 2010, at 1:57 PM, Tyler Thoreson wrote:
Great point, Josh. But one thing that’s missing from the house party scenario is the excuse to get gussied up that a fancy New Year’s shindig can afford. (Though it bears noting that any Pesko-approved house party surely has its own implicit dress code.) Have I ever attended such an affair? Um, no, but but I’d like to think that the opportunity will arrive one of these years. Meantime I’m happy to let my tux ring in 2011 under wraps. I have two young kids and they’re generally up before seven no matter what the calendar says or what Daddy did last night.

And let’s not forget the other brand of New Year’s camaraderie: the New Year’s Day party, where you sit around in your Christmas sweater and drink mimosas and watch football and lick your communal wounds. It’s all uphill from there, baby.

On Dec 27, 2010, at 2:22 PM, Jared Flint wrote:
I think I have a special insight into this particular holiday as the passing of another Gregorian calendar year aligns exactly with the passing of one more year in the life of, well, me. All that reflecting and lamenting/celebrating of another year in the books gets a bit heightened when you add an existential, “holy crap, I’m 30″ element to it. Mostly it means that there’s a pressure to go out and celebrate what surely must be my favorite holiday. Pesko’s right–private parties are key. Anything offering prixe fix and a Midnight Champagne Toast™ is a Three Mile Island holiday equivalent. Tyler brings up a great point as well regarding New Year’s Day. It’s one of my favorite days to celebrate because A) I’m a narcissist and it’s my birthday; B) people buy me drinks; and, more importantly, C) those are the real troupers out after the (supposedly) biggest party night of the year.

On Dec 27, 2010, at 5:10 PM, Andy Comer wrote:
On that note… Happy birthday, young Flint. And Happy New Year, Reply-All readers. Should any of you care to extend four invitations to a luxuriously appointed, impossibly refined, formal-attire-required New Year’s soiree we’re all ears.

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