By 9:30 a.m., enthusiastic New Year's Eve revelers were already filing into the viewing area pens for tonight's big Times Square celebration. But with midnight a long way away, how would they cope without being able to use a restroom? "We haven't been drinking anything for a long time," a pair of friends confessed.
Anthony, 28, and Ross, 27, who are originally from New Orleans but recently moved to NYC in the past few weeks, were standing at the front of a pen set up between 43rd and 44th Streets. They arrived at 8 a.m. and were planning to stick it out until midnight. If nature calls, Anthony waved an empty Gatorade bottle, "I have this, in case."
With most of the streets closed and much of the space taken up by the slowly-filling pens, tourists happily snapped photos and selfies with the New Year's diehards who are determined to ring in 2016 from Times Square. About a million people flock to the "Crossroads of the World" on New Year's Eve, many of them foreign, like Kiah, 20, and Keely, 20, from Australia, and Cherry, 21, from South Africa.
Asked about their bathroom plan, the women said, "We have supplies." They arrived yesterday and are staying in Brooklyn—and they are leaving the city tomorrow. When asked why they were camped out, with their Australian and South African flags (they asked other revelers for signatures), they exclaimed, "It's Times Square!" Kiah added that New Year's Eve the movie was also inspiration.
Ruby, who is visiting New York City for the first time from California, arrived at 6 a.m. to stake out a corner of the pen. She explained, "This is on my bucket list!" And don't worry, she'll be fine without bathroom access for 18 hours: "I'm wearing a bunch of pads."
Then there are the veterans of Times Square New Year's Eves: Greg Packer arrived in Times Square by 8:30 a.m., after taking the 6:50 a.m. Long Island Rail Road train from Huntington, Long Island. "I'm wearing four sweatshirts and a coat—I'm ready," he enthused. He's celebrated the new year in Times Square too many times to count ("definitely over 10 times") and reasoned, "It's either stand here"—noting his prime position right in the center of 43rd Street—"or spend $400 at Olive Garden." Which one will you choose tonight?