Hundreds of staffers and thousands of spectators are filtering into Times Square today, eager to welcome 2023 with uninhibited celebrations at full scale for the first time since the pandemic began.

Times Square Alliance President Tom Harris says his organization, which acts as the neighborhood's steward, is eager to welcome "the world back to a safer New York City and a safer Time Square" after so many years away.

He expects to welcome more visitors than the Alliance did last year, when it substantially scaled down the event in response to the surge of COVID-19 cases.

Harris said there will be 13 different productions broadcasting from Times Square throughout the night, and the Alliance argues that there's something for everyone at the various events.

Lele Monh traveled to New York City from Texas with a group of friends to see the South Korean superstar J-Hope of the boy band BTS grace the stage. Monh and her group posted up on the corner of West 50th Street and Sixth Avenue at 11 p.m. on Dec. 30 to ensure they had the best spot possible for the performance.

Monh calls it all her "YOLO moment."

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," she said. "So, especially to do it with friends… kind of just makes it that more meaningful."

Fellow tourist Vanessa Woodward never envisioned herself coming to New York for the festivities before this year. She's from San Bernardino County in California, and had never been to New York City before this trip.

Even though Woodward spent much of the night sitting on the sidewalk across the street from Radio City Music Hall, she explained that it felt special to be in New York.

"Being surrounded by everyone bringing in the New Year together, just seeing everyone together and enjoying the atmosphere – we don't really get that in California," she said.

Facilitating that once-in-a-lifetime experience for tourists and spectators like Monh and Woodward takes plenty of time and effort.

Gary Winkler, head of the Times Square Alliance's signature events, said that creating the physical infrastructure for New Year's Eve starts in early December. Utility crews spent the month working overnight to ensure there were enough power and fiber-optic cables to sustain the festivities.

But the real work began the day after Christmas, he added. Almost all the equipment necessary to put on the shows came into Times Square in the six days between Dec. 26 and New Year's Eve.

It takes over 1,000 people to make the pre-production happen, plus all the production crews that grace Times Square on the last night of the year.

But, he maintains, the result is nothing short of magical. Winkler's favorite part is the confetti drop that happens at midnight and rains 10 million little shreds of paper onto the crowd.

Even tossing down the confetti is a herculean effort. Teams of so-called "dispersal engineers" are trained in fluffing the 3,000 pounds of confetti, so that it falls like snow from the tops of seven buildings across the neighborhood.

Winkler thinks the spectacle could convert even the most cold-hearted skeptic into a New Year's Eve lover.

"This may not be your type of thing, standing outside in cold weather and rain," he said. "But… to be around between 11:45 and 12:15, our final half hour of the event – including the 3,000 pounds coming down in your head – there's nothing like it."