At the stroke of midnight every year during the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, thousands of pounds of confetti are dumped onto the cheering crowd. But while the act might seem foolproof, thanks to skyscraper-created wind currents and the force of gravity, it never hurts to have a dry run. 

So, with just a few days left before 2022, the big event’s organizers gathered Wednesday to test out this year’s batch of confetti.

“We test the confetti every year, and every year it’s different!” Jeffrey Straus, president of Countdown Entertainment and co-organizer of the New Year’s Eve extravaganza, said. 

“The first test, the confetti was going in the wrong direction, down towards Herald Square," he said. "So we learned we had to throw the confetti down to make the confetti come up, and then it was perfect.”

For about 10 minutes, confetti filled the air as a few dozen onlookers watched and a dance troupe performed a routine for the cameras. Video billboards on the marquee of the Hard Rock Hotel blared greetings sponsored by Planet Fitness, hoping passersby “feel 'fitacular' in 2022.” 

Despite the trappings of a normal holiday, there were plenty of reminders of the COVID-19 pandemic and the omicron surge. Everyone at the confetti test run was wearing a mask, as were most of the pedestrians walking through Times Square. And, just one block north, a line for a COVID-19 test site snaked past workers building the stage for the New Year’s Eve celebration.

The mixed feelings around the holiday were evident in the crowd that came out to watch the confetti test. Afterwards, Emily Cimaszewski and Paolo Copanong scooped up handfuls of confetti for their Instagram photos, but said they were staying away from the main celebrations in favor of a small gathering with friends at home.

“We're definitely not going to be coming to Times Square on actual New Year's Eve. It's a little chaotic and with COVID and everything. I think it's better to stay in,” Cimaszewski, 23, said.

Nearby stood 50-year-old Princenia Rakes, who had traveled from Clarksville, Indiana with her husband in hopes of being part among the 15,000 vaccinated and masked people allowed to watch the ball drop in person. Rakes said they wanted a change from last New Year’s, which they had celebrated at home by themselves.

“We just said ‘let's do something different and get out of the house.’ So that's why we came,” Rakes said.

The amount of confetti dropped Wednesday was just a small fraction of the 3,000 pounds that will blanket Times Square on Friday night, but it was still enough to cover much of the sidewalk along Broadway between West 43rd and 44th Streets. After the confetti had been dumped, the dance troupe disbanded, and the crowd dispersed, workers with the Times Square Alliance hit the street with brooms and vacuums for their own test drive at cleaning up after the crowd. 

Juju Adger is looking forward to working on New Year's Eve.

One of them, Juju Adger, said it’s his first year working with the organization, and he’ll be helping tidy up Times Square after the big party as well.

“It's like, oh snap, I get the thrill of being on 42nd, you know? I love it,” Adger said. “So shout out to everybody with a new year's resolution, you know?”