How to Be the First in the US To Ring In New Year’s Eve
Want to do something different for New Year’s Eve? Something other than standing around a friend’s house counting the seconds and wondering how you’re going to dodge the police roadblocks on the way home? Or watching the ball drop in Times Square on television?
Well, for all you type-A personalities, early adopters and Ricky Bobby wannabes (“If you ain’t first, you’re last”) why not celebrate New Year’s Eve before all the rest? Before the commoners, the huddled masses and the hoi polloi?
The easternmost position in the territorial United States is Point Udall on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands and it does attract a few visitors looking to ring out the old. Unfortunately, you’ll have to bring the party with you as there are no hotels, clubs or restaurants. For that kind of fun you’ll have to go back into the heart of St. Croix.
The Divi Carina Bay Casino is said to throw a pretty good bash. Check out the St. Croix events calendar here for a listing of more New Year’s Eve things to do. Or you can take a hop over to the Bahamas for the Junkanoo celebration—a street party with parades reminiscent of Mardi Gras.
If we limit the search to the continental US, the point farthest east is West Quoddy Head in Maine. Like Point Udall, though, this is mostly a rocky outcropping that offers little in the way of entertainment other than an historic lighthouse. Still, that doesn’t stop a few hearty souls from venturing out at sunrise the next morning to catch the first rays of light of the coming year. If you can’t live without the nightlife, drive back west a couple hours to Bangor, where the annual Downtown Countdown celebration will take place featuring the BDN Maine NYE Gala (formal-attire only, please) and downtown establishments hosting live entertainment for the more casually-minded.
Should you prefer delayed gratification, though, you could always be the last to celebrate. The westernmost point in the territorial United States is…believe it or not, Point Udall in Guam. That’s right, whether you go as far east or as far west as you can in the US, you’ll still wind up in a place named “Point Udall.” It’s not just a coincidence, either. Point Udall in the US Virgin Islands was named for Stewart Udall who was Secretary of the Interior under President John F. Kennedy and, later, President Lyndon Johnson. The Udall in Guam, however, was named after the brother of Stewart Udall—Morris “Mo” Udall—a prominent congressman who served in the House of Representatives for three decades. When a bill to rename what had been “Orote Point” to Point Udall was presented, Ben Blaz, the congressional delegate from Guam said “”If our legislation is approved, America’s day would begin and end at a Point Udall.”
So, you can be first. Or you can be last. Or you can go to the International Date Line and try for both at once. Personally, I’d rather fall asleep on the couch.