The American Society Rio Community Notebook
“New Year’s Eve, where auld acquaintance be forgot.
Unless, of course, those tests come back positive.” – Jay Leno (1950-),
American stand-up comedian and current host
of the NBC television network’s Tonight Show
A NEW YEAR OF LADIES’ NIGHTS
Ladies, the tradition we launched last year continues in 2011 with more thirst-quenching fun! It’s American Society Rio’s Ladies’ Night Out. Held on the first Thursday of every month, the next one comes ‘round on Thursday, January 6th. Relaxation starts at 8:00 pm at Gula Gula, Av. Henrique Dumont, 57 in Ipanema. Valet parking is available. Your leading lady is Kathleen Coogan, who has reserved the covered open-air bar area in the rear of the restaurant. So, if you lack the “Y” chromosome, hot foot it to Ipanema and raise a glass with all the other ladies there!
THE BIGGEST PARTY ON THE PLANET
If someone wants to challenge that assessment, feel free, but one would be hard pressed to think of anything that rivals the scope and scale of the blowout celebration that is New Year’s in Rio de Janeiro. Most readers probably know that Copacabana Beach is the main event. Over 2 million people will be there when the first of the fireworks go off at midnight, and if you want to be among them, you should make immediate plans, including how to get there.
If you intend to take the metrô, be aware that as of 7:00 pm, entrance to all trains will be strictly limited to those who have special New Year’s metrô cards, or Cartões Especiais de Réveillon; sales of which will benefit two not-for-profit organizations, Entre Amigas and Ressurgir. The cards are only valid for specific blocks of hours (7:00-8:00 pm, 8:00-9:00 pm, 9:00-10:00 pm, 10:00-11:00 pm and 11:00 pm-midnight). A roundtrip card costs R$5,00. One-way cards in either direction are available for R$2,80, but return cards are only valid between midnight and 5:00 am. As of this writing, cards may only be purchased at the Central, Carioca and Largo do Machado metrô stations.
Your other option for getting to Copacabana is to take public transportation, either a taxi or a bus. Early is better, although both are allowed into Copacabana during the evening. Don’t even think about driving your own car because parking will be banned in most of the usual spots and access will be denied, even to residents, after 6:00 pm. Plus, if you celebrate with champagne, the Lei Seca (which you can be certain will be enforced on New Year’s) demands that you have a designated driver. Click here to read more (in Portuguese) about Rio’s special routing of traffic for New Year’s Eve.
There will be worthwhile celebrations elsewhere, both large and small. One we might mention, which seems to almost always hide in plain sight, is the fireworks display in Parque do Flamengo. Although not as big or as famous as the one in Copacabana, it will be longest one in Rio (an estimated 25 minutes). Spectators on Flamengo Beach also have a great view, across Guanabara Bay, of the Icaraí fireworks as they go off in Niterói!
Of course, we can’t possibly mention all of your celebratory options, but if you click here, you can learn more about where the big fireworks/concert events will be taking place around the Marvellous City and who will be on hand to entertain you.
THIS TIME, IT’S PERSONAL
It’s the same every year. One annual cycle concludes and gives way to another. Nothing so remarkable and yet, for some reason, it always is. We take account, take stock, reflect back and, of course, look ahead. The closer we get to that moment of simultaneous ending and beginning, there comes that peculiar sensation of loss, sadness and even regret, which is almost totally consumed by the elation of the new. And that newness, at least for a time, seems to coat everything. Promise and opportunities abound. We have before us a fresh sheet of paper upon which to write tomorrow’s stories. Maybe, then, it’s fitting that here in Brazil, we have the tradition of wearing only white for Reveillon. And so, as you and yours prepare to greet 2011, on behalf of the Board of Governors of the American Society of Rio de Janeiro, the editors of your Community Notebook would like to wish all of you a New Year filled with health, prosperity, peace, laughter, merriment and joy.
Happy New Year!
- Michael Royster / Steve Spencer