Notable New Yorkers tell us their New Year’s resolutions for 2013

We asked some of our favorite New Yorkers to reflect on 2012 and divulge their aspirations for 2013.

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We asked New York-based comedians, actors, musicians, chefs, designers and authors what they liked most and least about 2012, and what their New Year's resolutions are. If their humble aspirations ("eat more vegetables," "be better at things") inspire you to change yourself in the coming year, look at our self-improvement and fitness guides for ideas.

  • Photograph: Andreas Laszlo Konrath

    Benjamin Walker, actor, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (catonahottinroofbroadway.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    Going to the Middle East to the premiere of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for all our troops on board the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. It was an honor and an experience I will never forget.
     
    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    That bitch Sandy.
     
    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    Spend more time with friends and family and go see more live music.

  • Photograph: Se Young Au

    Angelo Romano, chef, the Pines (284 Third Ave between Carroll and President Sts, Gowanus, Brooklyn; 718-596-6560, thepinesbrooklyn.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    This year has been really rad! Opening the Pines with Carver and Sonya Farrell and Alan Harding has been a true journey to make a mark in the New York dining scene. Eating at Kajitsu (414 E 9th St between First Ave and Ave A; 212-228-4873, kajitsunyc.com) was the highlight of my year by far—so thoughtful, with perfect execution.  

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    I won’t miss kale at all this year and hope to see new produce that is a bit more interesting popping up on everyday restaurant menus.   

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    To start listening to more Lil Wayne and working with pasta guru Matthew J. Calender. Have a safe, happy and baller New Year!

  • Photograph: Mary Ellen Matthews/

    Bobby Moynihan, comedian, Saturday Night Live

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    Doing Drunk Uncle at 12-12-12, the Concert for Sandy Relief. Most bizarre night of my life.

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    The bees!

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    I’m gonna try to be taller this year.

  • Photograph: Alonzo Boldin

    Cheryl Wills, news anchor, NY1

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    Seeing New Yorkers band together to help their neighbors after Hurricane Sandy. As native New Yorkers, we are widely accused of being cold and uncaring, and Sandy brought out the best in us.

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    I am definitely not going to miss the doomsday predictions of the fiscal cliff. Hopefully this will [soon] be settled once and for all.

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    To increase awareness about the significance of the Emancipation Proclamation, which was signed by President Lincoln 150 years ago, on January 1, 1863. As a direct descendant of a slave who fought in the Civil War, [I find it] astonishing how few students understand the importance of this executive order and how it changed America.

  • Photograph: Anna Schori

    Eamon Rockey, beverage director/partner at Aska (90 Wythe Ave at North 11th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-388-2969, askanyc.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    The highlight of my year was certainly being a part of opening Atera and Aska from the ground up; they’re restaurants of very different styles and philosophies, but each, in their own way, is a tremendous point of pride for me.

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    I’m certainly not going to miss commuting to Brooklyn from Manhattan. When we started working on Atera, I moved downtown. Now that my home is at Aska, I’m headed to Williamsburg at the end of the year and I couldn’t be more excited!

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    My New Year’s resolution for 2013 is to cook at home at least once a week. Right now, life is really exciting, but also really stressful. Cooking is something that brings me to a happy place; I don’t do it enough now and I think it will keep me sane as another year’s challenges and opportunities start to unveil themselves.

  • Photograph: Jen Snow

    Gabriel Kahane, composer and singer-songwriter (gabrielkahane.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    Probably a tie between playing a recital at Carnegie Hall and being followed by @tweenhobo on Twitter.
     
    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    Seeing Sheldon Adelson’s smug face plastered everywhere. He makes me embarrassed to be a Jew.
     
    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    To spend 9am to 6pm, Sunday through Friday, with phone and Internet off. Also, to get better at making ginger-scallion noodles. The sauce always ends up clumped at the bottom of the bowl; what the fuck?

  • Photograph: Brian Friedman

    Joe DeRosa, comedian (joederosacomedy.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    My mom beat breast cancer. That was absolutely amazing. Nothing else that happened this year could have possibly topped that.
     
    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    Well, obviously, I won’t miss my mom’s cancer. Also, getting cornered in bars by drunk people yelling at me about who I should or shouldn’t vote for was really annoying.
     
