No L.A. New Year’s Celebration, Again

Last night I spent my seventh New Year’s Eve here in sunny Los Angeles, and my mind is still boggled by the fact that there is no public celebration anywhere in town.

New York City has the famous ball drop in Times Square, Chicago has fireworks at Navy Pier, even Las Vegas has fireworks shooting from the Strip hotels. But Los Angeles, the second largest city in the nation, has nothing.

I’ve always thought it would be a great idea to incorporate the Hollywood sign into a celebration. You could have “2012” in large numbers behind the sign, and light each digit as the seconds count down. Then, fire conditions permitting, you could shoot off fireworks at the sign. Nice and simple.

I guess I’d have to host a party from my balcony!

Apparently similar ideas have been floated before, only to be met by opposition from greedy Hollywood business owners who don’t like the idea of people being out on the street instead of spending money on their overpriced booze.

The city would likely be against it as well since it would mean large crowds forming, and it doesn’t appear that Angelenos know how to act in a crowd (witness the Lakers victory celebrations), and it doesn’t appear the LAPD knows how to handle such crowds (May Day 2007).

But here’s the thing — a Hollywood sign celebration would not necessarily result in a huge, Times Square-style crowd. There are literally hundreds of places around town where people can see the Hollywood sign. Everybody has their favorite vantage point. I think smaller, manageable crowds would end up gathering at all of these viewing spots, making it easier for police to control things.

Maybe this is not the best idea, but there must be something that we can do to ring in the new year rather than watch three-hour old videotape of a glass ball dropping 3,000 miles away. We have 365 days (we get one extra day because of leap year!) to figure it out.

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