Like many others, I had to work New Year's Eve. It was a busy, but uneventful day at the grind. Since I live just far enough from the city for it to not make sense for me to roundtrip in and out before festivities, I opted to stay, and meander over to 1020 bar to see if I could help wangch61 with setup.
After wandering around looking for tablecloths for ~ 20 minutes, Returning, I stopped and had the WORST veal parm hero in the creation of "veal". Never get Italian food on 105th and Amsterdam.
I made my way back to 1020 in time to help blow up balloons, and help with general decoration. I got to meet sleeping_hitman and her friend Nicole before the madness, which was cool, and actually sat and chilled for a bit before the mobs started rolling in.
Mob 1 held a surprise in it, as one of the members of said mob could not have been 18 if he tried really hard. He did, apparently, have an ID, but he threw one of the bartenders into a tizzy. Combine that with the fact that LOTS of people showed up early, and some regulars were not happy about private party situations, and you have a bumpy start. Check - it is a bumpy start when those things happen to recent hip-hop styling. Now, I am eclectic in my musical tastes, but there is only so much a person can take, and that point was broached well before my tolerance began to be broached. I donated my MP3-CD player to the cause of keeping things mixed up.
Once things really got hopping, it was a good time for all. I was hanging out with sleeping_hitman, and friend nicole when chellez showed up. Shortly thereafter, my brother, then bruteforcemethd, timaeusdaspirge, gabsosteel, idchild, lengjade, touchfaith (who was workin) and red_dinosaur hit the party. Pics are here for those who want them.
Food consisted of 2 6ft wedges (that were damn good) as well as some late-arrival veggie platters a la wangch61's fam. 10 large cheese pizzas were ordered when the sandwiches started to run dry, and when they did, there was nearly a riot. Both of the unfortunate mexican delivery guys were mobbed by throngs of hungry drunks. I grabbed 5 of the 10 pies and started handing out slices on paper plates as fast as I could. I went through 9.5 pizzas in under 5 minutes. Never have I seen such madness.
As a funny aside, when I was just getting rolling with the pizza handout, I was approached by a drunk kid who proclaimed himself "no pizza scientist" but suggested that I was pretty dumb to not split the pizzas up on each side of the table. As it was, no one else was offering to help out, and I was moving as fast as I could (and the kid was just bugging me, honestly). I asked him if he wanted to help, and he said no. I suggested that unless he wanted to eat pizza with two broken arms that he should stfu. He went away.
An additional 10 pies were ordered, and my process repeated with 4 of those before the bloated crowd stopped coming to the table like a sick parody of am ethopian rice handout.
The ball dropped with much clamor (and a little too much champagne spraying imho) and there was a general "feel-good" atmosphere in the crowd. People started to pile out, when I noticed one of my friends was not doing to well. Her name will remain anonymous to protect the innocent, but for the purposes of the continued narrative, she will be referred to as Dinah. For those with actual r/l knowledge of the matter at hand, please respect this anonymity.
Dinah had a bit too much to drink, and was feeling rather ill. After sitting for nearly 20 minutes, something had to give, and, when asked whether she would prefer to trek towards the bathroom (which had been mostly destroyed, both men's and women's since early in the evening) or head home, or just go outside and get some air, the proposed plan of action was "home".
A cab was hailed and secured by lengjade and timaeusdiasperge, without whose help the situation would have probably deteriorated quickly. Idchild gets honorable mention in crisis for providing some water to Dinah shortly after she got sick outside. My plan was to get the now-sick Dinah back to her apartment, tucked in, and then go back to the party. Pessimistically, the plan would have taken an hour to implement round trip. I didn't grab my bag, or say farewells, as I assumed things would still be in swing upon my return.
Sick she did get, a bit outside the bar, then more leaning out the cab which had been secured. The cab driver was noticeably upset about having a sick fare, but lengjade threw 20$ his way, and his attitude lightened considerably. I explained to him that we needed to go to queens and back, and, if he could do that, then there would be nice compensation in it for him. He seemed interested enough in the fare once I mentioned the trip route, and, after Dinah cleared up a little off we sped.
For about 4 avenue blocks. It was at about an hour and five minutes into the year, that the cab driver stopped the cab at the side of 110th street and 7th ave. He explained that the only way he asked which way we wanted to go to Queens. I explained that the Queensboro was idea, given the neighborhood we wanted to end up at. He then explained, that the only way he would take us to queens was if I paid 10$ for every dollar on the meter (this was a yellow cab). I explained that not only did I have that kind of money, but it was not going to happen. He told us to get out of the cab, which I was more than willing to do, after he returned the 20$ he had gotten in advance. He flatly refused, claiming that Dinah had been sick in his cab, and he deserved the 20$. In addition he insisted I paid what was on the meter.
