New Year’s 1999:

Corrections or additions?

These articles were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on November 17,

1999. All rights reserved.

Millennial Madness: If Not Now, When?

In 1987 I started planning for the turn of the


I was 15. Prince (that’s what we called the Artist then) had just

released his landmark pop tune, "1999." It was both an


dance song (Remember the chorus: "We’re going to party like it’s

1999") and a catalyst for deeper thoughts. I imagined what I would

be doing with my life, where my friends would be, and what kind of

celebration could possibly live up to all the expectations that were

beginning to form in my mind for that turning of the millennium.

I projected all my hopes and aspiration onto that one year. I figured

it would be the pinnacle of my own life, not just the 20th century.

We didn’t know about Y2K or E-Commerce back then, but if we had, it

certainly would have added fury to our apocalyptic visions, sense

of anticipation, and desire for beer.

As it turns out, the Millennium Bug is quickly turning into the


Stick-in-the-Mud. None of my peers have done the kind of planning

that 13 years of hype would have warranted, and almost every venue

is suffering from the ordinary. Only an elite few have the resources

to treat themselves to the kind of once-in-a-lifetime vacation that

a once-in-a-lifetime event warrants: an $18,000 cruise in the


or, on the more spiritual side, a New Year’s celebration under the

watching eye of the Sphinx in Egypt.

The unwashed masses, by and large, are still rifling through social

calendars, vacillating over whether to enjoy a quiet evening in the

company of family and friends or surrender ourselves to the chaos

and crowds of New York City and some potential Y2K fall-out. Either

way, chances are it will be just like last year.

But the party hearty devotees of Prince and other Generation Xers

are not alone. Americans generally — and the professional men

and women of the greater Princeton business community particularly

— seem to be greeting the dawn of the new millennium with a



Maybe we are all exhausted from the months and sometimes years spent

revamping computer systems in the process of eradicating the Y2K


bug. Maybe many of the software consultants and programmers among

us are still chained to our keyboards, on call over New Year’s’


to handle any last-minute computer snafus. (At the Marriott hotel,

in fact, bookings for hotel rooms are coming from two distinctly


sources — partyers and corporate accounts that need rooms to


their on-call programmers.)

Maybe many of us are heeding the doomsday prophets,

or at least those who predict the malfunctioning of traffic lights

and the possibility of terrorists or simple hooligans intent on


the holiday weekend.

Maybe a few of us still cling to the technical definition of a


that decrees it beginning January 1, 2001, not 2000.

And maybe some of us just cannot — or will not — stop to


the passing of not just another year, or decade, or even a century,

but rather an entire 1,000 years of human history. For many in the

media, the full scope of the millennium has so far proved too much

to fathom. Time magazine chose to select the top 100 people of the

century — 1,000 for the millennium may have been more than space

would permit. One of the cable sports networks followed suit, though

with more justification — most organized sports are products of

the 20th century just now coming to an end.

For whatever reason, we brace ourselves for the new millennium with

a notable lack of commemoration. Think of the bicentennial celebration

of American independence in 1976, and the tall ships and fireworks

and onslaught of lectures, reenactments, and "Bicentennial


on network television. Think of time capsules planted like corn at

the end of most decades. Think of Hands Across America in 1986, when

7 million Americans held hands from sea to shining sea to raise


for the hungry and homeless. Think of that national anthem, "We

Are the World," written and produced for one of those national


So far, at least, nothing of that magnitude has emerged to focus our

attention on the millennium. No nationwide moment of silence. No


of church bells around the country. No time capsule planted down at

Borough Hall. No community prayer service in the University Chapel.

No convocation of scientists in Alexander Hall to ponder the future

of man. No millennial E-mail greeting to be passed along around the

world. And no anthem.

In Great Britain, we are told, stores began advising consumers way

back in August to stock up on champagne for the big event. Here the

liquor stores are just beginning to deliver the sparkly for


New Year’s seems a long way off.

Part of it also may be that money still talks, even in the new


Entrepreneurs who had sought bonanzas from Year 2000 revelers have

had to rethink their budgets. Travel agents in the Princeton area

report that New Year’s cruises did not sell as heavily as anticipated

— the cruise lines overpriced them.

In Manhattan some envisioned a New Year’s windfall by renting out

their apartments to out-of-towners willing to spend an arm and a leg

for a place to stay within a subway ride or taxi of Times Square.

