A cross-cultural New Year's Eve for the whole family

From the March 26, 2001 Issue of New York

One more ball drop in Times Square and you'll scream, right? This year, we're going to Philly for a New Year's Eve high-low, cross-cultural extravaganza. Think Vienna Philharmonic meets Mardi Gras. New Year's Eve day, catch the Pennsylvania Ballet's first-rate Nutcracker, then enjoy a superb dinner at the new Avenue B (the executive chef comes from Le Cirque 2000; the braised lamb shank, mushroom risotto, lobster, and fingerling-potato salad are standouts). Then it's the annual Philadelphia Orchestra Gala New Year's Eve concert, conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch in the new Raphael Vignoly-designed Kimmel Center. Last year's concert ended with the whole audience clapping along to Strauss's "Radetzky March." Then fireworks over the Ben Franklin Bridge, and for later-night revelers, champagne and oysters at the Novelty in Old City. New Year's Day, watch the wacky, wonderful Mummers Parade (with spectacular Mardi Gras-style costumes, see right) from the windows of your room in the hot new Loews hotel in Center City: Think Ian Schrager on a grand scale. Its world-class spa-gym and indoor pool will dazzle and soothe. Check out the post-parade Mummers Fest at the Convention Center before heading back to NYC. Sure beats the IRT at 2 a.m.

Loews Hotel, 215-627-1200 (rooms start at $175); Pennsylvania Ballet, 215-551-7000; Philadelphia Orchestra, 215-893-1955; Avenue B, 215-790-0705; Novelty, 215-627-7885, open till 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve.