If you are planning to spend New Year’s Eve in Times Square with one or two million of your closest friends, here’s what you need to know for a happy and memorable experience at the world’s largest New Year’s Eve party.
Here are the basics for welcoming 2020 in Times Square.
The choicest spots start filling up by 3pm, and the NYPD closes streets as they fill up.
By 10:30pm, it’s nearly impossible to find a spot with a view of the famous crystal ball.
The famous illuminated Waterford Crystal ball – which can display more than 16 million colors and billions of patterns – drops from a flagpole atop 1 Times Square.
The Times Square Alliance recommends watching on Broadway between West 43rd and West 50th streets and on Seventh Avenue up to West 59th Street.
Public transit is by far the best way to reach the celebration, but try to use a stop other than Times Square/42nd Street and walk the rest of the way.
The Times Square subway station becomes uncomfortably crowded – even dangerously crowded – on New Year’s Eve, and entrances are closed by the NYPD as the streets above fill up.
Remember, your million friends want to use the same subway stations as you.
There is tight security in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
The NYPD will not let you past the barricades with a bag, period. Which includes liquid lubrication.
Plus, you’ll be glad not to have accessories weighing you down.
If it doesn’t fit in your pockets, leave it home.
New Year’s Eve in Times Square is a marathon, so think like an athlete and fuel up on carbs before you arrive, and stuff a couple of granola bars in your pockets for insurance.
Remember that you cannot reclaim your viewing spot if you leave the area.
Of course, if Times Square isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other ways to ring in 2019 in NYC, including concerts, comedy shows and a run in Central Park.
We’ll have the complete minute-by-minute entertainment schedule tomorrow.
Find more information on the Times Square Alliance website.
This NYE complete guide is published annually, updated for 2019/2020.
Evelyn Kanter also is the author of several NYC and Hudson Valley guidebooks, including my latest, 100 Things to Do in NYC Before You Die.