One classified ad offered a one-bedroom apartment in the east 20s

from December 28 to January 2. The asking price: $10,000. The reality:

probably far less. "So far," reported the New York Times


this month, "the Manhattan millennium rental market is as flat

as a leftover glass of Veuve Cliquot on New Year’s Day."

Some more profound commemorations may still take hold in the United

States. James Redfield, the author of "The Celestine


is calling for everyone to pause at one minute to midnight to


"one moment of prayer for the new millennium." The details

are on his website, naturally:

A Bryn Mawr-based dance troupe, Rainbow Child International, is


"Miracle Dance 2000," billed as "a wave of dance for 24

hours around the planet." The group asks for participants to


a celebration with prayer, dance, meditation, music, and songs to

last during the first hour of the year 2000, from midnight to 1 a.m.

in each time zone. "Dance with billions of others," Rainbow

Child proclaims, "dance aside all doubts."

The details, along with invitation cards and flyers ready for


are available at the website:

Maybe the children will lead the way into this millennium. One family

we know reports that weeks ago, before any of the adults had given

a moment’s thought to New Year’s Eve, the seven-year-old had asked

if he could watch Nickelodeon on New Year’s Day. The children’s


had announced that it was devoting its programming that day to


with kids, describing their hopes and visions for the world in the

next 1,000 years.

For whatever reason many adults will end up staying close to home,

and they will find the usual array of New Year’s Eve attractions —

some of which have added an extra layer of sparkle for the millennium

(see listings below for details on prices, entertainment, and contact


Whether or not you like the proposed new design of the Arts Council

of Princeton, you can again count on that community organization to

host a community-wide celebration that enables everyone to gather

together in a festive environment.

If it’s still necessary to party like it’s the ’90s, or better yet

the ’80s, however, hotels in the area are offering big Millennium

blow-outs that won’t exhaust your life savings. Moreover, they do

keep you off the road and, if you have kids, within earshot of the


Some of the bars up and down Route 1 are calling it a fixed price

night, with live entertainment, open bar, and a buffet to satisfy

the biggest gourmands. Choice of entertainment and champagne may make

or break the party, but atmosphere, as always, is the most important

element. If you want to usher in the New Year’s with frills, the


Country Club is putting on a glitzy Millennium Gala, complete with

top hats, canes, feather boas, and Dom Perignon. One of the draws

this year is entertainment by the Classics, a chart-topping, four-man

oldies group. Also in the line-up: the Coda Orchestra and the


who do Andrew Sisters and Supremes.

The Hyatt Regency in both New Brunswick and Princeton are also going

with the Ballroom motif, but the package also includes an overnight

room with bottle of champagne. For a little under $800 per couple,

the outing includes a black tie dinner, open bar, and orchestra.

Variety is the key at the Doral Forrestal, where you can either get

either a ballroom-style, black-tie event, or go with an Italian-style

affair at Gratella.

The Nassau Inn is offering a Millennium Getaway that includes a bottle

of champagne, a box of chocolates, and buffet breakfast the next day.

Entertainment includes the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, where the Billy

Hill band performs, and events that are part of Millennium Curtain

Call, sponsored by the Arts Council.

For those who want a hotter environment Katmandu, the riverside


dance club in Trenton, and Polly Esther’s, the `70s retro-bar at


Village, are opening their doors and bars with fixed prices and


The Flying Mueller Brothers are headlining at Katmandu, where the

party runs until 4 a.m.

Polly Esther’s at the Marriott in Forrestal Village, also big on the

club scene, is pricier, and it’s open bar until 2 a.m. They also have

a tie-in dinner with Mikado’s Japanese Restaurant.

At the other end of the spectrum, Triumph, where the managers are

keeping it low key with a small cover charge, champagne toast, and

band. "We aren’t doing anything to profit from the fact by that

it’s year 2000," says Roxanne Klett. "I’ve called around and

I’ve been insulted by some of the prices that they’re expecting just

because it is the year 2000."

Even if the price is right, many party goers are opting for more


environments, so they can spend time with family and friends, and

hunker down, away from the crowds, dangerous drivers and — yes

— machinery gone wacky. But, oddly enough, not a lot of big


Mary Ellen Burke, the catering director at Main Street Catering,


that "a lot of the parties ended up not happening," she says.

"People had trouble getting their guest lists together because

no one knew what they were doing." It’s still busier than last

year, she says, but their biggest sell right now is take out.

