BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (CBS) — Just under two hours before the start of a New Year, we found no shortage of people out celebrating Thursday night – despite the pandemic.
CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross found a hot spot in Bridgeview – though “hot spot” doesn’t have quite the same meaning as usual this year. Still, there was music and high energy – two things that have been scarce since the coronavirus pandemic began.
It’s uncharacteristically quiet this New Year’s Eve as ‘L’ trains go by in the night. No one was prepared for the derailed metaphorical train trip that was the year 2020.
“It veered, fell off the tracks,” said Jon Landon.
But many were well-prepared to celebrate its final stop.
In Bridgeview, revelers put it in park to drive into 2021. A roster of DJs played while those who came to celebrate enjoyed it all from the safety of their cars.
Still, kids and adults were rockin’ as the New Year came a-knockin’ – getting out and dancing in their masks. And there was festivity with precautions in other places besides Bridgeview.
“All my friends have been texting me, like, ‘Hey, what’s going on tonight?’” said Tim Smith, who went to Wrigleyville. “I’m like, ‘Hey, it’s all low-key.”
In Wrigleyville, the bars were decorated to party – albeit with no one drinking inside. And the party was going to be over before midnight.
“They’re all closing at 11, so it’s a little different this year,” Smith said.
The early close meant toasting at 6 p.m., 8 p.m., and 10 p.m. at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted St., which has outdoor seating. They didn’t expect a huge turnout, as COVID concerns kept many at home – and kept Chicago Police busy.
Officers said they would be watching for those passing into the New Year so they don’t pass on the coronavirus in large crowds.
“We’ll finish up the evening at home,” Smith said.
When asked what he was doing for New Year’s Eve, Landon said, “Actually, to be honest, I dressed up – this is pretty much it.”
Landon would normally be putting on a celebration for thousands at Navy Pier. But for the first time in 15 years, the virus crashed that party – which won’t be happening again until next year.
“We want to entertain people. We want to work,” Landon said, “It just – it feels awful. I mean, it just feels terrible.”
So say goodbye to that pain that 2020’s train hauled in all too frequently. In the next stop in 2021, we all hope to celebrate on a platform together.
“You know what? Stay in this year,” Landon said. “Next year, we’ve got it. Crystal Gardens, Navy Pier, New Year’s Eve.”
Landon hopes by this summer, we will start to see crowds gathering together. Until then, he advises masking up, social distancing, and getting a vaccination when it’s available.
And a happy and healthy New Year to all.
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