    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    My resolution is to live a healthier life, both physically and mentally. That way, I will hopefully never: (a) get cancer or (b) drunkenly yell at people in bars.

  • Photograph: Dale May

    Frank Cisneros, bartender, Gin Palace (95 Ave A at 6th St; 212-614-6818, ginpalaceny.com), Dram (177 South 4th St between Driggs Ave and Roebling St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-486-3726, drambar.com), the Drink (228 Manhattan Ave at Grand St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-782-8463, thedrinkbrooklyn.com) and Bourgeois Pig Brooklyn (387 Court Street between 1st and 2nd Pls, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 718-858-5483)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    Opening two bars (Bourgeois Pig Brooklyn and Gin Palace) in the span of six months. It was a tremendous amount of work but fulfilling and rewarding. I’m blessed to get the opportunity to put together teams of people I truly admire and love working with.

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    The chaos and the havoc of opening bars. I’ll take a break from that for a bit.

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    Take at least one scheduled full day off per week, spend time with my wonderful girlfriend and my dog and travel more.

  • John Bartlett, fashion designer (johnbartlettny.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    The highlight of my year was proposing to my longtime partner, John Esty, on the cliffs overlooking the ocean in Mykonos! He said yes!

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    I will definitely not miss the election. It was a very long and ugly one and made me cuckoo.

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    My New Year’s resolution is to get more dogs and cats adopted through my Tiny Tim Rescue Fund (johnbartlettny.com/tiny-tim-rescue-fund) and through the sales of my collection at johnbartlettny.com, and to continue to raise awareness about the inherent cruelty of the archaic fur industry.

  • Photograph: Lauren Bilanko

    Kyp Malone, musician, TV on the Radio (tvontheradio.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    Some highlights from the past year for me include participating in and witnessing the “Blasting Voice” performance series at Susan Geiss Gallery over the summer, Rockaway boardwalk shows, the Rain Machine South American tour, Occupy Sandy, Kendrick Lamar, Kelela Mizanekristos, Narcissister, Total Freedom.

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    I won’t miss the election and all the bullshit that accompanied it.

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    My New Year’s resolution: Eat more vegetables and try to walk in the light.

  • Photograph: Mindy Tucker

    John F. O’Donnell, comedian (livefromouterspace.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    The highlight of 2012 for me was, without question, when I earned my green belt in pencak silat, the Indonesian knife-fighting martial art. The endgame of my training is to be released naked into the middle of the jungle, with or without a knife, and fight my way out. So I’m totally psyched to be one step closer to my goal of being able to do that.

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    I’m definitely not going to miss the 2012 drama provided by my now ex-girlfriend. Her temper was soooooo cray-cray! She’s 62 years old and I’m 31 years old, so it was probably doomed from the start anyway.

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    My New Year’s resolution is to cultivate a sense of self-worth more from how much kindness I contribute to this messed-up, imperfect world and less from how much money I make.

  • Photograph: Isauro Cairo

    Josh Wood, party/event planner/producer (joshwoodproductions.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    For me, the highlight was putting together Grace Jones’s big Hurricane: Return to Roseland concert. It was amazing. We had 19 hat boxes shipped from London by Philip Treacy. Gaultier and Miyake did the costumes. I spent a year talking with Grace and making plans. Ironically, the hurricane hit the next day, so the gods of music were looking out for Grace and her fans.  

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    Hurricanes. Blackouts.  

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    To find inner tranquility, which is very difficult in New York. But I’m up for the challenge!

  • Mike Daisey, monologuist (mikedaisey.blogspot.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    Watching the landscape shift on foreign labor and sweatshop work in a way many said would never be possible.
     
    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    There is nothing I won’t miss about this year.
     
    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    To deal squarely with my audiences while getting into even more trouble.

  • Photograph: Helena Christensen

    Paul Banks, musician, Interpol and Julian Plenti (bankspaulbanks.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    Watching Dredd 3D twice. I would’ve seen it again had it been in theaters for more than two weeks.

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    Racism. Copious—nay, bountiful—amounts of subtle and not-so-subtle racism. I’m sure there’ll be none of it in ’13!

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    Quit smoking.

  • Photograph: M. Sharkey

    Rosie Schaap, author of Drinking with Men, out Jan 24 (rosieschaap.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    The right answer is the birth of my sweet nephew. The wrong answer is Clint Dempsey’s 11th-hour move to Tottenham Hotspur. Still, both made me happy.

