Despite the love and harmony felt on New Years Eve, planning for NYE in Times Square is fraught with pitfalls, and can turn into a complete disaster if you aren’t prepared. From freezing your balls off in zero degree weather, to dying of thirst as you wait hours for a drink from the open bar – even if it’s included in your ticket price – there are many threats poised to ruin what should be one of the best party nights of the year.
Follow our top tips to ensure you are prepared for when the ball finally drops at midnight.
How to Survive NYE in Times Square
Even though it can be a logistical nightmare, New Year’s Eve in New York just isn’t the same unless it’s celebrated in Times Square. Get proactive and take precautions to ensure that you survive NYE 2013 in style, and charge headfirst into January 1st unscathed.
1. Buy the right ticket
This is by far the most important pre-NYE task. Do you want an exclusive and upscale experience for your New Year’s Eve, or are you looking for fun and freedom with entrance to multiple parties on the Times Square NYE circuit? You’ve got to make this decision in advance; you get this wrong, and you’ll find yourself drinking through your sorrows instead of singing to your dreams.
2. Arriving on time and unscathed
Access to Times Square becomes very restricted at New Years. Transportation is slow, crowds are large, and lines are long. Plan ahead to minimise delays:
Times Square Access Points
On the big night, you can only access Times Square through certain access points. Be smart and check ahead of time with the venue or party organizer exactly which you need to go through and which streets lead to that access point. Get very specific directions to avoid all difficulties on the night.
The New York Police Department is going to close access to Times Square starting at 43rd Street and Broadway, moving north as soon as the crowds begin to arrive. Be aware that exactly when these roads will be blocked to pedestrians and vehicles all depends on how things go the night before, so be prepared to go with the flow, arrive early, and change plans as necessary.
The Times Square Setup
Before arriving, choose where you want to camp out for the night based on what is important to you to have a good time. Remember, the sound system will be located in the Bowtie area (at the cross of Broadway and 7th Avenue) whilst the video screens will be set up on One Times Square (where the Ball is lowered), so plan your spot based on the experience you want to have. Want to dance to loud beats, or do you want to chat away with your friends and loved ones as the clock ticks overhead?
By far the best way to get to Times Square is the subway. All subway stations should remain open on New Year’s Eve, but some entrances and exits might be closed as crowds start to take over the area. Be aware that some trains might bypass certain stations, so visit the MTA website for more information before you set out on your journey.
3. Dealing with crowds
Three very simple, but important tips…
- Arrive between 1pm-5pm. If you get there too late, you might not be able to see the ball drop at midnight, or even be able to enter Times Square at all if the crowd reaches the limits. That would be a disaster, so get there early!
- Get out of the area as soon as the ball drops. Millions of people need to get home or back to their hotels and if you hang around for too long after midnight, it might take you hours to get through the crowds.
- Smile! You will get pushed, you might not get to see all that you would like, and you are going to be in the middle of the madness for many hours in the cold. Remember, you are at one of the worlds biggest NYE celebrations, and the best way to head into 2013 is with a smile on for everyone around you.
4. Having fun
NYE in Times Square is supposed to be fun, but some people can find it overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you have FUN on New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
- If New Year’s Eve is all about the entertainment for you, then you have to arrive super early and secure a spot close to the stages that are assembled in Times Square.
- There are NO portable bathrooms in Times Square. This means go to the bathroom before you leave and drink little while you are there.
- NYE in Times Square is always really cold. If you are standing outside for 10+ hours in low temperatures, you will need lots of layers, a hat, a scarf, gloves and a good pair of boots that have a thick sole. It might help to bring a thermos with a hot drink, and make sure you have plenty to eat, too. New York City winter weather is not to be messed around with.
5. What NOT to do
Here are three big DON’Ts for the evening…
- Unlicensed alcohol is NOT allowed, so don’t carry it on you. If the police catch you with alcohol, they may well throw you out, and your night would come to an abrupt and lonely end.
- DON’T arrive late. There might be so many people by 8pm that you’re not even let in through the barriers to Times Square itself. Do not risk it!
- After you’ve secured your place past the NYPD checkpoints, DON’T take a walk past the barriers. If you decide to leave to grab something to eat or drink, and even pay a visit to the bathroom, you will not be allowed to get back in.
6. The Times Square NYE experience of a lifetime
If the idea of arriving at 1pm in an attempt to secure a good view of the ball drop really doesn’t appeal to you, take advantage of the following NYE exclusive opportunity: clubZone can help you to reserve a ticket in an exclusive ball drop viewing area. You will be guaranteed an excellent view of the ball as it drops without having to camp out in the square the night before!
Written by Kayleigh Lum