"Boy in the New Country" Part 15 - New Year in Chicago

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Mon Apr 15, 2019

2018...came to an end? Can’t believe it’s already over. A lot of things happened in such a short span. Even though 365 days cumulating 24 hours each seems like a long period, it felt like the year just passed by or to make it sound fast, it just flew by. Anyways, let me talk about my experience of the New Year in the New Country.

Like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the weather prediction for the New Year was… quick guess… yup RAINY! A few days before New Year's Eve, we in the dorm decided to spend it at Navy Pier since we had heard a lot about the fireworks being the most famous ones across Chicago. We just prayed that the rains didn’t spoil our mood and we would definitely not like the New Year to start on a soggy note.

As New Year’s Eve approached, we could see the skies clearing up a little bit. Our hopes of visiting Navy Pier brightened up, but since we all know happiness does not last for long, we could see out of our dorm windows the wonderful downpour (sarcastic) just a day before. We all know how unpredictable Chicago weather is. But such rapid changes just before the start of the New Year was really disappointing.

Another reason we were unhappy was for the fact that since we did not predict the rainfall, we chalked out a plan to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo first to see the lights since we missed them during Christmas, grab a bite in the downtown after seeing the lights and then finally head up to Navy Pier. But guess who struck us bad time… disappointment in full force. It started raining and yet again our visit to Lincoln Park was stalled.

So, back to square one, we refrained from going anywhere and decided to leave a bit later for Navy Pier after having dinner. Since the Commons was closed during the winter break, we at the dorm had to rely on our next best friend, the 7-Eleven store. So frequent were our visits, that whenever we went to the store, they would recognize what we came to buy. While checking out, I had a general discussion with one of my friends who was at the store about the plans for the evening. That’s when we came to know that Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is offering free rides from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. till Navy Pier and back.

"Free rides! Ohh yeahhh!" Since the Ventra cards work semester to semester, it was always a tough time for us to load the cards every time we had to go out. Free rides came as a blessing for all of us. Without any hesitation, we all decided to take the journey to Navy Pier after 10 p.m.

While we were on our way to the Navy Pier, there was less traffic along the road leading to downtown and we wondered where the traffic is. But as soon as we reached downtown, we came to know, we had to take back our words. There was heavy traffic leading to Navy Pier and that’s where we realized how interesting Navy Pier firework celebrations could be.

After reaching Navy Pier it was time to scout for the best place in the house. We looked at various places, saw some social media pics and guessed where could be the location of the fireworks and what would be the best angle to view them. After going to various places, we finally decided and stayed put at a place by 11:30 p.m. Soon after we reached that place, we could feel the cold wind blowing all over the place. It’s called the Windy City for a reason. Braving the winds and standing in front of the lake on the Pier, we noticed a big object which was like a ship moving out of the Pier, about 600 feet away from us.

In about 15 minutes, that object positioned itself and we guessed that the fireworks could be launched from that ship. And we were right. Right at the stroke of 12, the fireworks started. The place was all lit up for the next 15 minutes and everyone was mesmerized by the lights and the amazing display that was on offer. People shouting "Happy New Year," capturing the moments on their phones and uploading the same on social media were some of the highlights that I could definitely experience at that time.

After the fireworks were done, it was time to head back home, but not before some clicking some pictures at Navy Pier. It was altogether a different experience at that instant since we had never seen so many people ever at this place, and after midnight too. Heading back to the buses, we were discussing how the other places would have looked during the New Year. We also saw some displays of fireworks along the river, but they hardly lasted for five minutes. One more advantage of coming to Navy Pier on New Year’s Eve.

While heading back, we faced two difficulties. First the traffic, and secondly, crowded buses. But it was hardly a temporary affair since people were exploring by getting off at random places and that is when we got a place to sit. In the end, a beautiful evening well spent with everyone. With positivity all around and with a fresh new beginning, here’s wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

 

 

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2019 - Spring - Issue 11
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