Dubai So what’s it like to be a privileged resident of the Burj Khalifa on New Year’s Eve when thousands of visitors brave long commutes and traffic snarls just to be at the tower to catch the most spectacular fireworks on earth?
“The only privilege if you will is that you don’t have to fight the crowds,” said Manju Chandrasekhar, a resident of a two-bedroom 66th floor apartment.
Standing by the window of his dining room, he is inches away from the pyrotechnic spectacle that is set to envelope the world’s tallest tower as 2013 ushers in. “You see that big metal rig just outside? That’s where they mount the actual fireworks.”
But to take in the full view of the dazzle, he plans to go down the building with his family when the countdown begins.
“My parents have flown in from India and my sister, brother-in-law and nephew from the US,” he said.
On the 71st floor, resident Buffi Jashanmal has other plans. She is hosting a big bash for the special night and will watch the fireworks from her own apartment.
“I am having a red carpet event with around 30 people, a mix of family and friends. My mother’s in a wheelchair, so I plan to be indoors and see little flutters of the fireworks falling down on us. Isn’t that beautiful?” she said.
Jashanmal said her family also has the option of watching the extravaganza from the poolside on the 74th floor or going down the building like many other residents.
Chandrasekhar said he will watch the fireworks from a section of the Burj Park.
“This is a separate area with a separate access for residents. Last year I went down at around 11.30pm and stood a few feet away from the building to see the full panorama. I didn’t have to battle the crowds.”
A resident on a lower floor, who did not want to be identified, said: “I feel proud to be living in the world’s tallest tower. This pride multiplies many times when there’s an event like the New Year fireworks or the Mission Impossible feat. It’s like your own home being in the spotlight and making international headlines.”
She said she and her husband make it a point not to travel at about New Year’s so they can watch the fireworks. “You can’t get closer than us.”
Not surprisingly, residents receive a flood of requests from friends, colleagues and family to share space on the big night.
In his second year at the Burj, Chandrasekhar said: “Last year, I had a couple of colleagues over. This year, I have my family here.”
His family can’t wait for December 31. His sister Anupama said: “We timed our visit from New York around the fireworks. It’s my son’s first birthday on the 28th and this is a great way to celebrate. I am also curious. My brother told me the fireworks last year were spectacular and they would be getting bigger and better this year.”
Anticipation runs high as this year’s fireworks will be synched to live orchestral music and include several new sequences.