If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, check out the Times Square Alliance's description of the New Year's Eve festivities here. For cool facts about the ball's history and how it is and has been constructed over the years, see here. Some people are lucky enough to have a friend or family member who has either rented a hotel room or works in an office building surrounding Times Square. However, if you're not one of those people, please read on.
While, admittedly, WGINY will be snug and warm at a cozy house party on NYE, watching the ball drop live on TV from a comfy living room, I can offer some suggestions for those of you who want to get out of the house and experience one of the most iconic New Year's celebrations worldwide:
- Buy a ticket for Dave and Buster's New Year's Eve celebration, which gives you access to Times Square (to get to the venue...). Note: D & B does not offer private viewings of the ball drop, but having a ticket for a Times Square venue will help you work your way through crowd control. $75pp+.
- TGIF -- You may be thinking you don't want to spend your NYE at a chain restaurant in NYC, but think again... If you buy a ticket to TGIF's Times Square New Year's Eve party, you can have the opportunity to exit the bar just before midnight, right onto the heart of Times Square, and then re-enter after the ball drops. $220pp+.
- Madame Tussauds -- Spend your evening mingling with famous celebrities, sports figures and politicians, or at least with their wax likenesses... And if you're willing to drop some extra dough on these tickets, you can watch the ball drop from the museum's second floor which overlooks Times Square. $700pp. (Less $$ if you just want to hang at the venue and not have access to the overlook).
- Dream Hotel -- Still pricey, but for less than Madame Tussauds' package, you can buy a ticket that will give you access to a top-floor lounge with views of Times Square. $495pp. (Less $$ for venue access without view of Times Square).
- For more ideas on how to get tickets to New Year's Eve events in Times Square, so that you have a legitimate reason to be there, see here. There's a party for every budget! Re-entry is not guaranteed at most of these venues, but if your aim is to get to Times Square, you may be able to accomplish just that...
- A friend's mom gave me the following idea, which I have not personally tried, but which I do trust, and which can save you at least a few hours of freezing outside: buy a ticket for a movie at one of the major movie theaters in Times Square -- either AMC Empire 25 or Regal E-Walk Stadium 13 -- make sure to show your movie ticket to police at showtime, and when the movie ends, walk right out onto prime Times Square area. Although the movies at AMC end pretty early in the day, with the last movies beginning at 3pm, Regal has at least one movie beginning at 6pm on December 31. In other words, you can have food/drink/bathroom access with a Regal movie ticket until at least 8pm in Times Square...
- Finally, a few years ago, Caroline's, a top-rated comedy club on Broadway, had a special for New Year's Eve where patrons could have the opportunity to come to a late-night comedy show and then spill out onto Times Square just before the ball dropped. It's not clear from their website whether or not Caroline's still offers this. Contact the club directly for details.
One last side note: I randomly found this event, "Times Scare," while Googling Times Square activities (and I realized it also appears on the link above). It does not appear that the event will offer an actual viewing of the Times Square ball drop (besides on live TV), but it just seems like a super cool idea -- a 6-hour open-bar Halloween-themed haunted masquerade party, and there's even a magic show!