Well 2015 was the year we finally made it to new York City and visited the incredible Times Square, as you can see from the picture at the top of the page! OK so it wasn't new year's eve when we visited but even in mid July the place was buzzing with an energy all of it's own - finally we can see what all the hype is about! To actually get to see in new year in NYC is now officially right at the top of the bucket list! I've put some more pics from our visit further down this page, just couldn't resist!
Well, this is the big one! If Sydney and the fireworks over the harbour bridge are what gets New Years Eve started, then New York's Times Square hold the party everyone waits up for! The fireworks and the ball drop are the obvious highlight but there are events going on throughout the day - turn up nice and early (you'll need to!) and be treated to a full day of entertainment including live music, celebrity guest appearances, comedy acts and dancers.
I'm not generally a big fan of large crowds, or indeed waiting around for a long time but I guess when it comes to new years in Times Square I'm going to have to be a little more flexible than usual! I would love to hear personal experiences from anyone who has actually attended, especially with hints and tips on the best way to go about it, please use the comments form at the bottom of the page if you can help!
Times Square is the major component of the New Year's Eve celebration, where huge crowds gather to wait all day for the world famous ball drop, and new year 2015-2016 will be no exception. The Waterford crystal ball is located on the roof of One Times Square and begins it's slow descent at precisely 11:59 pm, triggering fireworks at the stroke of midnight when it finally reaches the bottom. The ball drop theme this year is "Gift of Wonder".
Toshiba's Times Square billboard screen also displays a timer of the countdown with the crowd joining in to count out the final ten seconds.
If you're heading to Times Square then we heartily recommend the Balldrop Pass - it's going to set you back in the region of $250 but includes admission to parties in multiple venues in Times Square and the surrounding area, featuring the top party DJ's in NYC, plus many of the venues have free food and drink, and the pass also gives you access to a raft of special offers and deals valued at up to $1000 - seems rude not to! There is also a Family Pass option.
The Times Square fireworks and ball drop are immediately preceded by the iconic Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year with Ryan Seacrest, where massive stars perform for the crowds and the same worldwide viewers on TV and online. The show also includes live streaming video sections from the Billboard Hollywood Party, offering the biggest names from boith locations art the same time. New year's eve 2015 also saw a live link from Nashville, so we'll be looking out to see if that is repeated too.
Latest: Headline acts for Times Square new years eve 2016 will be One Direction and country legend Carrie Underwood, with Demi Lovato, Luke Bryan and Wiz Khalifa.
Competition for the New Years Rockin Eve is provided by ABC TV, who offer their New Year's Eve with Carson Daly show featuring top name live musical performances as well as the ball drop coverage from Times Square.
The CNN coverage live from Times Square on New Year's Eve will again be hosted by Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin - the pair have been doing this so long now the show is actually named "New Year's Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin" and you can watch the TV broadcast and also watch it as a live online stream.
If you're looking for a hotel with a view of Times Square so you can watch the ball drop without getting jammed up in the crowds then we can personally recommend the Residence Inn Central Park - make sure you pay the extra for a Times Square view room, although there is also an outdoor terrace on the gym level with very good views. There is also a big party at the Novetel New York Times Square, where their event space Supernova hosts an annual new year party that also benefits from a heated terrace with spectacular views - tickets here.
Another great option is the Tonic Bar and Restaurant in Times Square, where they capitalise on their excellent location on 7th avenue between 48th and 49th to host a party that includes an open bar and the chance to step out of the restaurant prior to midnight to catch the ball drop in person - get more details and buy tickets online here.
Away from the hubbub and general chaos in Times Square, there is also a big fireworks display in Prospect Park, across in Brooklyn. There is entertainment throughout the evening at the Grand Army Plaza, followed by the pyrotechnics come midnight.
For live music, there is always plenty to choose from in NYC:
One of the earliest acts to confirm their new year show this year is Phish, who will be live at Madison Square Garden fro 4 nights from December 30 to January 2 - tickets are available here.
Meanwhile at the Best Buy Theater the live act for new year will be The Disco Biscuits.
Gogol Bordello will be live at NYCs Terminal 5 on the 30th and 31st December - tickets here
Govt Mule will be live at the Beacon Theatre - tickets here.
Deer Tick will be live at the Brooklyn Bowl - tickets here
They Might Be Giants (TMBG) at Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn - tickets here
Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY - tickets here
There will be, as always, a huge range of parties in New York for the new year, just in the Times Square area itself there are dozens of noteworthy venues, especially at Planet Hollywood, Carmine's Guy's American Kitchen and Bar, Dallas BBQ, TGI Fridays NYC, BB King's Blues Club, Madame Tussauds, Chevys, Copacabana, Culture Club, Espace or how about watching the ball drop from the ultimate viewing spot, the XVI Rooftop Lounge. Ticket details to follow.
For culture vultures the New York Philharmonic Orchestra hold their annual new year party - full show and ticket details to follow.
With the island location of Manhattan providing plenty of possibilities for maritime-based fireworks viewing then it's no surprise to find a numger of cruise options for your new year celebration. Top choices for this year include the Bateaux New York NYE Fireworks Dinner, which offers a winning combination of fine dining, live music with imaginative culinary creations, extensive wine list and star-quality entertainment.
There is also a big party taking place just across the water at Coney Island, and also in Brooklyn's Prospect Park where not only will htere be food, drink and live entertainment, but also fireworks at midnight, a feature notably missing from the Times Square party.
Alternatively we also really like the look of the Spirit of New York NYE Fireworks Dinner, which comes complete with dinner buffet, premium open bar, DJ Entertainment, party favors, champagne toast at midnight and midnight fireworks, a great way to welcome 2016 on the water!
Places to watch live online - this is one place you're going to have no trouble finding live coverage of no matter where you are in the world - why not try getting a taste of the atmosphere throughout the day on the live streaming web cam feeds on the excellent Earthcam site, which has a special section dedicated to the event, with live streaming views all around Times Square
The full event is also webcast live online here:
There is also an official Ball Drop app that brings all the latest from Times Square including live coverage of the ball drop itself direct to your mobile phone, tablet, Ipad, whatever! This year's app is even more user friendly and interactive than the previous version, alowing among other things Tweets between users:
If you're planning on visiting New York over the New Year period, then it will be beyond busy so early reservation is very strongly recommended - click Here for the best New York hotel deals
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