On December 31, approximately one million revelers, celebrating the start of the new year, will fill New York City’s Times Square to enjoy performances by Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber and to watch the famous New Year’s Eve Ball descend from One Times Square. As friends and families gather to count down the seconds to 2012, NYC & Company, New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization, invites residents and visitors to experience the many New Year’s Eve events taking place across the City.
“On the last day of each year, Times Square—the “Crossroads of the World”—becomes the focal point for millions of viewers across the globe,” says George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company. “On New Year’s Eve, the five boroughs come alive with celebrations, and we encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to bid farewell to 2011 and welcome 2012 in New York City.”
This year, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber will perform live in Times Square as part of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.
More than 100 million television viewers in the United States and more than one billion people worldwide are expected to watch the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, a 104-year-old tradition. The Ball is a 12-foot geodesic sphere, weighing 11,875 pounds, covered in 2,688 Waterford crystals, powered by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LED lights and capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors.
(For survival tips about doing New Year’s Eve in Times Square, see: New Year’s Eve in Times Square is once-in-lifetime experience and see slideshow)
In the days and hours before the Ball drops, events and activities related to the New Year’s celebration will be held across New York City, including:
New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall: Located at the Times Square Visitor Center, the wall is quickly filling with visitors’ wishes for 2012. Everyone is welcome to stop by and record their wishes on pieces of paper. Individuals can also submit their wishes online at timessquarenyc.org. All of the wishes from the wall and those submitted online will be collected and added to the confetti that flutters down onto the streets of Times Square at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Good Riddance Day: On December 28, the Times Square Alliance invites the public to say good-bye and good riddance to the worst memory from 2011. Cintas Corporation will provide a large mobile shredder in Duffy Square to discard depressing memories so you can start fresh in 2012.
Staten Island Children’s Museum: From 1 to 3 pm on December 31, join Patrick and Family for a Rocking New Year’s Eve daytime celebration for the whole family, with music, dancing, party hats, make your own maracas, snacks and a special countdown. Admission is $6; for more information, go to statenislandkids.org.
Emerald Nuts Midnight Run: On New Year’s Eve, New York Road Runners hosts the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run, a 4-mile race in Central Park. Before the race starts at midnight, enjoy a laser light show and fireworks, dancing and a costume parade at the Central Park Bandshell. Additional details can be found at nyrr.org.
New York Philharmonic: At 8pm at Avery Fisher Hall on New Year’s Eve, Alan Gilbert will lead a concert called A New Yorker’s New Year’s Eve featuring music by Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin, both of whom spent most of their working lives in New York. The concertincludes Bernstein’s Overture to Candide and Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, and Gershwin’s Concerto in F and Rhapsody in Blue, bothplayed by pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Tickets can be purchased online at nyphil.org.
Additional concerts on New Year’s Eve night include: Chuck Berry at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill and Assembly of Dust at Mercury Lounge, both starting at 8 pm. Gogol Bordello will play at Terminal 5, Gov’t Mule at the Beacon Theatre, and The Budos Band at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, each show beginning at 9pm. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium: Check out The Polar Express 4-D Experience from Monday, November 7, through Monday, January 2. Follow a doubting young boy as he takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole that shows us all that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. The attraction combines the visual drama of a 3-D film with a variety of 4-D sensory effects built into the seats. Tickets are $5 per person. For more details, visit bronxzoo.com or nyaquarium.com.
Grand Army Plaza: New Year’s Eve celebrations in Brooklyn kick off around 11pm with entertainment and hot refreshments at Grand Army Plaza and fireworks from midnight to 12:15am at the Long Meadow. The best viewing locations for the fireworks are within Grand Army Plaza, along West Drive in Prospect Park, and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street. For more information, go to prospectpark.org.
Queens Theatre: A special New Year’s Eve performance of the Golden Dragon Acrobats, including a champagne toast, begins at 7pm at this Flushing Meadows–Corona Park theater. This thrilling troupe of death-defying acrobats includes spellbinding jugglers and eye-popping contortionists. For more information and ticket pricing, visit queenstheatre.org.
Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises: This New Year’s Eve party cruise includes an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, a DJ, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. The cruise sails from 10pm–1am (boarding at 9 pm) and tickets are $140 (you must be 18 years old for the cruise and 21 to drink alcohol). For more information and to purchase tickets, visit circleline42.com.
For more information about New Year’s Eve events happening in New York City, visit nycgo.com/holidays.
A walking tour is best way to experience the Holidays in New York and slideshow
–Karen Rubin, National Eclectic Travel Examiner
© 2011 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit lodeplus.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin, lodeplus.com/eclectic-traveler-in-long-island/karen-rubin or www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate. Send comments or questions to FamTravLtr@aol.com. Blogging at goingplacesnearandfar.wordpress.com