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All About Eve

6:02 p.m., Have a Nice Day Cafť, Power Plant Live!

"We sell out every year," says Beth M'yer, 26, the Cafťís promotions manager. "We open at 9, and we can close as late as we want to, but itís usually around 3. Usually by then everyone is so wasted we really canít serve them anymore anyway."

1:30 a.m., Broadway and Thames Street, Fells Point

"Iíve only got five people tonight," says stretch Hummer limo driver David Bowman. "Five guys. It holds 14. They have it out till 4:30, but I hope they want to go home after this. Itís just about 40 feet long. To buy one would cost around $120,000. Gas mileage? I have to hit every gas pump I go by."

7:15 a.m., Patterson Park Pagoda

A Morniní Patterson 5k run/walk is scheduled for this morning at 7. Only a few runners are out as a spectacular dawn sky spills over Baltimore. One anonymous female runner makes a good clip through the park, though she declines to be interviewed: "Iím sorry, I donít have time to talk," she calls back.

Happy New Year. Can we go home now? H

5:45 a.m., Sip and Bite, Canton

The 24-hour diner is overflowing with pie-eyed and hungry revelers. (One flustered waitress is overheard saying how she had already put in to not work next New Yearís.) Eli Worth, 26, is a conductor and the self-appointed spokesman for a group of well-dressed musicians who had spent the night at the Big Night Baltimore party at M&T Bank Stadium. "2003 was a wonderful exploration of the inner soul which I hope to see come to fruition in 2004," he notes, adding, "The eggs are excellent. If you quote me, explain that I started drinking at 7."

4:12 a.m., Bohagerís, Fells Point

Overflowing trash cans outnumber patrons as things wind down at the cityís ultimate mega-bar. "Iím ready to go home, have about five drinks, and go to fucking sleep," says Tony Cross, 23, a bar back. "Iíve been here since 6:30. It was a good night. Best weíve had in a couple of months. I figure we had about 1,500 people. We had six cases of Champagne."

Midnight, J. Patrickís Irish Pub, Locust Point

Ray Kazmierski, 65, and his wife, Rosanna, 62, have two children and two grandchildren. "I havenít kissed my old lady in 41 years," Ray protests. "Iím going to be in the City Paper--a right-wing, conservative Christian? I thought you said you were with The Sun."

3:30 a.m., Ritz Cabaret Gentlemanís Club, Fells Point

"This is my first New Yearís working," says Dylan, 25, a legal secretary by day and a nude dancer by night. "Itís pretty fun. I got here at 7 this evening. Most the guys coming in were single. The first thing I look for is a wedding ring. Most of the guys didnít seem very happy.

"If I wouldnít have been here tonight, I would have been home by myself. Isnít that sad?"

2 a.m., near the Broadway Market, Fells Point

"City Paper? Get me up in that bitch!" blurts Christopher Lee Burton, 26. "I got this coat in New York City. My mother got it for me for Christmas. Itís seal. Most people think itís rabbit or bear, but itís actually seal. I had this one girl go crazy on me--cussing me out for wearing this fur. I cussed her back. Everybody else has liked it. I ainít cold. I tell you--Iím up in this bitch sweating. My friends are inside, but I had to come out here. Sweating to death in this coat."

10:23 p.m., Baltimore City Police Mobile Station, Broadway and Thames Street, Fells Point

"Weíve got a police presence here as a precaution, just to make sure things stay safe," says Lt. Mich'l Pristoop, the officer in charge. "In the Fells Point area, Iíd say we have about 70 officers. On a normal weekend night we might have 12 to 15. Iím sure [the officers] would rather be home, but I havenít heard any complaints. There is a little extra pay for working New Yearís Day . . . that will kick in at midnight."

12:41 a.m., Jan. 1, the Hippo, Mount Vernon

"I like to dance a lot," says Danielle Franco, 24, a native of Venezuela whoís been in Baltimore two years. "Iím always exercising to get my body like this. I donít drink and I donít smoke. For New Yearís Iím looking for a boyfriend. I wish I could find a boyfriend tonight. I like shy guys . . . like you."

