HOW TO HOST A PAINLESS NEW YEAR'S PARTY
The at-home New Year’s Eve doesn’t have to be a moribund, couch-potato evening of pizza and Ryan Seacrest.
Invite no more than ten people and set the arrival time for 9 p.m. to make sure guests don’t flag before midnight.
Make a trip to Brooklyn Liquors at Costco (976 Third Ave., nr. 37th St.; 718-499-2257). Keep the drink menu simple (and cheap): Buy two boxes of Peter Vella (five-liter boxed wine, $9.49) and the requisite champagne (Veuve Clicquot, $415.83 a case). Make everyone wear at least one festive accessory, like a paper sailor hat from John Derian ($3, 6 E. 2nd St., at Bowery; 212-677-3917), and pass out prosperity-summoning party favors from Pearl River Mart (477 Broadway, nr. Broome St.; 212-431-4770), like multicolored foil dragons ($4.50) or lion heads ($7.50). Start conversations by polling guests for their predictions for 2007. Write responses down on a card that you can bring out at next year’s party.
Instead of a sit-down dinner, pick up an extended menu of hors d’oeuvre from Trader Joe’s (142 E. 14th St., nr. Irving Pl.; 212-529-4612; $4.95 to $14.95 for delivery). Roll out a new option every half-hour to keep everyone’s blood sugar elevated. Start with coconut-curry chicken sticks ($2.99), followed by potato-and-Cheddar pirogen ($2.69), and peanut-butter-stuffed pretzels ($2.99). At 10:30 p.m., when everyone’s blood alcohol is peaking, convene for a special game of Celebrity limited to those who’ve disgraced themselves in 2006. Don’t turn on the television until 11:50 p.m., when you can start passing out dessert: delicious vegan cupcakes ($2.95 each at Babycakes NYC, 248 Broome St.; 212-677-5047).
Invite everyone to sleep over; in the morning, welcome 2007 by ordering a “Taste of New York” special from H&H Bagels (two dozen bagels and two three-ounce packs each of salmon and cream-cheese spreads for $89.95 plus delivery; 800-692-2435).