New York City has one of the most famous New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world. Tens of thousands of people flood Times Square, news networks from around the world broadcast from strategic vantage points, and the ball drops at midnight with untold millions of people watching, either there or on television. It’s a massive, wonderful annual tradition, and it makes just about everyone want to try spending New Year’s in New York City (and specifically Manhattan) at some point.
It’s a little bit easier said than done. That’s not to say it’s difficult to spend New Year’s in New York, but you can’t simply fly in that morning and stroll to Times Square late at night. With so many people around and so much going on, it takes a little bit of advanced planning to get it right. So here are a few general tips on how to get the most out of the experience.
5 Tips For Enjoying New Year’s Eve in NYC
Find An Out-Of-The-Way Hotel
Unless you can stay pretty much right at Times Square – which is a tricky prospect – you might want to look for an affordable but nice, out-of-the-way hotel elsewhere in the city. This is more doable than it may sound, and naturally, it will help you to avoid the crowds until you actually want to dive into them. U.S. News & World Report has done a nice job just this year of putting together suggestions of New York City hotels outside of Manhattan, with a focus on Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island City.
Of the places listed there, Franklin Guesthouse in Brooklyn may be the most appealing. It’s out of the thick of Manhattan, and though it can run about $200 a night for a room, the rooms are spacious and comfortable (so you can split it up with a few friends).
Know Where The Parties Are
Times Square is the main draw, and the place to be when the ball drops. But for the hours before and after, or if you simply would rather be in a more intimate environment come midnight, it pays to know where the top parties are. Some of these take a little bit of advance scouting (and of course hefty cover charges) to attend, but you can already browse through a huge array of parties. There are family-friendly dining venues, late nightclubs that will be bursting with activity, bars and hotel lounges right at Times Square, and even river cruises.
The parties are usually a little different each year so it’s hard to say which will be the best. But Penthouse 760 (a rooftop venue over Times Square), Bar 54 in the Times Square Hyatt, and Planet Hollywood all look like they’ll be fun places to be for the transition to 2018.
Dress To Impress
In all likelihood, you’ll be out with your own friends or family, and you won’t need to impress anybody. Then again, you never know who you might run into, and you should keep in mind that in a way, just by being in New York, you’re attending the world’s biggest party. Think about how you want to be perceived by the million other guests in attendance. There’s an interesting article on how people in entertainment dress that delved into something called the “Halo Effect.” This dictates that humans analyze a person’s appearance and instantly start forming an impression based on assumptions. And let’s face it, partying at Times Square for New Year’s Eve, you want to feel like a big shot! So take the opportunity to play the part – dress up a bit, and you’ll stand out even in a crowd this large, as people see you and feel instantly impressed.
Treat Times Square Like A Stakeout
The only unfortunate thing about New Year’s Eve in New York City is that Times Square really is more crowded than you could possibly imagine. And once it starts to get crowded, it’s too dense to do very much moving around. So, unless you have a party to attend elsewhere, you’ll want to get there fairly early – and you won’t want to move once you have a spot. For this reason, it’s generally recommended that you treat the experience like a stakeout. Bring a few bottles of water, grab some takeout from one of the zillion restaurants on the surrounding streets, and make yourself comfortable. It can actually be sort of fun, and it’s worth getting a good spot once the night’s festivities really begin.
Have An Exit Strategy
The worst part of New Year’s Eve at Times Square is about 20 minutes after the ball drops (if not sooner), when people start to want to disperse, and jostling ensues. That’s not to say it becomes an unruly mob, but there’s a lot of congestion, and it can take a really long time just to move a few streets over. You can avoid the worst of this by having a concrete plan in place before you go. Stake out a spot near your “exit point,” whether it’s a bar you’re planning on ducking into, a street you’re going to walk away on at the end of the party, etc. Simply by having a plan, you can know exactly where you’re going as soon as you’re ready to go, and with a clear direction, you can avoid the worst of the mob.
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