Times Square will be without hundreds of thousands—maybe millions—of New Year's Eve revelers on Thursday, but the usual bells and whistles will be ready to ring in 2021. During test runs this week, the confetti fluttered perfectly and the ball was deemed ready to rock.

After 2021,in numeral form, arrived in Midtown and was secured at One Times Square, New Year's Eve organizers held the annual "Air Worthiness of Confetti Test" on the marquee of the Hard Rock Cafe on Tuesday.

"We're going to make sure when the ball drops, there's over a billion people around the world watching safely from home as they see this joyous blizzard of confetti being released over Times Square," Jeffrey Straus, president of Countdown Entertainment which produces the event, said, explaining the importance of this critical trial during a pandemic New Year's. "Today, we're going to test it, make sure that it works properly, that it falls beautifully."

A team of Confetti Dispersal Engineers released about 25 pounds of confetti into the air:

The clean-up is a big component of the New Year's activities. Tom Harris, Vice President of the Times Square Alliance, described how the group relies on their partnership with the Department of Sanitation, "They do the yeoman's effort for the cleanup. They have crews here, waiting for the at the strike of midnight, for the confetti to come down and crowds to leave, and they do a phenomenal job of cleaning up Times Square each and every year."

However, this year, the Times Square celebration will be closed to crowds due to the pandemic. Only performers—who include Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Gayner, and Andra Day—crews, and 40 essential workers and their guests will be allowed in Times Square. Everyone else will watch the festivities online, on television, or on a special New Year's Eve in Times Square app offered by the Times Square Alliance.

Acting Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson said workers usually pick up about 60 tons of trash in those first few hours of the New Year. But since most of that is garbage left behind by the hundreds of thousands of people who come to watch the ball drop in person...he's expecting a lighter load this time.

"For the most part we're looking for at least a 60% dropoff in tonnage, so we're gonna take in the over-under over here for us to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 tons," he said.

On Wednesday, the 12-foot wide, 11,875-pound Waterford Crystal New Year’s Eve Ball, atop One Times Square, got its pre-New Year Eve workout in. Strauss and Harris demonstrated the ball's ascent and descent to the media, showing off the dazzling 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles covering the ball that sparkle in different colors and designs.

Tom Harris of the TImes Square Alliance and Jeffrey Strauss of Countdown Entertainment demonstrate the New Year's Eve Ball's illumination, with Strauss exclaiming after lighting the ball

Tom Harris of the Times Square Alliance and Jeffrey Strauss of Countdown Entertainment with the New Year's Eve Ball

Tom Harris of the Times Square Alliance and Jeffrey Strauss of Countdown Entertainment with the New Year's Eve Ball
Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

"It's probably the most exciting night of my life—and it’s the most nerve-racking night of my life," John Trowbridge, owner of Wolf Productions who oversees the ball drop, told Gothamist/WNYC. "It’s an honor to be here and I think we’re all ready to be done with 2020 and move onto 2021."

He and a crew of four people from Landmark Signs (they do many of the Times Square billboards) will be on the rooftop, plus others from the pyrotechnics team and FDNY, making sure the ball drops exactly at the stroke of midnight.

John Trowbridge at the far right with four other men, in front of the New Year's Eve ball

John Trowbridge, far right, and the other crew members who help make sure the ball drops exactly at midnight

John Trowbridge, far right, and the other crew members who help make sure the ball drops exactly at midnight
Jen Chung / Gothamist

"I'm looking forward to seeing that ball drop and to see that joyful blizzard of confetti—and counting down with the world for the final seconds of 2020, filled with hope for 2021," Strauss said.

Usually, for Harris, his favorite part of New Year's Eve is "standing in the middle of Times Square with my family, watching the ball drop. It's sort of the culmination of family, hard work, and togetherness." But, he ruefully acknowledged that he would be on the perimeter on Thursday, since Times Square is being cordoned off for performers (and social distancing), "This year, of course, has been like no other year, and I'll probably FaceTime my wife and family."

Harris noted he is already thinking about 2021-2022, "We have started to plan the next New Year's and it's our hope that people will return to Times Square—and there will be crowds in Times Square for next New Year's."