Felton spends NYE in NYC

Ellyn Felton of Monticello spent her New Year’s Eve in Times Square in New York City. She rang in 2017 with friend Elizabeth Snyder of Cedar Rapids. For Felton, this is one trip she can cross off her bucket list. The gals spent about a week in New York, taking in the famed tourist spots, including the giant Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. (Photos submitted)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Some people spend New Year’s Eve going out for supper and staying out all night. Others attend or plan small private gatherings. Still others prefer to maintain a low profile and stay at home watching the ball drop in Times Square on their television set.

     But one Monticello gal decided she was going to spend New Year’s Eve and ringing in 2017 actually in Times Square in New York City.

     Ellyn Felton, a senior at Wartburg College in Waverly, left Iowa on Dec. 28 for NYC and returned home on Jan. 3.

     Felton is no stranger to NYC; her older sister lived there for a time. But this trip, spending New Year’s in the most crowded city on Dec. 31, was one item she can now cross off her bucket list.

     “It was not a spur of the moment trip,” prefaced Felton. She explained the idea was actually brought up last fall, 2016.

     Felton texted her friend, Elizabeth Snyder from Cedar Rapids, in early October about going to NYC. She said she sent her text at 6 p.m., and by 10 p.m. that night they had their flight booked.

     They duo saved a ton of money by staying at another friend’s place only a mile walk from Times Square.

     Felton, like many others, always stayed home on New Year’s Eve, watching the concerts on TV as the minutes ticked closer to midnight. This year, she actually got to take in those concerts live. They were able to see the likes of Rachel Platten, Gavin DeGraw, Thomas Rhett, as well as the now-infamous “concert” by Mariah Carey.

     Felton explained the scene in Times Square is a bit hectic. She said you meet people from all walks of life from all over the world. They talked with people from Columbia and the Dominic Republic while waiting for the festivities to begin. As the ball dropped, Felton said they witnessed the couple from Columbia get engaged.

     There are multiple concert stages set up in and around Times Square for the multitude of artists set to perform that evening.

     “Our view was not that bad,” said Felton.

     There were also many TV screens set up to allow everyone to see the shows on the stage.

     Felton and Snyder left their accommodations and headed for Times Square at around 10 a.m. on New Year’s morning. She said with so much time spent to waste they were able to see the musicians come out for sound check, all except Mariah Carey.

     “She never came out to warm up. You could tell she was lip syncing the whole time,” recalled Felton. “She started talking to the crowd and her track continued to play in the background.”

     Felton said once Carey stopped performing and just stood on stage, the crowd around them erupted with “boos.”

     Once you are packed in at Times Square, Felton warned it’s nearly impossible to leave to buy food, water or to use the restroom some place.

     “We had snacks with us and a bottle of water,” she said.

     They were able to get a great spot standing around 42nd or 43rd Street and Broadway.

     “We were there for 12 or more hours,” she said.

     To pass the time, the gals played cards and got to know the people around them. Felton said they were not worried one bit about their safety while there, with thousands of law enforcement officials out and about.

     As the New Year rang in all around the globe, the Times Square ball was dropped every hour as a practice countdown. But, as the New Year countdown began for NYC, she said the excitement level rose throughout the crowd.

     After the clock truck midnight, Felton said confetti poured to the ground. She said there were mounds of it covering the streets below.

     Not in a hurry to get back to their bungalow, they remained in Times Square for another hour or more.

     “We pretty much spent our entire day there,” said Felton. “We walked back, not in a rush to get home.” Felton said they walked past groups of law enforcement and thanked them for their service as well.

     Aside from spending New Year’s in Times Square, Felton also took in a New York Rockettes’ show, went to the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building, toured Central Park, One World Trade Center, and American Museum of Natural History. They also took their own TV/movie tour of NYC.

     “This was definitely a highlight to end and start the year,” said Felton, just a day after returning to Iowa.

     Felton will graduate from Wartburg in May. She is the daughter of Mike and Nancy Felton.


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