New years eve in New York City is all about Times Square and the famous ball drop, but there is a huge range of alternative events and parties to choose from.
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 you need to be a little more flexible than usual as the crowds start to gather early in the day to wait for the new year celebrations to begin.
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 2017-2018 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.
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 strongly 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!
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.
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.
One iconic new year's eve party well worth attending in New York is the Supernova Ball Drop at the Novotel New York Times Square - this party offers live direct views of the ball drop as well as live entertainment, premium open bar and a dance floor with top DJ - get more details and buy your tickets online here.
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.
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:
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.
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 there 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 2018 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 absolutely essential, and you need to be prepared to pay a high premium for anywhere on Manhattan in particular.
You can search for deals at all of the best New York hotels here.
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