Are you one of the estimated million or so people who will be crowding into Times Square tonight to say, "Farewell, 2019," and "Uh, 2020, I think I'm ready for you"? In case you are, here are some things to know:
The NYPD is making sure the festivities will be safe. And you'll definitely be seeing a lot of officers. The department said last week, "Thousands of officers, both uniformed and plainclothes, heavy weapons teams from ESU, CRC, and SRG, along with the Technical Assistance & Response Unit, Canine Teams, the Mounted Unit, the Aviation Unit, and the Harbor Unit will be on hand to ensure the safety of the celebrators."
It's also believed that the NYPD will use drones to monitor Times Square (last year was too rainy), and John Miller, the Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism, said to WABC 7, "Times Square is probably going to be the safest place on the planet Earth on New Year's Eve because nobody else puts that kind of effort into an event like this."
Visitors to Times Square cannot bring backpacks, large bags, umbrellas, and alcoholic beverages into the zones. The police claim that property may not be abandoned at the security checkpoints, but we'll report back after our visit into the Hot Zone.
The NYPD explained, "At approximately 11 a.m., attendees will be directed by police officers to gather in separate viewing pens. As the evening progresses, revelers will continue to populate Times Square along Broadway and Seventh Avenue moving uptown from 43rd Street to Central Park. Please note, attendees who leave before the ball drops will not be able to regain entry to their original viewing area."
In other words: THERE ARE NO BATHROOMS OR PORTAPOTTIES, so if you leave your original spot, you won't be able to get back to it.
Also: if you are one of the brave souls going to the Times Square Olive Garden’s New Years Party ($400 per ticket) or any other party in the area, you should have a print out of your confirmation to show police.
Only amateurs are trying to drive around Times Square today. Street closures went into effect overnight. From the NYPD: "Beginning at 4 a.m. on Tuesday, December 31st, 2019, Times Square will be closed to vehicular traffic. People should avoid all cross-town streets from 33rd to 59th Streets, as well as Sixth and Eighth Avenues."
There will be subway services, but stations/entrances near Times Square will close at various points. Here's what the MTA says:
- Full L service will run every 10 – 12 minutes until 1:30 a.m.
- M service will run to 96 St/2 Av from 10 PM to 1:30 a.m.
- Additional subway service in Midtown Manhattan runs every 8 – 12 minutes until 3 a.m. Purchase your MetroCard in advance.
- There will be no trains stopping at 49 St N/Q/R/W station until 12:10 a.m; full service thereafter.
- Uptown 1 trains will skip 50 St station until 12:10 a.m; full service thereafter.
- Some entrances/exits at Times Sq-42 St, 42 St-Bryant Pk/5 Av, 7 Av, 59 St-Columbus Circle, and 57 St-7 Av station will be temporarily closed for crowd control.
- Entrances/exits at additional stations are also subject to closure.
Uh, so I hear BTS is performing... Yes, the biggest pop band in the world is back in New York City, to perform on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (hosted by Ryan Seacrest). BTS will perform on the Countdown stage at 10:38 p.m. until 10:46 p.m. Other performers include Alanis Morrisette and the cast of Jagged Little Pill (8:33 p.m. to 8:41 p.m.) , X Ambassadors (8:46 p.m. to 8:58 p.m. and 11:55 p.m. to 11:58 p.m.), and Post Malone (11:38 p.m. to 11:46 p.m.)—here's a schedule.
Who's pushing the countdown button? Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray will be joined by NYC teachers and high school students! According to the AP, "Jared Fox, who teaches at the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, and seniors Ricardo Herrera and Diane Arevalo are working on a clean-air and greening project in the school's Upper Manhattan neighborhood. Aida Rosenbaum, a Bronx Latin School teacher, and seniors Daniel Soto and Van Troy Ulloa led a fundraising walk to raise money for places without clean water."
I'm more comfortable at home, in my pajamas, but I want to see the ball drop. I totally get you—there's actually a "Times Square 2020 Webcast." It beings at 6 p.m. and ends at 12:15 a.m. in the new year, streaming at TimesSquareNYC.org, NewYearsEve.nyc, Livestream.com/2020 and TimesSquareBall.net.