In 1907, the first New Year's Eve Ball was lowered down the flag pole on One Times Square, heralding the start of a new year: 1908. This year, a copycat New Year's Eve Ball is expected to make its maiden descent down the flagpole on Promenade Hill.
In New York, they are already hyping tickets to the New Year's Eve parties going on in close proximity to the ball drop in Times Square, but here in Hudson, the Common Council Arts, Entertainment & Tourism Committee is still trying to iron out the details of the Promenade Hill ball drop with its principal organizer, Martin Martinez.
When Martinez first applied for a mass gathering permit, the anticipated attendance was 100. The Arts, Entertainment & Tourism Committee was supportive of the embryonic event, awarding it a grant of $400--the same amount given to the Chili Festival and Taste of Hudson. Recently, however, Martinez upped the number of people expected to attend from 100 to 1,000, and that inspired some questions and misgivings.
On Wednesday night, Martinez appeared before the AET Committee at the invitation of the chair, Alderman Ohrine Stewart (Fourth Ward). Stewart and others wanted to understand better the event being planned, its potential impacts on neighborhood residents, and its need for city services. Martinez described it as a block party, "with a good variety of DJs," which would begin at 6 p.m. and end when the ball dropped at midnight. The committee, however, wanted more specificity. As Council president Don Moore explained, the committee wanted to know "how you expect it to go and where you expect it to happen."
Martinez told the committee that a stage would be set up at the entrance to Promenade Hill, and the party would take place on Warren Street between Front and First streets. Stewart asked how much of Front Street would be involved, and after some discussion, it seemed finally to be agreed that Front Street from Cherry Alley to Prison Alley would also have to be closed for the event.
Then there was the question of porta-potties. Since no alcohol will be served at the event, Martinez explained that people would do their drinking and use the restrooms at bars in close proximity to the party. The Savoia, the Half Moon, and (p.m.) Wine Bar were mentioned as places where revelers could use the restrooms. Although Martinez asserted, "I've been dealing with these establishments for years, and if they say so, they will do it," the committee was skeptical. Alderman John Friedman (Third Ward), speaking from the audience, predicted that the situation would result in "a street full of urine, or a jail full of people arrested for public urination." Stewart told Martinez that with 100 people expected, restrooms were not an issue, but with 1,000, they were.
Supervisor Ellen Thurston (Third Ward), who was in the audience, suggested a possible solution: the former COARC building at Warren and First streets, now owned by the Galvan Foundation. The building, she suggested, could be a place where revelers could get in out of the cold and also use the bathrooms. It was noted that COARC has recently vacated the building. Martinez said that he was going to approach the Galvan Foundation for funding for the event and would also ask about using the building.
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