Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop, New York - Questions and Answers

The following information is provided courtesy of the Times Square Alliance. You can also visit Times Square Alliance's New Years Eve page for more info.

New Years in Times Square Frequently Asked Questions

The Times Square New Year's Eve celebration features star-studded musical performances, balloons, pom-poms, confetti, a colorful pyrotechnic display and 750,000 of your closest friends. Here are a few of the questions we are often asked about New Year's Eve in Times Square:

Where is the Ball lowered?
When should I get there?
What should I wear and what should I bring?
What security procedures are in place?
Are tickets needed for New Years in Times Square?
What streets will be closed for the celebrations?
Will there be portable public restrooms available?
Will there be areas in Times Square designated for the disabled?
Where is the best view?
Is alcohol or champagne allowed?
Will there be food and drink vendors in the square?
Will there be restaurants open in the area? Can revelers return to the same viewing areas after dining?
Are theaters, stores and restaurants going to be open?
What is the best way to come to Times Square?
Are there still hotel rooms available in the Times Square area?
What is the history of the Times Square New Year's Eve event?
Which Times Square restaurants and hotels have a view of a Ball on New Years?
How do I enter Times Square on New Year's Eve?
How much confetti is dropped in Times Square on New Year's Eve?

Where is the Ball lowered?
The Times Square New Year's Eve Ball descends from a flagpole at the top of One Times Square. It can best be seen along Broadway, from 43rd Street to 50th Street, and along Seventh Avenue, as far north as 59th Street.

When should I get there?
Revelers begin to gather in the late afternoon on New Year's Eve, December 31st. The best advice we can give is to get there as early as possible. We cannot predict how quickly the viewing areas will fill up. Prime viewing areas may fill up early in the afternoon.

At approximately 6:00 p.m. EST the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball will be raised to the top of the 77-foot flagpole at One Times Square (Broadway at 43rd Street) and lit. At exactly 11:59 p.m. EST, the Ball will make its 60-second descent down the flagpole to signal the start of the New Year.

What should I wear and what should I bring?
Dress warmly. Remember that you could be spending an extended period outdoors in potentially below-freezing conditions. You should be well-prepared and well-insulated. Many layers, synthetics (such as Goretex and polypropylene), wind-resistant and water-repellant outerwear and a good hat are the keys to staying warm.

Finally, remember to drink lots of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine. Not only is public drinking illegal in New York City, but both caffeine and alcohol will dehydrate you. Dehydration is very common and can sneak up on you in cold weather.

What security procedures are in place?
The New York Police Department will control all access points to Times Square. No bags or backpacks are permitted. Emergency Service squads, drug and bomb sniffing canine units and counter-terrorism personnel will be present in Times Square on New Year's Eve.

Are tickets needed for New Years in Times Square?
No. This event is open to everyone. However, to get the best view, arrive early in the afternoon.

What streets will be closed for the celebrations?
The New York Police Department will begin closing down access to Times Square starting at 43rd Street and Broadway and moving north as revelers arrive. The exact times that these blocks close to pedestrian and vehicular traffic will depend on when the revelers begin arriving. It is likely that there will be no vehicular traffic on either Broadway or Seventh Avenue as of approximately 4:00 p.m. Vehicles will most likely have difficulty traveling across town after 6:00 p.m. above 42nd Street as far north as 59th Street.

If you are planning to come to Times Square and join in the festivities, you are advised to enter from Sixth or Eighth Avenue. Your chance of getting a viewing spot near the Ball (at Broadway & 43rd Street) increases the earlier you arrive. The blocks will be closed off as they fill up northward, street-by-street, as the police deem necessary.

Will there be portable public restrooms available?
No.

Will there be areas in Times Square designated for the disabled?
Yes. The police will set aside a viewing area for the disabled, located on the northwest corner of 43rd Street. However, this area will fill up quickly, and it is advised that disabled visitors arrive early in the day.

Where is the best view?

The earlier you arrive, the better your view and the closer you will be to the action. The sound system is set up in the Bowtie area (where Broadway and Seventh Avenue cross), and the video screens on One Times Square (where the Ball is lowered) are easily visible. There is an additional screen set up at Broadway and 50th Street.
Is alcohol or champagne allowed?
No. Public drinking is illegal in New York City. Police will confiscate alcohol.

Will there be food and drink vendors in the square?
No. There will be no licensed food and beverage vendors in Times Square. However, there are hundreds of restaurants in and around Times Square.

Will there be restaurants open in the area? Can revelers return to the same viewing areas after dining?
Many restaurants located in the Times Square area will be open on New Year's Eve and make your reservations well in advance.

You can also pick up a copy of the Zagat Times Square Restaurant Guide at the Times Square Information Center on 7th Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets. Please remember that if you dine at a local restaurant, you will not simply be able to come out and watch the Ball lowering at midnight. Revelers will arrive in Times Square early in the day, and while you are dining, designated viewing areas will fill up on a "first come, first served" basis. Furthermore, no one is allowed to stand in the emergency lanes or on sidewalks. Please remember that if you leave your viewing area to dine in a restaurant, you will not be able to return to your spot in a viewing area.

Are theaters, stores and restaurants going to be open?
Some Broadway theaters will be open on New Year's Eve. The TKTS booth will open at 10 a.m. on New Year's Eve. You can check the schedules for Broadway and some Off Broadway shows at www.telecharge.com or www.ticketmaster.com. Stores and restaurants will be open at their own discretion, so please call them ahead of time.

What is the best way to come to Times Square?
The best way to come to Times Square is via public transportation. To get to Times Square, the # 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, A, B, C, D, E, F, N, Q, R, W, V and S shuttle trains all service 42nd Street. It is expected that the MTA will keep all subway stations open on New Year's Eve. Some entrances and exits may be closed as crowd conditions require. After 7 p.m. on December 31st, the N and R train station at 49th Street and Seventh Avenue may be closed until after midnight. Trains may also bypass some stations, depending on how the crowds build.

For further information nearer the date of the event, please call or visit the MTA at (718) 330-1234 or www.mta.nyc.ny.us.

Other useful sources of information:
Port Authority Bus Terminal (212) 564-8484
New York City Transit Authority (Local Bus Service) (718) 330-1234
Amtrak (800) 523-8720
Metro North (212) 532-4900
Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) (718) 217- LIRR

Are there still hotel rooms available in the Times Square area?
There are more than 16,000 hotel rooms in the Times Square neighborhood - ranging from large hotel chains, to small quiet retreats or suite hotels for extended stays. There are also several youth hostels situated in and around the Times Square area. Book your stay now to avoid disappointment. Contact travel websites or your travel agent for more information and reservations.

What is the history of the Times Square New Year's Eve event?
Revelers have been celebrating New Year's Eve in Times Square since 1904. To learn more about the celebration's history, check out our History of New Year's Eve in Times Square.

Which Times Square restaurants and hotels have a view of the Ball? Renaissance New York DoubleTree Guest Suites Marriott Marquis TGI Fridays Bubba Gump Sbarro Pizza Olive Garden Foley's Fish House


How much confetti is dropped in Times Square on New Year's Eve?
More than 2,000 pounds (1 ton) of confetti.

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