There are many different New Year celebrations all around the world, but the Times Square Ball Drop is perhaps the most iconic. In the heart of the most famous city on Earth, this special event signals the end of one year and the beginning of the next. The ball drop has been a legendary part of American culture for decades now, with many people flocking to New York City each and every year from all over the world to witness and observe this special moment with their own eyes and ears.
The big celebration occurs on the evening of December 31 each year, with the ball itself being located on the top of One Times Square. The first ever Times Square Ball Drop occurred way back in 1907 to ring in the arrival of 1908. The idea was put forth by Adolph Ochs, a newspaper publisher who owned both the Chattanooga Times and the New York Times. Every year since then, except in 1942 and 43 due to the Second World War, the ball drop has taken place.
The celebration has grown and evolved over time, with modern ball drops attracting over one million live spectators, and countless others watching from home. In recent years, various celebrities and special guests have appeared at the Times Square Ball Drop. The Mayor of New York City will activate the ball alongside the special guest or guests, with a musical guest also in attendance performing 'Imagine' by John Lennon.
When the ball finally reaches the end of its 141 foot journey, fireworks are launched into the sky from the roof of One Times Square and the New Year has officially begun in the Big Apple. If you'd like to attend the Times Square Ball Drop this year or in the future, there are some key tips and important information you'll need to bear in mind. Read on for the best tips for making the most of your New Year's Eve at Times Square.
Get There Early
This is perhaps the most important tip for getting the best views of the Times Square Ball Drop and having the best time on New Year's Eve in New York City. As previously mentioned, this event attracts a huge number of people. Like any major event, people will often get there early to claim the best spots and have the best views for later on in the evening, and this is especially true of the Times Square Ball Drop.
Due to the nature of Times Square, the drop can be seen from quite a long way away, but it's definitely a very special and memorable experience if you can get in a good position. You'll need to be very patient and arrive around midday to get your best spot, which means waiting in the same place for a very long time, but New Year's Eve only comes along once a year, so the end definitely justifies the means in this case.
Be Very Patient
As previously mentioned, if you choose to arrive early and stake your claim on a good viewing spot, you're going to need to be very patient. The best spots need to be claimed by around 1pm or 2pm typically, so that means you'll be sitting around in the same location for almost half a day if you want to get the best views of the Times Square Ball Drop.
Nobody likes waiting around doing nothing, but don't forget that you're sitting in the heart of one of the world's liveliest and most beautiful cities, so just try to take advantage of that fact by doing some people watching and soaking up the atmosphere.
This Times Square Ball Drop tip ties into what we've talked about above; you're going to be waiting a long, long time, so you need to be prepared. This means going to the toilet ahead of time if possible. If you leave your spot to visit a restroom later in the day, you might have some trouble making it back unless you're traveling with a group who can hold down the fort and guard your place for you. There are plenty of public bathrooms nearby, like in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, so be sure to visit before claiming your spot.
In addition, you'll also want to have something to eat or drink before you start to play the waiting game; staying hydrated and energized can be very important when you have to sit or stand for a long period of time, and you don't want to abandon your spot later on in search of food, so be sure to eat ahead of time or perhaps purchase some drinks and snacks to eat at your spot.
Check the Weather
New Year's Eve, December 31, is traditionally a pretty cold time of year, and this is very true in New York City. The Big Apple has seen a lot of snow in December in the past, with temperatures routinely dropping down close to freezing point or even lower. Again, this is another factor to bear in mind when preparing to enjoy the Times Square Ball Drop; the temperatures are going to get frosty as the day turns into night, and you're going to be standing around outdoors for many hours in a row.
With that in mind, it's a very smart and sensible idea to wear multiple layers, including a thick winter coat, as well as bringing gloves, scarves, and hats along for you and your friends or family. Pay attention to the weather forecast before you set out and be sure to dress and prepare accordingly. You definitely don't want to be stuck outside shivering in Times Square after dark.