Where to Ring in the New Year
There’s no doubt that Times Square in New York City is the most famous place in the world for watching one year turn into the next. While there are some pyrotechnics involved, the real spectacle is watching the iconic ball drop. If you’ve always dreamed of joining the heaving crowd of revellers in the middle of NYC’s most touristy district, you need to bear in mind that police generally cordon off the entire area by the early afternoon and set up strict security checkpoints for anybody wishing to get in (and if you don’t come early enough, they likely won’t let you in at all). No bags or backpacks are allowed in and there are no portable public toilets available. If none of that deters you, you will get a chance to see some world-class performers take to the stages set up around the Square.
If you’re in NYC and want to experience NYE in public but in a slightly less chaotic way, there are plenty of other places to see some fireworks, including Central Park, Prospect Park and New York Harbour (where a private boat shoots off fireworks right next to the Statue of Liberty).
Where to Party
New York has an endless array of bars and clubs in which you can ring in the New Year, however, you need to reserve with most of the nicer ones well ahead of time to make sure you can get in. Furthermore, most such venues require you to purchase a pricey ticket to secure your spot. These tickets usually include several hours of open bar access, so if you’re a big drinker it’s not a bad deal at all.
If you want to party with the beautiful people, make a reservation at Lavo (39 E 58th St; +212 584 2700; lavony.com), one of NYC’s most exclusive clubs, a place where A-Listers like Leonardo DiCaprio, Heidi Klum and Paris Hilton are known to frequent. The New Years Eve party at the opulently appointed club is known for being filled with celebrities and jetsetters, but their bouncers are also notoriously difficult to get by, especially if you are a guy without multiple gorgeous girls on each arm.
A very different New Years Eve party can be found at the very classy Capitale (130 Bowery; 212 334 5500; capitaleny.com). This event space is located in an elegant building, built in 1893, that looks like something out of The Great Gatsby. The spectacular New Years Eve bash held here for the last 12 years capitalises on the classy digs with a celebration that recalls all the glitz and glamour of Old New York, complete with white glove service and champagne waterfalls. The building boasts an immense 40,000 square foot, multi-level layout and an opulent ballroom lined with tall Corinthian columns, marble mosaic floors and Venetian glass.
Where to Stay
The 1,949-room Marriot Marquis New York (1535 Broadway, New York, NY; 212 228 9290; marriott.com/hotels/travel/nycmq-new-york-marriott-marquis) is located right in the middle of Times Square and thus could not be more centrally located for the New Years Eve celebration. While some rooms have views of the ball drop, they can cost well over a thousand dollars a night. For everyone else, the hotel hosts a New Year’s Eve party from which you can watch the ball drop through the hotel’s windows.
For another kind of luxurious New Years Eve experience, you can stay at the The Carlyle (35 E 76th St; 212 744 1600; rosewoodhotels.com/en/carlyle), located right by Central Park, which features classically decorated rooms and formal, white-gloved service. The Carlyle is not only one of New York’s classiest hotels, it is also located just steps from the starting line of the famous New York Road Runner’s annual four-mile Midnight Run. A costume parade and dancing precedes the Central Park race and the fireworks exploding over the park at midnight serve as the runners mark to start hoofing it.