New Year's Eve celebrations might turn out ending a little earlier this year, because the number of New York area bars that have applied for a special permit allowing them to keep serving booze until 8 am has plummeted by 60 percent. According to the Post, the number of "night permits" that extend the last call by four hours fell from 388 watering holes in New York City, Long Island and Westchester last year to just 165 this year.

Nightlife insiders say that the decline in permits — which are apparently "absolutely necessary" to do good business on New Year's Eve — can be blamed on financial woes and prohibitive state deadlines. "Some of it has to do with the economy," said New York Nightlife Association counsel Robert Bookman. "People aren't booking private parties, for example...It could be that some bar and club owners don't think it's worth it to stay open. Times are definitely tough." Bookman also posited the fall in permits to an early State Liquor Authority deadline that forced bar owners to start planning for New Years Eve well before Thanksgiving. Last year, when the Nov. 17 deadline was put into place, only 39 bars applied in time and the agency extended the deadline.