Chicagoans welcome a new year and new decade

December 31, 2009 8:26:15 PM PST
With less than two hours to go in 2009, across Chicago there was plenty of music, fireworks and fun to help ring in the new year.Whether you stayed in and celebrated at home or went out to usher in 2010, there was plenty of excitement in the air.

A number of restaurants, clubs and hotels across Chicago were hosting big bashes.

Call it a trial run for midnight at Navy Pier, but for many families it was the real thing. Shortly after 8 p.m., they shot off the fireworks and celebrated the beginning of a new decade. For many families with young children, New Year's Eve poses issues with bedtimes and the like, so many find family-friendly celebrations like this.

"This is the best place to do it. I wouldn't be nowhere else," Donesha Scott said.

"I just sit back and have a glass of wine," once she takes the kids home, Sarita Gray-Jefferson said.

Other kid friendly celebrations include a Pump it up Party for the littler ones, and in Naperville, a whole variety of activities, including music, dancing to Radio Disney's Rockin' in New Year's Eve and a countdown at 8 p.m.

There are plenty of grown-up activities at Navy Pier as well. Crystal Gardens is hosting an exclusive dance party, and the ballroom is offering one of the better bargains around: $25 tickets for a band, D.J. and dancing, as well as a great view of the midnight fireworks.

In Rosemont, music rules the night as several bands keep it rocking through the early morning hours.

As the midnight hour approached, many were thinking about resolutions for the new year. "I've been thinking about it, but no not yet. ?11:59, I'll figure it out by then," Peter Cajigas said.

"It's time to celebrate, but I'm not into the whole New Year's resolution thing, I make resolutions daily," Kevin Nestel said.

"Oh gosh, I'm not sure I can talk about that on TV," Jennifer Spainhour said.

New Year's Eve safety

Chicago police had a plan in place to make sure everyone in the city has a safe New Year's Eve.

They offered details at a Thursday morning news conference.

Police say they want people to have fun, but they also want them to be responsible, so they are focusing on three things this New Year's Eve. One is cutting down on the number of drunk drivers. The second is enforcing a 10 p.m. curfew for everyone under 17. Lastly, they're hoping to discourage the practice of shooting into the air right at midnight.

The CPD's priority is to have everybody have a fun and safe entry into 2010.

No matter what people's plans are for the evening, the Chicago Police Department is asking everyone to celebrate responsibly.

"Extra DUI patrols and seatbelt enforcement will be implemented to insure safe travel to New Year's Eve parties and other destinations across the region," said Steve Georgas, assistant deputy police superintendent. "If you plan on drinking, we strongly advise you to arrange alternate transportation in advance. Do not drink and drive. Use CTA or designate a drive. Or take a taxi."

CTA is once again offering penny rides on all buses and trains.