So we’re thinking about our winter vacation, during Chrstmas week. We always go somewhere warm, of course. But I’m thinking it might be novel to cut it short by 2 days and instead of flying straight home we spend 2 days in New York and actually do New Years at Times Square instead of just watching it on TV. We’ve been to NY several times, but never on New Years.
So? Anyone here ever been there/done that? Is it worth it? What’s your opinion of this idea?
I’ve done this once. It was worth doing, and I’ll never do it again. It’s crowded and it’s cold. I mean, cold. If you get a good spot, you can’t leave it, or you’ll never get back. That means, no potty breaks until after the ball drops.
It was also a little surreal. In the crowd of how many thousands, I kept bumping into people I knew. Not people I was with, or planned to see, just random circumstance.
If you don’t mind the cold, are OK with public drunkenness, and feel comfortable in a pushing horde, I say go for it.
Personally, I’ll be leaving town and heading for the mountains again this New Year’s Eve.
I was there at New Year’s 1994-5 (or was it 5-6? damn, I’m getting old. I remember there being a trivia question about “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth” on the bigscreen, so I think it was 94.) It was my only trip to NYC, about 5 days long. It’s nice but not worth it if that’s all you’re going there for. The thing is, I didn’t have to deal with drunks and stampedes because my dad worked for ABC News and he got us a spot behind the press ropes.
I’m a native New Yorker, and I did it once, with a friend from out of town. I quite enjoyed it. You need to get there early, since you’re corralled inside police barricades and after a section is filled up the cops don’t let anyone else in. The year I went it was not too cold, so the wait wasn’t too bad. Given that the OP is from Wisconsin, I don’t think you would be too worried even if it is relatively cold for NY. The cops also don’t allow liquor within the barricades either, so drunks were not a noticeable problem (and probably far less so than almost anyplace else on New Year’s Eave.) At least when I went, my barricade area was not overcrowded so we had breathing room, and didn’t have to worry about pushing (except when arriving and leaving).
The wait itself of course is rather boring. The best part was just after the ball came down, when the whole space above the street is filled with brightly-lit, swirling confetti and streamers. It was like being inside an enormous Sno-Globe.
While enjoyable, I’m not sure I would recommend it if that was your only reason to go to NY. If you wanted to combine it with some other activities, then it would be a good thing to do.
If you want to do it in style–meaning minus the crush of humanity, the cold, the urge to use the restroom–and enjoy it with a great meal and champagne, book a room at a Times Square hotel. Foley’s restaurant in the Renaissance has a million-dollar (slightly elevated) view of the Square. I’ve been to a couple other nearby hotels with similar knock-your-socks-off views.
My SO and I just bought airplane tickets to NYC for NYE a couple weeks ago. ($250 per person non-stop from MSP to EWR, not too bad.) After we bought the tickets, we started hotel shopping. OUCH. We’re there for 12/30-1/2 and Saturday night was expensive, Monday night was relatively cheap, but Sunday night which is NYE was ridiculous. Luckily, he has friends in Brooklyn who own a brownstone apartment building that they’re rehabing where they’ll have a couple open apartments we can stay in.
We’re going to do the balldrop thing in Times Square. It’s not really my cuppa, but I figure it’s one of those things you have to do once. Give a wave if ya go
I second this, though you don’t even need to be able to see the ball from your room. Guests of the hotels can (and do) pour out onto the sidewalk in the 5 min. before the ball drops to watch, dance around, and then get back inside. My family did this every New Years most of my life. My Dad did like to book a room overlooking the square, though. Looking down over this huge party is a really cool view. Open the windows and you can hear the roar from the top floor. One of the neatest things to watch, oddly enough, is after the ball drops and the crown disperses this fleet of street sweepers and clean-up crews rolls from one end of the square to the other. There are smashed gaurd rails, confetti, trash, and a million broken bottles everywhere, and it’s amazing how fast they put it to rights.
(btw, i don’t know how much say you have in the corral you go in, if you’re on the street, but if you’re near the hotel doors the people coming out often have champagne with them, and tend to share it with the random strangers around them. My dad was never stopped by the cops, though he was often directly in front of them. This was all pre-9/11 though)
I’ve done it a few times. Actually the first time I did it as a tourist and it was probably the event that made me fall in love with NYC.
It was the end of 1983. NYC and Times Square was still a dirty. My brother had come up to NYC to go to acting school. The teacher at his old school in Oklahoma, organizes an annual group trip to NYC where you see a lot of plays. So, mom and I came up here. It was awful at first. I couldn’t stand the smell of the city. I had a headache every day. NYEve, well, we were staying at the Edison hotel. So around 11, the other teenagers and I left the hotel and by it’s location, we were able to get into Times Square. We were in front of the Coke sign, (the cool one) on Broadway. It was the most amazing thing I ever saw.
I used to have a job in a building at 50th and B’way. This was great because I could go up there at about 9 with friends. Have some champagne, use the bathroom and head out to the crowd a little before 11. So I’ve do that a few times. If it isn’t bitterly cold, it really isn’t too bad because you are pressed up with a bunch of other people. You won’t be able to bring backpacks or anything like that and trust me, you have never see so many police officers in you life.
We skipped over midtown for the most part and looked at what was available down in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. We actually kept reservations at the Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge which averaged at about $250 a night (we can cancel the reservation up until 12/29 and are holding on to it just in case).
The other hotel we had looked at was the Washington Square hotel in Greenwich which was a bit cheaper but not as nice. (About $210 a night).
The thing is, this event is tightly controlled. If you want to be in the heart of it. You have two choices. You can get there before noon. The entire area is closed to traffic early and all vehicles are moved out. You can not even drive on 8th ave or 6th ave. The people stand on the streets, the sidewalks are for the police. The cross streets are kept clear. So you may be on Broadway between 49th and 50th or on Broadway between 56th and 57th.
As these blocks fill up walking access to them is restricted. Unless, you have proof that you belong to a building in the area. Like me, when I worked there, or me, when my hotel was in the area. If your hotel is in Times Square, then you don’t have to been there all day long. (actually there are porta potties for the hard core people who stay there all day)
That’s why the hotels charge a premium for that night. You get a pass. In the crowd you will meet people from all over the world. It’s pretty cool.
Since I knew I would only do it once, I picked the right year to do it: 1999 going into 2000. It wasn’t cold, but the crowd was larger than expected, and it was very crowded and very loud. After the ball dropped, it took about two hours to get out of Times Square.
It’s one of those things every one should do one time.
The NYE before I met my husband, he went with some buddies to do the Times Square thing. It was bitterly, bitterly cold that night and honestly he would not do it again, and kind of wore me off of wanting to do it. As everyone has said, you have to be there in the afternoon to get a decent place to see the action. The worst part, he said, was if you had to pee, you either did right there where you were standing or left the general area. If you did that, you were NOT allowed back in to where you were. Even if your “friends” were waiting for you back in that spot. The crowd is so controlled, that you can’t just walk out of Times Square when everything is done, everyone is corralled in a certain way so even if you entered on a certain side street that would get you back to your hotel/subway station/etc. easily, it’s very likely you won’t be going back that way and in fact will be diverted much farther away.