Whatever you do, do not go to Times Square to watch the Ball Drop on New Years’ Eve.
If you’re a Native New Yorker, I know what you’re thinking, how could anyone want to stand out in the cold for hours upon end, waiting for a glistening, crystallized ball to fall for 10 seconds amidst thousands around you chanting numbers backwards in unison: a mere, symbolic representation of the year changing to 2018. Well, a lot of people like standing out in the freezing cold apparently. Over 1,000,000+ people are expected to gather in Times Square on Sunday night to watch the New Year magically change above them.
It’s a bit strange as native New Yorkers that this phenomenon continues to grow in popularity every year. For many, New York during the holidays is a dream. Walking down Fifth Avenue and enjoying the holiday displays lining shop windows, visiting Rockefeller Center and marveling at the Christmas Tree, ice skating at Wollman Rink, the list goes on. But what was never on my list for the holidays in the city? Seeing the Ball drop from anywhere else other than my living room. You can see the Ball any other time of year in you happen to find yourself in Times Square after the year has already been rung in. Just look up! Nevertheless, for anyone who will be in NYC this time around, but with no intention to freeze in the middle of Times Square, here are some suggestions Michelle and I have come up with instead.
As they’d say in Germany, where I’ll be spending the New Year this year, Guten Rutsch! …which translates into something like, “good sliding into the New Year.”
1. Watch the fireworks from Central Park.
At Bow Bridge, in Cherry Hill, at 11:58 pm, Central Park puts on a fireworks display for anyone and everyone to enjoy. The fireworks are aimed at the center of the park (literally), so even if you don’t snag a spot at the bridge, the display will still be able to be seen from anywhere else in the park. Arrive early to find a seat, bring a blanket, and enjoy some warm hot chocolate with good company.
2. Join the ‘Brooklyn Bridge Walk into the New Year’ Tour.
A walk down Brooklyn Bridge should be on any newcomer to New York’s bucket list. Fun fact: I’ve never walked it myself and Michelle just did for her first time, this past summer. Bad New Yorkers, aren’t we? Nevertheless, if you find yourself in the city over NYE and would like the chance to walk down the Bridge, this might be the perfect time to do it. Guided tours are can also be a part of the experience, with the most known, Brooklyn Bridge Walk Into The New Year tour being a part of the agenda for another year. The tour lasts almost two hours, comes in six different languages, and concludes on the Brooklyn Bridge so that you can view the fireworks at the stroke of midnight! More information can be found online here!
3. Head to the cinema.
Michelle and our best friend, Kayla, did this last year. After the New Year rang in, the streets were virtually empty, with people congregating at home or at bars to continue the 2017 festivities. The cinema, however, was open, showing films at midnight. Some theaters in the city, particularly the ones located near the Times Square vicinity, also have parties leading up to the New Year, with open bar and terrace access as well.
Though it can be a bit expensive to attend most parties in NYC on NYE, the movie theaters still shows films all night long, so if you’ve been waiting to watch a movie that was just released, without the crowds, this could be a great idea.
4. Visit hotels/bars with rooftop access.
Mr. Purple, Le Bain. Sure, all the high-end, lush, and bougie rooftops in NYC will most likely have parties on their terraces for the New Year. Michelle and I were never the kind of people to go clubbing on a rooftop on New Years’ Eve especially because we never had that kind of money to afford going.
BUT, there are tons of other bars that even hotels that offer rooftop access where you may able to see fireworks or even sneak into a party! Most people, after 12am, are too drunk to notice anyway. You never know where could let you in. When I was growing up in the city, before I turned 21, during NYE my friends and I snuck in and out of bars/parties because no one was really paying us any mind. If you’re up for an adventure, it may be worth the sleuthing.
5. Party at a random warehouse in Brooklyn.
Brooklyn warehouse parties are infamous among the younger crowds in NYC, but most are extremely far out or expensive, and most of the time, you’re not entirely sure what the cost of your ticket is getting you, especially when it comes to food or drink. Don’t even think anything will be free at some of these warehouses. Last year, I decided to go to one of these, relatively close in Bushwick, and I was pleasantly surprised!
The music wasn’t typical top 40 or anything, but a jazz band that played famous tracks with a full ensemble, live in front of us. It was a unique experience and I danced with friends the entire night! Food and drinks were also included in our ticket, so I was lucky that it turned out to be a great night, even if I didn’t know what to expect. Look on Eventbrite for all the possibilities of parties out in Brooklyn, bring a good crew, and you’ll be set.
6. Stay in and relax!
This may sound like the least fun of them all, but when you think about it, staying home, (and that doesn’t necessarily mean alone), takes the pressure off having to come up with any plans, or having to find the perfect outfit to wear on NYE. I’ve had a few friends recommend this to me after having done so themselves and they say there’s nothing better than cozying in with a significant other or group of friends with the television on and champagne bottles being passed around. A holiday is nothing if not spent with good people, so if you’re nervous with no plans set, stay home, relax, and bring in the New Year from your couch and in your pajamas.
What other activities did I forget over New Years in New York? What are your plans? Let us know and have a wonderful, safe and kickass New Year! Bring it on 2018!