It’s been eight years since I moved out of NYC, and one of the aspects I miss most about city life is the access to hugely popular events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Being part of a large group celebration in New York City is better than any massively multiplayer role playing game; it’s the real thing. This year, New Year’s Eve in Times Square, NYC will include performances by Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga. These are two pop stars who weren’t commonly known when I lived in New York City, but now, even my baby boomer parents have heard of them.
Watching the ball drop in Times Square in a 104-year old tradition, and this year an expected one billion (not million; billion) viewers worldwide will be tuning in to Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. Those
foolhardy lucky enough to brave the weather and the crowds will be treated to a great show. Say what you will about Lady Gaga, the woman knows how to entertain. In fact, I can’t think of a modern pop star who more closely fits in with the fireworks, party attire, and colorful festivities of New Year’s Eve in Times Square than Lady Gaga.
Justin Bieber probably puts on a very entertaining show too, but my tween daughter won’t stop talking about him and I’ve had just about enough. Being a middle-aged mom, though, I’m sure I’m not his target audience. Besides Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber at Times Square for the New Year’s Eve ball drop, there are plenty of other fun New Year’s Eve celebrations and activities in NYC this year.
Events and Activities to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in New York City
New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall – Right at the Times Square Visitor Center, the New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall fills up with New Year’s wishes written on paper. The wall fills up fast! Later, those wishes are collected and become part of the confetti that streams down on revelers after the ball drops at midnight in Times Square.
Good Riddance Day – Out with the old and in with the new: a large mobile paper shredder is set up in Duffy Square on December 28th, for people to symbolically say goodbye to their worst memories of the year. Start the New Year in New York City with an emotionally clean slate.
Emerald Nuts Midnight Run – The New York Road Runners hosts this run December 31 of every year. The Emerald Nuts Midnight Run is what it sounds like; a 4-mile run through Central Park, starting right at midnight. Celebrations start earlier with fireworks, dancing, a costume parade, and a laser light show at the Central Park Bandshell.
New York Philharmonic – The NY Phil has an annual New Year’s Eve concert celebrating the season.This year, at 8:00 PM at Avery Fisher Hall, there will be a concert specifically celebrating New York City; A New Yorker’s New Year’s Eve will feature music by home-town boys George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein. This is likely to sell out, so buy your tickets now at nyphil.org.
Staten Island Children’s Museum – It’s not in Manhattan itself, but it’s just a subway ride away. The Staten Island Children’s Museum will be open from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM on December 31 for a daytime, child-friendly Rocking New Year’s Eve celebration. There will be music, party hats, dancing, snacks and fun crafts. Admission is $6.
Grand Army Plaza – Also not in Manhattan, hence not in Times Square either, Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza is home to New Year’s Eve celebrations of its own. Starting at around 11:00 PM, there’s live entertainment and hot refreshments — New York is cold in the winter! — and fireworks right after midnight. Best views of the fireworks are in Grand Army Plaza and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street.
There are a slew of other New Year’s Eve celebration events and activities in New York City. If you can’t make it to the NY Phil, other concerts include Chuck Berry at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill and Assembly of Dust at Mercury Lounge, both starting at 8:00 PM. Other non-concert activities for New Year’s Eve include Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises’ New Year’s Eve party cruise, and a special New Year’s Eve performance by the Golden Dragon Acrobats at Queen’s Theatre.
New York City really is “the place to be’ for New Year’s Eve. No matter what you do to celebrate the New Year, have fun, and have a happy New Year.