Saturday, January 1, 2011

Empty City: New Year's Eve 2010


This post is merely an observation. I believe it is an observation worth making because at the moment it seemed very odd to me. But I really don't have the necessary knowledge to reach any conclusions.

Last night, during New Year's Eve, I went with my Mom to take a stroll in Condado to pass the time watching the lights and the people who went there to party. On the way a light drizzle started to fall, so I decided to take a brief detour to Old San Juan to look at the Christmas lights over there while we waited for the rain to stop. To my surprise, there was no traffic jam going into Old San Juan. Indeed, there was very little traffic on the way. San Juan was practically empty.

By then, the drizzle had stopped and we headed over to Condado to walk for a bit. We left our car at the Parque de la Laguna and walked towards Dos Hermanos bridge, at which point we entered Condado. It was the same story as in Old San Juan: streets with very few pedestrians, many closed restaurants, and very little activity, in spite of the fact that this New Year's Eve was on a Friday.

Of course, this is the first time I go to Old San Juan and Condado on a New Year's Eve, so I wouldn't know what would be normal for this occasion. But of all places that came to mind to pass a New Year's Eve, I thought that in Condado there would be a lot of activity and people in the streets. The fact that there weren't seemed very strange to me. Even the large hotels that usually host a New Year's Eve party seemed half-empty. Some of the restaurants that were open seemed to have a lot of people in them, but I didn't see enough of them to be able to say if this was the norm.

Is this an indication of the state of Puerto Rico's economy? I really don't know. But I think it worth finding out why we, who don't need many reasons to party, didn't party more on a New Year's Eve. We'll have to wait and see what the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián have to tell us.

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