Personally, I think that he was looking for a fast 20$ turnaround. I told him as much, and told him that I would pay the meter, but wanted the 20$. He started getting indignant, and cursing at me, telling me to "get the fuck out of his cab". As I was about to reply to him, Dinah mentioned that she felt like she was going to be sick again. I reached across her lap and got the door opened, and her leaning out of it, then ran around to her side to try and keep the mess minimal.
The cab driver, while not relinquishing his seat, proceeded to get more and more verbally abusive the sicker Dinah got. He wanted us out of the cab, but Dinah was clearly in no position to go anywhere. I told him to keep the meter running, and that I would pay him what was on it when Dinah felt like she could move on. He told me to pay him 100$ to take us to queens, or to get the hell out of his cab. I told him to hold his GD horses (the first point in the conversation that I cursed at all) and the cabby flew into a rage.
He got out of the cab and circled around to where I was assisting Dinah, streaming profanities like a chinese firework spits sparks. In the span of about two minutes he insulted me, my family, my ethnicity (which he wasn't exactly 100% on) and then proceeded to just throw together profanities and negatively-charged adjectives like a preschooler who just learned to add. In the meantime, I was trying to ignore him, and making sure that Dinah didn't have any complications as a result of getting ill. When I turned around, he started shouting into my face (I was sorta bent over, leaning into the cab before that). I told him to shut up and get into his cab unless he wanted to get hurt. Instead, he went and called the cops.
The police showed up about 5 minutes later. The whole time between coming back from the phone, and when they showed, the cabbie continued to pace and curse. When the cops showed up, they did so in usual NYPD style (2 squad cars, 6 cops total), and one group asked me what was going on, the other asked the cabbie. I calmly explained the situation, and they told me that the cabbie could, indeed kick me out of the car. I was fine with this, and agreed to move Dinah to the curb. They said I had to pay what was on the meter, but that could be deducted from the 20$ he had already been paid, and the rest would come back to me. At this point I didn't really care about the 20$, but agreed anyway. As soon as I did, the cab driver started screaming like a shanked monkey about how Dinah had gotten sick inside the cab, and that he would not be able to make any money during the rest of the night.
The cops checked from his side (where no one was sitting) and it looked clean. The cabbie insisted that they check by Dinah. One of the cops came over with a flashlight and asked her to move her feet over. She did, and he looked, and there was nothing. As the cop went to lean back out of the car, Dinah fell over, on to the street, then promptly rolled over on to her face.
Aghast as what I was sure to follow, I scrambled to get Dinah on to the curb, and get her mobile. She was fairly far gone. The cop in charge told me not to bother; EMT was already on its way. I tried to explain that we didn't want to go to the hospital, just to Queens. I was informed that he was obligated by law at that point to bring in medical care.
I gave up, as I was not about to have a fight with a bunch of cops and a passed out friend slumped on the street side. EMT was there promptly (they must have been on standby), and I rode in the back of the ambulance helping fill out vital stats for the med techs as we sped towards St. Luke's.
We had to repeat more than some of this info on admit to St. Luke's. The EMT techs and the admitting doc were both very nice. I was concerned that Dinah may have given herself a concussion when she fell out of the cab, but was assured that was not the case. They said they would put her on an IV for some fluids, and that she would probably be there for several hours. They said I could either stay, or pick her up later.
I stayed a choice which proved very constraining for the next 4 hours or so. I made some fast calls to tell people that I would not be back to the party, and that someone needed to see chellez safely home. It was at this point that I realized I had neither my bag nor my trainpass/metrocard, and had not said a proper farewell to anyone.
I was determined to keep the hospital stay as short as possible. Considering Dinah had gotten sick quite a bit already, I assumed that if I could keep her up for an hour or so, she would snap to enough that we could get discharged. Alas, that was to no avail.
I filled the nurses in on emergency contact info, and fed Dinah ice chips as she kept talking about the recent events of the evening, and how she could not believe her current plight.
The doctor on rotation poked her head in after about 40 minutes, and saw that I was giving Dinah ice chips. She said that they were not going to do an IV, but they took blood sugar (which was a little high) and said she would probably need to just sleep it off. I resigned to staying for the long run, and started what I like to call, the long sit.
The St. Luke's ER waiting area has no vending machines. None of the halls a non-employee is allowed access to has a vending machine. The cafeteria was closed. I was told that if I left the ER waiting room, that I would need to go around to the main part of the hospital to register with patient services, and would only be allowed back during visiting hours (which did not start until 9.
So I sat by Dinah's bed, and ate ice chips, and listened to what else was going on.
There were two serious cases in the ER. "Code Blues" - meaning people who had gone unconscious because of their injuries. There were also a huge number of people there, apparently the night was quite a ruckus cross uptown.
