(Photo by Phil Riggan,

Reading this morning’s Times Dispatch article about the NYE ball rising in Carytown rubs me the wrong way. RVA has a complex of hosting really fun “community” events BUT when they get too big, too popular, or too crowded with uninvited people, they scale them back or cancel them all together.

I may be wrong but just last year wasn’t there all this back and forth about Carytown getting too crowded? The Carytown Association not being able to pay for on and so on. So then everything moved last minute to Hardywood – all good. I was disappointed last year but understood some of that. But now since the good folks at RVA Mag, Tony Harris, Jimmy Budd, and others (that I know I’m leaving out) have decided to take a major leadership role and host a huge free party on Brown’s Island for NYE – they are hoping for 10K – now Carytown is once again raising the ball again on NYE at NY Deli. What? And it’s cool because it’s small. What? I’m not with that.

This has the feel of classic RVA exclusion. I’m thinking about the whole First Fridays fiasco when they tried to shut it down because it was again too crowded with uninvited guest. To be honest, the Richmond Times-Dispatch probably shouldn’t have printed the article — we don’t want it to actual catch on…right. Again, I’m open to debate on this but my initial read is cynical because it feels like classic RVA exclusion. I’m not with that.

Richmond need to figure out ways how to handle growth and inclusion. Shutting down popular events and then restarting them when it’s scaled back is not the answer. I’m very proud of the people leading the effort on Brown’s Island and a bit disappointed in this last ditch effort in Carytown to raise the ball. But I could be wrong…tell me why in the comments. #WESEEIT


  • Swerve360 says:

    You’re spot on Cheats Classic RVA false dress codes and hiding the shitty bus routes that don’t connect the dots…like people wanting to move away from the city but still claim it’s rich tradition and Henrico and Chesterfield never wanting to join or do business with the city…And from day one the ball rising[the fact the ball rises instead of falls] is a dumb “we’re gonna be different for the sake of being different” idea…..

  • Zach says:

    Everybody is invited the the Noon Years Eve block impromptu block party in front of the Lamplighter on Addison. n.o.b.s will be laying down the groove and the ball will drop at noon! Kid and pet friendly! Free fun is the best fun. 1130-1230 Wednesday December 31 2014 come ring one last party out of the new year.

  • Pres says:

    I was glad to see a business in Carytown do something for New Years and I am disappointed that it will not be happening anymore. For me Carytown has what I want for a fun night, a decent choice of fun bars. Freezing by the water on a windy Browns island sounds terrible.

    I am new to Richmond so I didn’t recognize the exclusion. With more options comes less crowding. What can be done to solve the crowding issue? Specifically safety and parking.

  • Todd A. Schall-Vess says:

    You certainly make some valid points in general about how events seem to get handled in RVA. Carytown NYE I can speak to a bit more specifically since I have been involved from the start. It’s important to understand that despite the way it was portrayed to the media, the opinions about Carytown NYE getting too big were not universal. The movement to stop the event was set in motion by a small but extremely vocal group of merchants and there were many merchants and people living in the area who were dismayed to see it forced out. The media message last year made it sound as if all of the merchants were against it and that simply isn’t true….in fact, the CMA doesn’t represent all of the businesses in Carytown…,membership isn’t required. So some of us tried to bring the ball back to Carytown because we wanted to see it continue, not because we were trying to downsize it….we simply figured that, no longer being the only game in town, it would BE a smaller turnout and tried to present it like that to alleviate remaining concerns amongst others….certainly I was never happy about moving nor the prospect of it being smaller. (Although the crowd at Hardywood last year DID really seem to enjoy the proximity of the ball) What I was interested in was not seeing the tradition end after 8 years of NYE ball rises. Which brings us to SWERVE360’s comment…..As I have repeated over and over again over the years, having the ball rise instead of drop was ONLY because of practicality…..because I did not want the end point to be lower and thus visible to fewer people than the start point….ending at the top means the maximum number of people could see it and it could be seen further away. It was not “being different for the sake of being different”.

  • Thanks for adding more context Todd. I’ve learned a lot the last 24 hours about the background of the Carytown event and appreciate everyone’s input on the subject. Adding context and this dialogue is helpful to me personally and overall I believe is good for RVA as a community. Again, I appreciate you adding more detail and truly best of luck – as we all try to move RVA forward together.

  • Sharkspeare says:

    As a Former Carytown merchant, and a former member of the CMA, let me just add that this organization was (is?) run by the West End ladies who own boutiques that are only open Tuesdays from 2-4 pm, because they have to be home when Forrest Hunter Tucker III (or as she calls him, “hubby”) comes through the door. Caring about what might benefit the owners who actually have to make a living from their stores is about the last priority.

  • Alicia C. says:

    First off, I wish there weren’t grammar errors in this post (sorry, the Comm major in me…) but I agree with this. I graduated from VCU and chose not to stay in RVA partially because of this reason. The people of Richmond want to progress and make it a cool, hip, cutting edge town, but events like the Carytown ball drop and the mentality behind it are really holding the city back.

  • I’ve lived within a few blocks from Carytown for the better part of my life. Good times and not so good times. I am thrilled they aren’t having a NYE event. The problem isn’t even the event itself. The problem is the people that come and disrespect our neighborhood. People threw trash all over and decided that our yards and alleys were meant to be peed on. I even had a guy tell me, “Hey, it’s the city!”. Next morning folks are out cleaning up Carytown with no regard to helping clean up the neighborhood. Nope. No disappointment here!

  • Joe says:

    The Carytown event was never going to last. Poor planning and poor execution were going to kill it any way. The City did what they needed to to protect themselves and put and end to it. Get over it and enjoy a better planned event on Brown’s Island. That event is sustainable and, hopefully, will last for years to come.

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