As for me, I’ll be sitting on a beach with a bottle of champagne,

not pondering my future so much as what the Artist (Prince) is

doing this New Year’s Eve.

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New Year’s 1999:

RU Y2K Ready?

Classical Music

Music for the New Millennium , Church of the Blessed

Sacrament, 716 Bellevue Avenue, Trenton, 609-396-9231. A gala


by the choirs of Trinity Episcopal, Covenant Presbyterian, and Blessed

Sacrament, with orchestra and organ, featuring Copland’s "Fanfare

for the Common Man," and works by Haydn and Vivaldi. Free-will

offering for Trenton’s Habitat for Humanity. 7 p.m.

The Millennium Concert , Greater Trenton Symphony


War Memorial, Trenton, 609-984-8400. John Peter Holly conducts


favorites from the 20th century including Lehar’s "Merry Widow

Overture," and music by Richard Strauss, George Gershwin, and

Richard Rodgers. $30 to $75. 8 p.m.

Following at 10 p.m., "The Millennium Gala," featuring

dancing on the stage, buffet supper amidst the glitter of the


restored Art Deco Grand Ballroom, by Paris Dessert and Catering,


toast at midnight.

Princeton Girls Choir , Princeton University Chapel,

Princeton University, 609-924-8777. Part of the Princeton Arts


Millennium Curtain Call. $20. Also, organ music by Nate Randall and

jazz from the Tom Spain Dixieland Band. 7 p.m.

Folk Music

Carolyn Moseley , Murray-Dodge Theater, Princeton

University, 609-924-8777. Part of the Princeton Arts Council’s


Curtain Call. $20. 7 p.m.

Jazz & Blues

John Bianculli Jazz Band , Richardson Auditorium,

609-924-8777. Part of the Arts Council’s Millennium Curtain Call.

$40. 7 and 9:30 p.m.

Pop Music

A Century of Song , State Theater, 15 Livingston

Avenue, New Brunswick, 877-782-8311. New Year’s Eve Millennium


features a sparkling revue that sweeps across 100 years of Broadway’s

greatest shows. $25 to $45. Sold out. 8 p.m.


The Nutcracker , American Repertory Ballet, McCarter

Theater, 91 University Place, 609-258-2787. Artistic director Graham

Lustig presents his international troupe of 23 dancers and students

from Princeton Ballet School, Garden State Ballet School, and Dance

Power, in a sparkling production of Tchaikovsky’s magical musical

treat. $21 to $33. 1 p.m.

Susan Tenney Dance Troupe , Richardson Auditorium,

Princeton University, 609-924-8777. A 30-minute dance piece, "The

Tower," commissioned by the Arts Council from this sibling trio

— Susan, Steven, and David Tenney. "The Tower" recounts

the story of a messenger sent into time from a New Year’s Eve party

of the future. Part of the Arts Council’s Millennium Curtain Call,

$40. 7 and 9:30 p.m.


Abie’s Irish Rose , Off-Broadstreet Theater, 5 South

Greenwood Avenue, Hopewell, 609-466-2766. A Jewish son brings home

an Irish bride and a comic war ensues. $25. 7 p.m.


New Year’s Eve Party , Hightstown Ballroom, Route

33, Hightstown, 609-448-8450. Country Western dancing and champagne.

8 p.m.

Paso Doble Ballroom , 4501 New Falls Road, Levittown,


Serious ballroom dancing to a live band until 2 a.m. Groups bring

their own food but the $25 ticket includes coffee, cookies and


hats and noise makers. 8 p.m.

Good Causes

The Millennium Gala , Greater Trenton Symphony, War

Memorial Theater, Trenton, 609-984-8400. John Peter Holly conducts

favorites from the 20th century including Lehar’s "Merry Widow

Overture," and music by Richard Strauss, George Gershwin, and

Richard Rodgers. Following at 10 p.m., dancing on the War Memorial


Curtain Calls

Millennial Curtain Call , Arts Council of Princeton,

102 Witherspoon Street, 609-924-8777. The 14th annual New Year’s Eve

family-oriented, alcohol-free strolling party. Buy a button and attend

any of the music, storytelling, humor, dance, juggling, horse and

buggy rides, or tarot card readings at 10 different sites. Midnight

at the Arts Council is where Times Square comes to Princeton. 8


For the $20 button, party goers can join celebrations at the

Garden Theater, Princeton University Chapel, Murray Dodge Theater,

and Arts Council. A $40 button gives celebrants access to all of the

events, plus Richardson Auditorium, where Diane Crane emcees a night

of performances by the John Bianculli Jazz Band, Susan Tenney Dance

Troupe, Princeton Cabaret with June Ballinger, Mary Martello and Cyrus


Garden Theater: An evening of vintage cartoons of the 20th

century, plus comedian, and a face painter.

