New Year’s Eve at Gateway Harbor

Crowds waiting for the ball drop will be served by vendors offering Asian noodle dishes and skewers, Cajun cuisine, pizza, doughnuts, hot dogs and more from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday, Sweeney and Webster streets, North Tonawanda.


It’s a funny song, “Auld Lang Syne.” You want it nostalgic, slightly square, not too flip, not too hip. You could design your own, with someone on piano, everyone singing those nostalgic Robert Burns words. You could get friends together and tackle a warm, witty arrangement by a contemporary of Burns, Ludwig van Beethoven. Party like it’s 1799! Here are five fine gentlemen to consider:

Duke Ellington, on “The Reprise Studio Recordings.” The master of elegant understatement, Ellington gives the song a romantic, after-hours feel.

Rod Stewart (right), on “Merry Christmas Baby.” Don’t forget, he’s a Scot. To simple accompaniment, he sings the song rather well in his raspy rocker’s voice. And yes, he brings in bagpipes.

Jeffrey Biegel, piano, on “A Steinway Christmas Album.” This brief, lovely solo piano rendition is simple and elegant without being corny. You will feel as if you’re in a movie.

Andre Rieu, on “Der Jahrtausendfest.” Excessive and satisfying, this starts with Rieu’s violin and builds to soaring bagpipes and thundering drums.

Al Jolson, on “After You’ve Gone.” Jolson was always an old-timer, and this album has a muffled old-vinyl sound. Jolson croons for a verse and then pulls out the stops.

– Mary Kunz Goldman