If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, or spend New Year’s Eve with a million other people in Times Square, there are some festive and FREE alternatives to welcome 2020, and two that are just $15 per person.
If you want to drop a couple of hundred bucks on a New Year’s Eve party, you won’t find it here, because NYC on the Cheap is all about FREE and cheap, including for New Year’s Eve.
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FREE New Year’s Eve fireworks in Prospect Park
Fireworks in NYC are not limited to the Fourth of July. They also welcome the new year in Brooklyn.
Head to the arch in Prospect Park for live music and a dazzling display of colorful bursts at midnight.
This year is the 40th annual New Year’s Eve fireworks over Prospect Park, preceded by live entertainment from Brooklyn’s own DJ Headache.
- 10:30pm to 12:30am, Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park; NYCGovParks.org
FREE New Year’s Eve fireworks in Central Park
The annual NY Roadrunners Midnight Run costs $60 to join, and it’s probably too late today anyway to sign up.
The fireworks that start the race are FREE, and you can cheer the runners to a festive .
There’s music and dancing beginning at 10pm at Race Day Central, near the Bandshell in Central Park.
All runners receive a shirt and glow armband, and 9+1 credit toward entry into the 2020 TCS New York City Marathon.
- Party starts at 10pm, race starts at 11:59 at the Bethesda Fountain, 72nd St. at Mid-Park
FREE New Year’s Eve rides in Coney Island
Coney Island’s going all out for New Year’s Eve, with free carousel rides and some old-school karaoke.
The Priceless Band, a pop and R&B group will have you dancing in the aisles as they perform Top 40 hits from the ’70s through today’s. Plus, there are fireworks at midnight.
- 9 p.m. to midnight, Boardwalk and W. 19th Street, Coney Island; ConeyIslandFunGuide.com
FREE New Year’s Eve concert at St. Barts
With 225 ranks of pipes singing into the resplendent nave from both sides of the chancel, the rear gallery, and even the dome, the dynamic range and near-infinite color palette of St. Bart’s Aeolian-Skinner organ is an experience to behold in person, enveloped by one of the world’s largest musical instruments.
- 11 p.m. to midnight, 325 Park Ave.; StBarts.org
Two New Year’s Eve Events for Just $15
Welcome the new year with a glass of free bubbly before the annual 35 mm screening of “Midnight,” a 1939 madacap comedy about an American showgirl (Claudette Colbert) in Paris assigned the job of helping a wealthy man (Don Ameche) save his marriage. Also starring Lionel Barrymore.
- 9:40 p.m. $15.
- Film Forum is at 209 W. Houston St.; FilmForum.org
Crafty kids can make time capsules, noisemakers and silly glasses at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan’s New Year’s Eve extravaganza — without interrupting regularly scheduled bedtime. “It’s a great, safe way for families to experience the excitement and energy of a New Year’s bash together before dark,” says David Rios, director of public programs.
- Tickets are $15.
- Noon to 5pm at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, 212 W. 83rd St.; CMOM.org
Or, you could stay home and watch the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration on TV.
This was published originally in 2017 and is updated annually, incuding 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.