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Remember when you were a kid and it was a big deal to stay up and watch the ball drop in Times Square on TV? Then you grew up and at some point realized that Times Square is the last place you’d want to spend your New Year’s Eve, right? But what if that jaded point of view is just keeping you from celebrating a one-of-a-kind experience in harmony with thousands of your brothers and sisters from around the world? Maybe this is your year to get over your fear of crowds, Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest and be the reveler your younger self always dreamt you’d be! (Anyway, it’s a lot cheaper than most other options.)

And this seems like a particularly festive year to take the plunge; it’s the 100th anniversary of the New Year’s Eve Ball drop, and the event’s organizers have unveiled a new LED Crystal ball for the occasion. The surface consists of Waterford Crystal triangles and boasts “increased energy efficiency” – though twice as bright as the old ball, the new one will be lit with “approximately the same amount of electricity as it takes to power ten toasters or a single oven/range.” Since the ball drop started a century year ago, only two years were missed: ‘42 and ‘43, during the wartime "dimout" of lights in New York City.

If you decide to join the festivities, here are some things you should know:

  • No alcohol or champagne! Police will confiscate it.
  • There will be no licensed food and beverage vendors in Times Square.
  • The police control all access points to Times Square.
  • No bags or backpacks will be permitted.
  • There will be no portable public restrooms.
  • One ton of confetti will be dropped on you.

Who’s in?! And we also have street closures and subway info after the jump.

If you want a good spot to see the ball – which is raised up at 6pm and lowered at 11:59pm – it’s recommended that you arrive in the afternoon and wait. The best view is along Broadway, from 43rd Street to 50th Street, and along Seventh Avenue, as far north as 59th Street. Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin Eve begins broadcasting at 10pm. There are helpful tips here, more history on the tradition here, and the strange journey of this year’s ‘8’ in 2008 here.

Have you ever greeted the New Year in Times Square? If so, any tips? And if you go this year, please let us know about it on the 1st (We’ve already got plans.)

Photograph of the Waterford Crystal New Year's Eve Ball by missapril1956

From the NYPD and MTA:

There will be No Parking in the following areas from Monday, December 31st at 12:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 1st:
* All cross-town streets from 34th to 57th Street between Sixth and Eighth Avenue;
* West side of Sixth Avenue, from 34th to 59th Streets;
* East side of Eighth Avenue from 34th to 57th Streets;
* 48th Street between Fifth and Ninth Avenues.

At approximately 4:00 p.m. on Monday, December 31st, the following streets will be closed to all vehicular traffic:
* Seventh Avenue, from 42nd to 59th Streets;
* Broadway, from 42nd to 59th Streets;
* 43rd to 47th Streets, from Sixth to Eighth Avenue.

After 6:30 p.m. on Monday, December 31st, the remainder of the traffic closures will be instituted as crowd conditions warrant:
* All cross-town streets from 37th to 42nd Streets - Sixth to Eighth Avenues;
* All cross-town streets from 49th to 59th Streets - Sixth to Eighth Avenues;
* 48th Street, from Fifth to Ninth Avenues;
* Cross-town access for emergency vehicles will be available on 42nd, 48th, 57th and 59th Streets.

People are strongly advised to use public transportation. On street parking will be extremely limited in the Midtown area. People should avoid all cross-town streets from 34th to 59th Streets, as well as Sixth and Eighth Avenues.

The Department will continue its drunk driving enforcement on New Year's Eve through DWI patrols and checkpoints throughout the City. The NYPD increased drunk driving arrests 16.4% over the last year, and as part of the DWI Forfeiture Initiative, seized 2,245 vehicles from drunk drivers so far in 2007, 33% more than 2006. Due to these efforts, our City experienced a 33% decline in drunk-driving fatalities this year.

TRANSIT INFORMATION

Beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, December 31st, some subway access around Times Square will be closed. The following subway system changes should be noted:
* Southbound and northbound N/R/W lines will skip the 49th Street station beginning at 7 p.m., Monday, December 31st until approximately 12:15 a.m., Tuesday, January 1st.
* The northbound IRT “#1” train will skip the 50th Street station beginning at 7 p.m., Monday, December 31st until approximately 12:15 a.m., Tuesday, January 1st.

The MTA also stresses not to bring alcohol onto its trains and buses.