Auld Lang Syne, New Year's in the City

New York Travel Blog

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If you are even remotely claustrophobic, the Big Apple on New Year’s is not the place for you. Times Square’s inaugural New Year’s hullabaloo debuted in 1904 in commemoration of the opening of the New York Times central headquarters; today hundreds of thousands of people crowd the city’s bustling axis every Dec. 31 to behold a party unlike any they’ve ever attended.

Starting at 4 p.m., much of Midtown – from 42nd to 59th Street, between Sixth and Eighth Avenues – is closed off for the celebration. Attendees begin claiming their spots early in the day, and once you enter the vicinity, you’re advised not to leave again (so go easy on the fluids, as being roped off in Times Square with an overactive bladder is not your ideal New Year’s Eve). Since food and drink vendors are not permitted, pack a picnic to last you the day. Area restaurants are open, but the wait time can often be hours, and alcohol is strictly prohibited.

 As the sun sets, the famed New Year’s Eve Ball is hoisted to the top of the 77-foot flagpole at One Times Square, and it makes its 60-second drop just before the stroke of midnight. Leading up to the climax, scores of musical acts take the stage – last year’s performers included Christina Aguilera, My Chemical Romance, Panic! At the Disco, Daughtry and the cast of Jersey Boys – while Ryan Seacrest reports live from the scene for viewers at home on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve (Clark comments from the warmth of the studio). At midnight, two tons of confetti are released on Times Square’s lucky inhabitants as fireworks light up all of Manhattan.

If you’d rather watch the whole spectacle from the warmth of a bar, plan in advance. Covers are normally $100 or more for any establishment selling alcohol – clubs charge even more – and tickets sell out long before the big day.
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photo by: herman_munster