Murray Dodge Theater: scenes from Shakespeare, folksinger


Moseley, Gershwin Song Fest with Rebecca Plack Ferguson.

Princeton University Chapel: Program includes Tom Spain


Band, organist Nate Randall, the Princeton Girl Choir, and a Peace

for the Millennium Service.

Arts Council: High School Dance with a DJ, $5.

YMCA: Middle School Dance with a DJ, $10.

At midnight, revelers meet in front of Nassau Hall for a


procession, refreshments, and Times Square-like celebration.

At the Aquarium

New Year’s Eve Party , New Jersey State Aquarium,

Camden, 856-365-3300. Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, Continental


entertainment by the Rhythm Orchestra, palm readers, fortunetellers,

and fireworks over the Delaware River. $500 per couple, $250


9 p.m.

Food & Dining

New Year’s Eve 2000: Mediterranean Tour , Mediterra,

609-252-9680. International fare, each of six courses served with

a different wine from around the world, vintage Champagne, and music

by a professional DJ. Call for menu and reservations. $225.

New Year’s Eve Celebration , Aranka’s Hungarian American

Restaurant, 3185 Route 27, Franklin Park, 732-297-8060. Live gypsy

music, four-course menu, and cold buffet at midnight.

Millennium Celebration Dinner , Main Street


Bistro & Bar, 301 North Harrison Street, 609-921-2779. A four


prix fixe dinner with Main Street’s favorite dishes and Champagne

toast to the year 2000. $60 per person. An early seating between 5:30

and 6:45 p.m. for classic a la carte menu.

New Year’s Eve Party , Santa Fe Grill, 137 Washington

Street, 609-683-8931. Seatings at 5 p.m. (no reservations necessary),

and 8 p.m. Late seating includes Champagne toast, midnight breakfast,

party favors, music, and margaritas for $1.99 all night). $99 per


The Great American Millennium Dinner , Gallagher’s


4355 Route 1, 609-452-2400. Classic menu, plus Champagne and live

entertainment, $79 per person. Double occupancy guest rooms at the

Holiday Inn for an additional $79.

Party of the Century , David’s Yellow Brick Toad,

Route 179, Lambertville, 609-397-7955. Six-course dinner at 5 p.m.,

or dinner and party at 8 p.m., including premium spirits, Champagne

toast at midnight, party favors, dancing to the music of Dave Hoeffel,

and Continental breakfast. Early Dinner: $50 per person. Late Party:


Carlucci’s , 335 Princeton-Hightstown Road, West Windsor,

609-936-0900. A la carte menu, Champagne toast, seatings begin at

4 p.m.

Sunny Garden , 15 Farber Road, Princeton, 609-520-1881.

Sushi, Dim Sum, chef’s specialities, Champagne, music, and party


8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. $75 per person. Call for reservations.

Teresa’s , 19-23 Palmer Square East, Princeton,


Five-course, prix fixe wine dinner, Champagne and music, $200 per


Theo’s Bar and Grill , Meadows at Middlesex Golf Course,

Plainsboro, 609-799-8315. Book holiday party now and get 10 percent


Overnight Revels

Millennium Getaway , Nassau Inn, 10 Palmer Square,

609-921-7500. Overnight accommodations for two, chilled bottle of

Champagne, chocolates from Thomas Sweet, buffet breakfast in the


Doodle Tap Room, and 2 p.m. late check out. $250 per double-occupancy

room. Millennium bash in the Yankee Doodle Tap Room for an additional

$49.95 per person (dinner at 5 p.m. with a Moet intermezzo) or $20

for party at 8 p.m. with Billy Hill’s rock band.

New Year’s Ballroom Package , Princeton Marriott,

201 Village Boulevard, 609-452-7900. $499 for a double-occupancy room,

dinner, dancing, breakfast.

