Questioning the Wisdom of Crowds

WSJ NYEDelightful article to help ring in the New Year by Ralph Gardner, Jr. in today’s Wall Street Journal, together with a creative illustration by Rob Shepperson.  One wonders about the collective wisdom of congregating in Times Square to help ring in the New Year.  After all, balls are dropping around the world every day.  I just can’t imagine the insanity that ensues in midtown Manhattan. You can find many interesting Times Square Ball Drop facts here, but they don’t tell you the costs involved.  A few years ago the cleanup cost was estimated at $53 thousand and change, but that seems low to me.  Aside from paying the workers for on the spot duty, there’s the cost of running the equipment and disposing of all the debris after the streets are cleaned.  The major cost probably comes from all the overtime pay required to insure that the area is safe and secure, which goes on well before the party begins and continues long after it ends.  Mayor Bloomberg is a pretty savvy financier, so I’d imagine the cost to NYC is well worth the return on investment of the tourism it attracts.  Or at this stage is the spectacle of it all its own institution that defies dismantling?  The New Year’s Eve Times Square mania has become as part of Americana as the inane wave of Today Show shivering gawkers.  Remember the rule: you must wave using only your elbow as the pivot, and keep that arc lateral and tight.  When the camera isn’t panning on them for the cutesy little side-to-side window smudge wiping wave, you can see how much fun the crowd is really having.


So here’s to my list of New Year’s Resolutions, beginning with #1: be cheerful and optimistic all year long.  See?  Sometimes it’s good to dispense with unrealistic resolutions right off the bat.  Now I can move on to Resolution #2, which is to surround myself with people who are cheerful and optimistic.  Seriously, some of my best friends are people.



About Leonard J. Press, O.D., FAAO, FCOVD

Developmental Optometry is my passion as well as occupation. Blogging allows me to share thoughts in a unique visual style.
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2 Responses to Questioning the Wisdom of Crowds

  1. Michael Gallaway says:

    I love some good curmudgeonly observations. Well done, Len. That cheerful optimism is so transparent.

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