In no particular order, what I witnessed/listened to:
One of the code blues was a man who had been shot twice, once in the abdomen, once in the leg. The bullet that went in his abdomen was lodged there, while the bulled that had entered his leg had shattered his leg, and a fragment had apparently ricocheted north and punctured his bladder and stomach. I did not see this man.
The other code blue was a man, who, later in the evening, was retired to one of the nonsurgical cubes. He was in his late 60's, and had OD'd on cocaine, along with several other drugs. They pumped his stomach and got nothing, only to find out that the note he had left (his neighbor had found him) was untrue. All he had OD'd on was coke.
One gent, a 300+lb black gentleman, and a furrow carved out of his right arm from the shoulder to the inside of his elbow, diagonally across his entire bicep. I saw him after they had stitched, and there was at least .5 inch of pucker on the wound. Someone was either super strong, or used a fucking machete.
There was an elderly caucasion woman in her late 80's who looked what I always imagined Baba Yaga to look like. She was emaciated, and her hair went every-which-way. She had fallen down some stairs and broken her wrist and hip. Although she was in pain, she had taken a swing at one of the nurses when they went to change her bedpan, and as a result lay largely ignored for over an hour awaiting treatment in extreme pain. Everyone she saw she crooned a hello to, and if they said hello back, she immediately demanded help and began cursing about the pain and lack of service. After an hour, it was a blessing when they finally moved her to a room.
There was a russian guy with his girlfriend who had been hit by a cab, and broke his hand (I think it was run over) in a great many places, as well as getting some mean whiplash.
There was a black man who had a major stroke, his family was all there (about 15 of them in the hallway outside his room, on the other end of the ER)
There was a wife who had hit her husband with a frying pan, rendering him unconscious. The cops were waiting for him to regain consciousness, and explained all the details of the case to me, practically, when they reviewed what they needed to ask him as they sat in the cube next to the one I was in. He had a major concussion, as well as heavy burns along the side of his face (apparently it was a frying pan in action - he was also seared with bacon grease).
There was a teeny bopper who had fallen onto a piece of broken glass and put a pencil-eraser sized hole in the bottom part of her throat. It needed stitches, but she had no insurance, and was sobbing uncontrollably as a result, which made her hole wheeze and bleed.
There was a man who had fallen off a stoop onto his face and torn his bottom lip near off - he was holding it to his face with a sock packed with ice, tied behind his head.
So, yeah, that is what happens when you are hot, hungry, and dehydrated and are afraid to go anywhere - you listen to all the stories unfolding around you.
Around sixish I woke up sleeping parties. There was still heavy drunkenss, but a change in status such that mobility and coherent verbiage was not possible. More ice was gotten for ingestion, and bathrooms were visited. Unfortunately, it turned into a situation where too much water was consumed too quickly.
After nearly another 40 minutes of puttering around, we finally got out of there. Dinah’s garb was somewhat “worn out” due to the previous night’s antics, so she was supplied with a smart pair of hospital robes. One was worn “correctly” leaving the whole of her back exposed – the other was reversed, in a mad parody of a superhero cape. What really made the outfit was the pair of aquamarine styrofoam slippers, complete with smiley faces on the toes.
I managed to catch a cab with perfect timing (the first true blessing of the new year), and we were Queensbound almost before it seemed real. The city was still dark, but it was deserted. I realized how long it had been since I had an all-nighter in Manhattan, something which evoked a whole snake basket of conflicting emotions in my exhausted chest.
Keys were foraged from purses, and an extremely charitable offer to crash on the couch was extended. My feet itched for home though, so I started walking back towards the subway. The sun was just beginning to rise at this point, and the sky looked like a huge sheet of slate, with only the faintest of illumination beginning on it’s far side. Walking back to the 7 train, I realized that I had, at that point, been up and moving for more than 25 hours. I stopped in to get something to drink at a local store, and between the store and the subway station, I was stricken with a wave of fatuige which threatened to overwhelm me.
Literally, I was two blocks from the subway. I knew I would never make it. Luckily there were schools of cabs just coming on duty swimming along Northern blvd. I made it to GCT in a heartbeat, but not before I was treated to a view I like to call “the golden city”.
The sky had just turned, and the sun was cresting fast. Going over the bridge, you are at a perfect angle to catch all the sunlight as it reflects off the south side of Manhattan’s enormous skyline. Every time I see it, I imagine it must be what De Leon, and all the other conquistador hopefuls sought in years of perilous adventuring. The glass turns to sheets of liquid gold against the pale cloudy quartz of the sky above. Breathtaking does not begin to capture the feeling.
GCT looked like a Bosnian refugee camp, and the few cops I saw on duty looked far too tired to bother all the sleeping revelers stacked along the walls like piles of dirty firewood. I bought a book, and got on a train. I was home just before 9.
What a start to the year.