New Year’s Eve at the Forrestal , Doral Forrestal,

100 College Road East, 609-452-7800. Choice of early Seafood Buffet

dinner at the Homestate Cafe, with open bar, music by the Tony


Orchestra, dancing, Champagne, party favors, and an optional guest

room, or late dining Italian-style at Gratella or Seafood Buffet in

the Ballroom. Stormy Weather, a seven-piece band playing `50s tunes,

performs at the Gratella, while Revelation plays `80s and `90s pop

music in the Ballroom. Champagne is free flowing, and the first meal

of the millennium is served at the Homestate Cafe at 12:30 a.m. $179

per couple for early package; $399 for the late dinners. Room for

two, $225.

Millennium Celebration , Hyatt Regency Princeton,

609-987-1234. Dining and dancing in the Ballroom, Catch A Rising Star,

or the Crystal Garden with open bar, balloon drop, and Champagne


The Ballroom package includes a room and bottle of champagne,

Surf and Turf dinner, big band music by Zephyr, and open bar until

1:30 a.m. Times Square celebration will be broadcast at midnight.

Guests also get a champagne buffet brunch and late check out at 2

p.m. $759 per couple.

The Crystal Garden is serving a specialty menu. This is cash

bar and DJ John Webber provides the music. $169 per person.

Gary DeLena is the comic at Catch a Rising Star, where there’s

an open bar and dinner from 8 until midnight. $199.

One Night In A Millennium , Hyatt Regency New


732-873-6640. Deluxe overnight room with a bottle of Champagne,


five-course dinner, open bar, swing and rock music by The Steven Sher

Orchestra, and brunch the next day. $749 per couple.

Ultimate Y2K Bash , Holiday Inn, Princeton, 4355

Ridge Road, 609-452-2400. Three days and two nights accommodations

and parties on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day for $600 per


Five hour open bar and gourmet buffet kicks off the Bash on

New Year’s Eve. A full buffet breakfast will be served on Sunday


late checkout.

Inn at Lambertville Station , 11 Bridge Street,


609-397-9744. Black-tie dinner, open bar until 1 a.m., and two nights

at the Inn with Saturday brunch for $825, includes tax and gratuity.

Hot Spots

New Year’s Eve , Harvest Moon Brewery, 392 George

Street, New Brunswick, 732-249-6666. Little T & One Track Mike, with

guests and champagne. $10. 8 p.m.

Cairo , Havana, 105 South Main Street, New Hope,

215-862-9897. 7 p.m.

Island party of the Millennium with the Flying Mueller

Brothers ,

KatManDu, Waterfront Park, Route 29, Trenton, 609-393-7300.

A four-man reggae/calypso band that’s more like a three-ring circus.

Also two DJs, satellite broadcast of Times Square, champagne toast,

breakfast at 1 a.m., and open bar until 4. $150. 8 p.m.

The VooDudes , Old Bay Restaurant, New Brunswick,

732-246-3111. Millennium New Year Mardi Gras. 10 p.m.

New Year’s Party , Polly Esthers, Forrestal Village,

609-716-1977. Open bar to 2 a.m., dancing to DJ music, champagne,

and Viennese dessert. $299. For $399, includes dinner at Mikado’s

. 8 p.m.

Tony Stacey Band , Triumph Brewing, 138 Nassau


609-924-7855. New Year’s Eve show, with Motown, rhythm & blues, and

funk. $10 cover. 9 p.m.

Millennium Bash , Yankee Doodle Tap Room, Palmer

Inn, 10 Palmer Square, 609-921-7500. Food and fun stations, Champagne

toast at midnight, Continental breakfast at 12:30 a.m., and music

by the Billy Hill band. $20. 8 p.m.

For Families

New Year’s Eve Family Night , Peddler’s Village,

Spotted Hog Restaurant, Route 202, Lahaska, 215-794-4000. Live


by Two of a Kind, plus hats, confetti, horns, balloons, magic, and

hourly millennial "countdowns." Seatings at 5 p.m., 7 p.m.,

and 9 p.m.

Holiday Festivities , Bucks County Historical


Mercer Museum, Pine & Ashland streets, Doylestown, 215-348-9461. The

Mercer and Michener museums throw open their doors to open the


6 to 10 p.m.

For Teens

High School Dance , Princeton Arts Council, 102


Street, 609-924-8777. Part of the Princeton Arts Council’s Millennium

Curtain Call. $5. 7 p.m.

Middle School Dance , Princeton YMCA, Paul Robeson

Place, 609-924-8777. Part of the Princeton Arts Council’s Millennium

Curtain Call. $10. 7 p.m.

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