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    The anxiety produced by the long lead-up to the presidential election. Even Nate Silver couldn’t prevent me from freaking out from time to time.

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    My birthday is January 13, so I get an automatic two-week resolution grace period. And then I’ll pick something realistic (but not unworthy), like “see more art.”

  • Matt Bernson, shoe designer (mattbernson.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    Having my first child. 2012 will forever be my favorite year. The first Matt Bernson boutique opened this year in Tribeca, too. It was a really big year all around.

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    Giant corporations that take advantage of the little guy.

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    To spend as much time as possible with my family.

  • Sandra Bernhard, actress (sandrabernhard.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    The reelection of President Obama and total slap-down of the right wing agenda.

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    The presidential campaign. It was a waste of precious time and money.

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    I don’t do resolutions. I am a firm believer in constant evolution, day to day; it’s not pretty, but it’s the only way to truly change.

  • Photograph: Matias Corral

    Ted Leo, musician, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists (tedleo.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    Two things, both this fall: (1) Playing in the street in Vic, Catalonia, Spain at 3am to hundreds of punk kids swinging from lampposts and dancing on the sidewalks as part of anti-festival answer to a larger festival going on in the town. Truly an amazing, affirming night. (2) Witnessing the generosity and spirit of the people of our area coming together to help each other in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. From the physical work, to the empathy and kindness, to the opening of wallets to help so many local relief organizations. I’ve seen it all in action this past month, and it’s another reminder of the power of community and why I love our people so much.

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    I’m pretty glad we’ll be relatively free of election-cycle politics and news for a little while. I’m actually psyched to be able to truly focus on even just a few of the very many other things we could be paying attention to and working on.

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    I don’t really make resolutions—I just try to be better at things than I was the year before.

  • Tracy Reese, fashion designer (tracyreese.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    It’s been such a wonderful year for us at Tracy Reese, between the different collections, fashion weeks, and how our brand has grown and continues to do so every day. A monumental moment for us was when Michelle Obama walked out onto the stage wearing Tracy Reese at the Democratic National Convention. We had no idea it was going to happen, and her making that speech in our dress was such an honor.

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    There isn’t anything specific I won’t miss about 2012. Every year is an opportunity for movement and growth, which is what makes going into 2013 all the more exciting for me!

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    I don’t tend to make New Year’s resolutions, but if I were to, it would be to continue doing what makes me happy and spending as much time as possible with my friends and family.

  • Photograph: Kevin Thomas Garcia

    Whitney Day, DJ (whitneyday.com)

    What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
    2012 was an excellent and exciting year, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one highlight! On a personal level, I became engaged to my partner of seven years and am looking forward to our wedding in October. On the professional side of things, I expanded beyond my DJ career and launched my event-production company, Whitney Day Events. Now I have one of the most popular events in NYC for women and our LGBTQ friends, Glossy Wednesdays. On a weekly basis 200 to 500 women come to party with us, and it was Glossy Thanksgiving Eve that turned it out with more than 1,300 amazing women—a huge success I’ll always remember!

    What won’t you miss about 2012?
    This year was filled with a lot of positives—President Obama was reelected, gay marriage passed in three more states, and the U.S. Olympics team won more medals than any other country! For me though, it’s Hurricane Sandy that sticks out as an obvious low blow for 2012. Surely the cleanup and rebuilding will continue through 2013 and beyond. The devastation is still rampant in areas of New York and New Jersey, but we have to keep helping and continue to move forward.

    What’s your New Year’s resolution?
    2013 is upon us. It’s another reminder that each passing year is flying by faster and faster—at least, that’s how it seems to me. My resolution is to “be here now,” to take the time to breathe in and enjoy the present moment without getting too hung up on life’s silly, small stresses. This sounds so simple, but the challenge is putting it into practice. This year, I’m going to make more of an effort to prioritize and be mindful of the things that really matter.

Photograph: Andreas Laszlo Konrath

Benjamin Walker, actor, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (catonahottinroofbroadway.com)

What was the highlight of 2012 for you?
Going to the Middle East to the premiere of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for all our troops on board the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. It was an honor and an experience I will never forget.
 
What won’t you miss about 2012?
That bitch Sandy.
 
What’s your New Year’s resolution?
Spend more time with friends and family and go see more live music.


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