Few things are tied together in people’s minds as closely NYC and the bright lights and bustle of Times Square. It’s the place for souvenirs, for listening to talented buskers, for Broadway shows. And it’s also famously the site of the ball drop that heralds in a brand-new year. Whether you grew up watching the event hosted by Casey Kasem or Ryan Seacrest, there always seems to be something magical in the air in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. If you’re not content to be one of the the one billion people joining the countdown from their living rooms, keep in mind the following while planning your last trip of the 2016.
According to the Times Square Alliance the best spots for viewing the ball are along Broadway between West 43rd and West 50th Streets and on Seventh Avenue up to West 59th Street.
The early bird will get the prime viewing spots, as people begin lining up by the early afternoon, and all areas are first-come, first-served.
Times Square has plenty of public transportation options, including various subway lines and bus routes, but remember that the majority of the 1 million people in attendance will also be using them. Add in city-sanctioned street closures, and you can definitely expect transportation delays.
Make sure to dress warmly as you will probably be outside for a long, long time. The temperature will likely drop before the ball does, so layers are a must!
Be aware of your surroundings. Knapsacks and other large bags are not permitted, and it’s best to leave your bags or any valuables at home. Make sure to keep a close eye on your phone. A million people packed in a small space like sardines is a pickpocket’s dream!
While some establishments will have some for patrons to use, the city does not provide any extra restroom facilities for the event, so keep that in mind while you’re hydrating.
Pack snacks! The city does not license any food vendors for the night, and while they are hundreds of places to eat in the area, many will have long waits or be booked up for New Year’s Eve.
The event is free to the public, but many establishments in the area offer food-and-drink packages, along with a great view. Be sure to check for deals online.
The public consumption of alcohol is prohibited. This means that you can’t pop open a bottle of bubbly at midnight without getting a ticket from the NYPD.
Fun fact: More than 1 ton of confetti is dropped in Times Square on New Year’s Eve!