Watch the ball drop at New Year's Eve at Times Square
There's no better place in the world to celebrate the new year than Times Square. An estimated 1 million people crowd around the famous building, with the eyes of millions nationwide and more than 1 billion around the world watching on TV and online. After exploring the city by day, make sure you leave your New York City rental car at the hotel by night. Say goodbye to the old and welcome the new year in this famous city at the Crossroads of the World.
History of New Year's Eve in Times Square
How did Times Square become the epicenter for the Western world's new year celebrations? In 1904, the first-ever bash honored the official opening of the new headquarters of The New York Times. The newspaper's owner, Adolph Ochs, had fought to rename Longacre Square, the district surrounding the new press building, after his iconic publication. At that time, the Times Tower was the second-tallest building in Manhattan. Thus, the structure was the center point of the unparalleled New Year's Eve celebration, with Ochs dropping plenty of money to make sure it was a party for the ages. And indeed it was - in Times Square, the first-ever party was truly timeless.
Entertainment all night long
At the Crossroads of the World, there are more entertainment activities than revelers know what to do with. Visitors can enjoy package deals for open bars, premium dinner buffets and wildly extravagant desserts to get the night started. In the past, there has often been live performances by internationally touring artists such as Paul McCartney, Miley Cyrus and many more.
For the Wishing Wall, people from all over the globe write their wishes for the new year on pieces of official Times Square New Year's Eve confetti. The wishes are collected and added to the ton of confetti that flutters through the air come midnight.
You can also buy deals with free drinks, food and party at restaurants or nightclubs leading up to the event.
Schedule on the day of
Generally by 3 p.m. the Bow Tie of Times Square (42nd to 47th streets between Broadway and 7th Avenue) will be fully closed to traffic, so revelers should make sure they have their New York City rental car parked by this time.
The celebration begins around 6 p.m. with the lighting and raising of the New Year's Eve Ball atop One Times Square. Families, partiers and other visitors can watch the massive light flick on before it starts its ascent accompanied by pyrotechnics. There will be an hourly countdown complete with live performances and celebrity appearances.
Since it's such a huge event, there are several stages where revelers can watch big-time TV stars and artists interact with the audience, both in-person and on TV. It's also the location of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve, the television event that features coverage of the ball drop, and many other recorded performances. In the past, everyone from Anderson Cooper to U.S. Supreme Court Justices to music divas have graced the stages.
What to expect at the stroke of midnight
The lighted ball falls 70 feet in sixty seconds. Weighing 11,875 pounds and spanning 12 feet in diameter, this ball will be seen all over the world, but only party-goers can say they were there. Once the clock strikes 12, the world-famous confetti will be shot into the air from the rooftops of buildings throughout Times Square, creating a blizzard of colors. As the ball hits, revelers exchange their wishes for the new year.