Just before midnight, fireworks cascaded from the top of Reunion Tower, celebrating the end of 2020 and the beginning of a new year. If ever a departing year deserved a “don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out,” this was it. With many of the normal New Year’s Eve gatherings canceled or strictly downsized, it was reassuring to see at least one Dallas tradition still standing. And yes, in Dallas, five years qualifies as a tradition.
Our list of Festivus grievances was long this year, and the number of minor miracles short indeed. One minor miracle that did not occur was snow on New Year's Eve. Instead a just-above freezing rain lashed the city for two days, finally turning into a fine mist before the show began, cold and wet and ugly. So 2020.
Not that the weather bothered the attendees, because (theoretically at least) there weren’t any. Remember, this was still 2020 and we can’t have nice things. The show was meant to be primarily an online viewing experience. I know, right? Fireworks on TV? How kick ass is that? The normal places to watch, like the lovely lawn of Reunion Park, were closed to the public. The adjacent parking lots? Closed. Double decker parking lot off the Houston Street bridge? Closed. Thanks 2020, we appreciate the final reminder.
This photographer eschewed the opportunity for a media pass, a tent, and maybe a bad cup of coffee and a porta potty, because, as an Observer contributor, I am of the people. Instead, along with hundreds of other freedom-loving Texans, doubled-parked on the Houston Street bridge, where not only was there an unsupervised COVID-defying gathering, but the traffic hazards of unplanned lane closures as well. Together we had a great and unobstructed view of Reunion Tower across the empty fields and parking lots.
Looking to the east, a full two lanes of traffic on the Interstate 35 just stopped and put on their blinkers. An ambulance heading to Parkland struggled to get through the remaining lane, its horns and sirens sounding like those crazy NYE party favors. I’m not sure who the first person to come to a full stop on the city’s most dangerous stretch of road was, but he/she/they certainly have some big ones.
The year 2020 finally left us last night, and like that least favorite relative that overstayed their visit, the reaction was more relief than celebration. We still have a lot of cleaning up to do, and some hard feelings to get over, but hey, the good news is they’re gone.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.