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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: www.celestinevision.com.
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: www.miracledance2000.com.
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.
RU Y2K Ready?
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.
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 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.
University, 609-924-8777. Part of the Princeton Arts Council’s
Curtain Call. $20. 7 p.m.
Jazz & Blues
609-924-8777. Part of the Arts Council’s Millennium Curtain Call.
$40. 7 and 9:30 p.m.
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.
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.
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.
Greenwood Avenue, Hopewell, 609-466-2766. A Jewish son brings home
an Irish bride and a comic war ensues. $25. 7 p.m.
33, Hightstown, 609-448-8450. Country Western dancing and champagne.
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.
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
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
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
Food & Dining
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.
Restaurant, 3185 Route 27, Franklin Park, 732-297-8060. Live gypsy
music, four-course menu, and cold buffet at midnight.
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.
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
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.
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:
609-936-0900. A la carte menu, Champagne toast, seatings begin at
Sushi, Dim Sum, chef’s specialities, Champagne, music, and party
8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. $75 per person. Call for reservations.
Five-course, prix fixe wine dinner, Champagne and music, $200 per
Plainsboro, 609-799-8315. Book holiday party now and get 10 percent
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.
201 Village Boulevard, 609-452-7900. $499 for a double-occupancy room,
dinner, dancing, breakfast.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Street, New Brunswick, 732-249-6666. Little T & One Track Mike, with
guests and champagne. $10. 8 p.m.
215-862-9897. 7 p.m.
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.
732-246-3111. Millennium New Year Mardi Gras. 10 p.m.
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.
609-924-7855. New Year’s Eve show, with Motown, rhythm & blues, and
funk. $10 cover. 9 p.m.
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.
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.
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.
Street, 609-924-8777. Part of the Princeton Arts Council’s Millennium
Curtain Call. $5. 7 p.m.
Place, 609-924-8777. Part of the Princeton Arts Council’s Millennium
Curtain Call. $10. 7 p.m.
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