In 2014, I’ve realized one of my dreams: to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square in New York surrounded by the gigantic billboards. I was lucky enough to celebrate it with people I love which ended up in being one of the most magical moments of my year abroad. If you’re thinking of going there for New Year’s, I have only one thing to tell you… Go for it ! It will be a unique experience that you will always remember.
Margaux’s tips : before being crammed shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of other people in the cold and standing on your aching feet for a dozen hours, you should prepare yourself – both physically and mentally. The most important is to wear several layers of clothes including warm socks and to bring food with you. It may seem obvious, but I made this rookie mistake…
6 Reasons to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square
The most memorable night of the year
How would I describe that night ? It’s pretty easy ! Celebrating New Year’s Eve in bustling Times Square is : intense, thrilling, unforgettable… But I have to admit it can be hard and exhausting at times. In my case as a French girl, this event was on top of my to do list since many years. Taking part in one of the greatest public spectacles in the world in such iconic location is literally beyond words. It’s the most epic annual celebration around and one of the best memories I have from that year. Hence, after 5 years I haven’t forgotten anything from that magical night, each second is stuck forever in my brain.
It’s completely free
Don’t worry if you already have spent most of your budget shopping in the Big Apple, you won’t have any troubles participating to New Year’s Eve in Time Square; it is totally free. There are no fees whatsoever since the designated areas fill up on a first come, first served basis. This way if you don’t want to spend too much money on an expensive outfit and a big party, you can spend your last night of the year in Times Square. However be careful since there are no tickets… If you leave your spot, you won’t be able to get it back.
Once you are installed and you’ve already waited for a couple of hours in the cold, you have the chance to see performances from different celebrities.This is actually a fun diversion that definitely helps the time pass more quickly and builds the excitement for the official countdown. In 2014, while I was waiting for midnight with impatience, Miley Cyrus and Macklemore performed on stage some of their biggest hits. No need to tell you how crazy and exciting it was to listen to these two artists live and above all for free !
The ball drop
At 6:00 PM the famous gigantic ball is raised in Times Square. On top of that, mini-celebrations take place on the giant billboards every hour, as other countries around the world reach the New Year. Right before midnight, the song Imagine from John Lennon starts to resonate in Times Square, that’s when the cheering crowd bands together to sing with one voice. At this point, even if I didn’t know the persons standing around me, I felt connected to them.
But hold on, the most exciting part is about to happen…It’s time for the countdown ! I remember the million of voices uniting to shout the final seconds of 2014 and welcome the new year. Tons of confettis were released from the rooftops of the buildings, colorful pyrotechnic effects bursted in the sky, hugs and kisses were given… That’s when I realized I was living something incredible, a shared moment of genuine happiness.
A once in a lifetime kind of thing
Ten…nine…eight…seven… As you can imagine, there’s nothing more exciting than counting down to the New Year and finally watching the ball drop. I would advise everyone to live this crazy experience because it’s a once in a lifetime kind of thing. Can you imagine more than a million people gathering in the iconic Times Square to ring in the New Year ? You can’t do that everyday !
An electrifying atmosphere
In 2014, I wanted to celebrate the New Year differently and for that night to be something I would always remember. I think it worked pretty well ! But if you too are sick of spending each year the same new year’s at your friends place, then dream bigger. Why not give the vibrant and festive atmosphere of Times Square a try ? Here’s what to expect: dazzling lights, neon colors, massive ads from gigantic billboards, music performances and a wonderful energy !
What I didn’t like
- It’s freezing cold: I’m someone who loves and enjoys the heat, so I let you imagine how delighted I was when I realized I had to spend 14 hours in the cold. If you’re like me, at least wear warm layers of clothes, gloves, a hat and several pairs of socks !!
- No restrooms: my advice, don’t drink too much. If you need to go to the restrooms while you wait for the ball drop, you have to get out of the area but you won’t be able to come back to your spot. Some people even use diapers to manage to stay until the end of the show !
- Getting out of Times Square: once you’ve seen the beautiful firework and the ball drop at midnight, it’s time to go home. But try to picture 1 million people rushing out in the streets ! It’s almost apocalyptic. Policemen everywhere, metro stations closed, streets blocked, everyone pushing their way through…
This experience is one of the most exciting thing you’ll do to celebrate the arrival of a new year, but if standing for hours in the cold weather does not sound really appealing to you, you can try to attend events in bars or hotels in Times Square and still enjoy the effervescence and magic of this incredible celebration.