The 2013 Times Square New Year's Eve Ball at One...

The 2013 Times Square New Year's Eve Ball at One Times Square in New York City. (Dec. 27, 2012) Credit: Getty Images

It's so arbitrary. A 2 becomes a 3, and somehow that's supposed to change everything.

It never does, of course. And yet here we are again, ringing in another new year with the usual naive exuberance, as if we didn't go through exactly the same hope-and-disappointment ritual last year, the year before and the year before that.

Happy Memory Loss!

We can't blame the under-1 crowd for failures in pattern recognition. But anyone who's made it out of the crib should understand the concept of dashed New Year's expectations. Just look at all we've tried to do and failed.

Despite persistent optimism, we haven't slashed property taxes, ended LIE traffic jams, eliminated political cronyism, reversed the LI brain drain or shaken off a development mentality stuck in the 1950s. This year, we couldn't even figure out how to keep our one major professional sports franchise.

But hope, we keep being told, springs eternal, especially this time of year. And we've just gotten a nice boost of confidence saying "oh, yeah?" to some calendar-gazing Mayans who were predicting the end of it all.

Well, we're still here, aren't we? And that's a start.

Now isn't it nice to know we have a whole new year ahead of fresh disappointments?


NEVER MIND, 20121. The Islanders will never leave LI.

2. Tim Bishop is very beatable.

3. Overhead power lines are a great idea.

4. Tax caps will not hurt schools.

5. Donald Trump is totally committed to Jones Beach.

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: You wondered where winter was? . . . Sandy boom? Can LI hotels please find a cheerier way to break their occupancy records? . . . Should New York with its famously tough gun laws be subsidizing the Remington plant in upstate Ilion, manufacturer of the Bushmaster semiautomatic? . . . Missing Newsweek in print? Sadly, not enough people are . . . When Andrew Cuomo's moratorium ends Jan. 16, how many Sandy claimants will lose their homeowner's insurance? . . . In the end, will Sandy be a net plus or minus for LI employment? The storm produced cleanup and construction jobs, but state Labor stats say the hard-hit South Shore also posted the Island's largest November jobless hike? . . . Is this some kind of LI-PA exchange program? Their Enley Ball, 33, of Tobyhanna, Pa., is pinched for allegedly holding up our TD Bank in Franklin Square while our Andre Stennett, 40, of Freeport, is sentenced in Williamsport to 46 months for hauling pot across their I-80 . . . Will Sandy hasten the planned 2027 closing of the Brookhaven Landfill? . . . Should we assume that whoever set April's Ridge-Manorville wildfires will NOT be brought to justice? Will Suffolk's $10,000 reward offer spark any memories? . . . And in other unsolved LI mysteries from 2012: What sank an overcrowded boat July Fourth in Oyster Bay? And how did a toddler's body end up buried in a Farmingdale yard? . . . What's LI's biggest surprise of the year? Stony Brook University, athletic powerhouse? Joshua Lafazan, 18, Syosset school board member? Death faker Raymond Roth, still alive?

THE NEWS IN SONG: All I know is everybody comes and goes: "This'll Be My Year" by Train,


Here's what's easy to forget as we continue recovering from the ravages of superstorm Sandy: Much of what've accomplished -- and it's an awful lot already -- has been dramatically boosted by the feds. The numbers are still trickling in. But the tally of federal assistance to New Yorkers in the Sandy's wake has already topped $2 billion. That includes grants, loans and National Flood Insurance filings and all the FEMA workers who are keeping LI hotel-occupancy rates so high. Yes, we've done much of this ourselves. But we've gotten enormous help, too. For that we have to thank the ones who've been helping to pay for it. There are more than 300 million of them. So it could take a while.

Follow on Twitter @henican