10:32 p.m., 1700 block of Thames Street, Fells Point

"Iím out here a lot besides New Yearís," says Esther Trueheart, 46, who studied flute at Morgan State University. She was collecting tips in a coffee can. "By the time the raging drunks are out here, Iíll be gone. A friend of mine is driving me to a Buddhist meeting tomorrow morning. New Yearís Day is a big holiday for Buddhists because itís considered a time of new beginning."

7:45 p.m., the Chip House, Calvert Street (a Charles Village group home that hosts Alcoholics Anonymous meetings)

Alcothons--essentially, AA meetings held back-to-back all day--are scheduled around the holidays. "Being New Yearís, Iím surprised there are not more people here," says 85-year-old Ed. "This is supposed to be an alcothon, when one person after another takes the secretaryship or chair. I donít know if that will happen tonight. . . . This is one of the most supportive places you can come to. When Iím in Baltimore, I come here every other day. I havenít had a drink for 34 years."

5:26 p.m., Dec. 31, City Hall Plaza

"For New Yearís Iím looking to be totally transformed," says Dwayne White, 40, who acknowledges that substance abuse has led him to be homeless off and on for two years. "I want my life to change. Iím not mad at anyone. I made these choices. I want to do something different. My youngest daughter said to me, ĎDaddy, I need you.í So tonight Iím going to work [cleaning up at a downtown nightclub], going to stay clean and sober, and tomorrow--God willing--Iím going to get up and visit my children. I want to be a husband and a father again. Iím looking forward to it."

10:28 p.m., Dec. 31, Fells Point
8:52 p.m., Baltimore Travel Plaza, Interstate 95, exit 57, OíDonnell Heights

Robert, 59, is a Baltimore-based long- and short-haul truck driver whoís been behind the wheel for 38 years. He was off New Yearís Eve and Day. (He says many drivers--and many trucking companies--donít want to have a rig on the road around New Yearís out of fear of sharing the road with drunk drivers.) "This job is not for a married man," he says. "The holidays make it worse. It can be a lonely time. Iíll be here at midnight. Iím not trying to bring in the New Year with a bang or anything. I probably wonít even know when it comes in. Iíll just be here. I might go back to the truck and just stay in there. Just another day."

By Brennen Jensen and Christopher Myers | Posted 1/7/2004

Remember those unwieldy, ready-for-your-coffee-table A Day in the Life photo books that were all the rage a few years back? There was A Day in the Life of America, of Israel, of Ireland, of Hawaii. In each, an army of photojournalists hit the streets to document 24 hours in the given location. Dozens of photographers. Twenty-four hours.

Well, put those books out of your mind. We didn't do that. Not quite. We documented a mere 14-odd hours, which was damn long enough. And in lieu of an army of picture takers and caption collectors, there was just us two: Myself, your humble scribe, and fighting-to-focus-in-pitch-black-conditions photographer Christopher Myers. Our project: A Day . . . er, Night . . . in the Life of Baltimore New Year's.

Writer Charles Lamb said, "New Year's Day is every man's birthday." So, yeah, partying is the principal activity on the Eve. But then there's more to Dec. 31/Jan. 1 than ripped revelers in paper hats making a sloppy conga line. Some punch the clock instead of party. Others have to deal with the demons of excess amid all the egregious overindulging. Then there are those for whom New Year's means, well, nothing at all. We tried to capture as many pieces of the New Year's puzzle as time, traffic, and caffeine would allow.

Here's a by-the-numbers look at New Year's as we experienced it: fights witnessed (3), public pukings stumbled upon (2), stretch SUVs seen in traffic (4), drunk fat guys in diapers (0), carloads of besotted twentysomethings screaming, "Woo! woo!" (2), women interviewed who were wearing G-strings and see-through tops (1), kisses received at midnight (0).

Greasy dinner at a truck stop: $17.90. Greasy breakfast at an all-night diner: $13.20. Finally falling into bed around 8 a.m.: Priceless.

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