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Time Square New Year's Eve

Braving the crowds and the elements in Times Square this New Year’s Eve? Here’s what to expect.

For you brave souls who are planning to cross New Year’s Eve in Times Square off your bucket list in 2016, there are a few things you should know. First off, don’t expect the real experience to bear any resemblance to the festivities you see on your living room TV. With tight crowds, strict perimeters, and limited opportunities for bathroom breaks, the hours of waiting for the ball to drop aren’t always pleasant.

If the prospect of claustrophobic quarters and chilly temperatures doesn’t scare you off, then keep these tips in mind to ensure that you and your friends do Times Square NYE right. We guarantee it’ll be an unforgettable evening, and a bold way to ring in 2017.

1. Get There Early

Since the big ball drop occurs at the stroke of midnight, getting to Times Square at 6 or 7pm sounds like a reasonable goal, right? Wrong! Veterans of NYE at Times Square advise arriving around 3pm and heading for Broadway between West 43rd and West 50th Streets, or Seventh Avenue up to West 59th Street. If you won’t settle for anything less than the best view, though, you’ll have to set your alarm clock a bit earlier plan to arrive no later than noon. Since the NYPD cordons off each block when it hits capacity, there’s no chance of sneaking your way to the front if you get there late. Finally, for smart transportation, take the subway to a stop near the festivities, but not directly to Times Square.

2. Bring Your Own Food

Food options in Times Square on NYE will be scarce, so think of this as your chance for a winter picnic. The area will b e cleared of its usually ubiquitous food carts, and the restaurants in and around Times Square are reserved for revelers willing to pay steep prices to watch the ball drop from indoors. Since tickets for restaurant seating in the area sell out rapidly, odds are you won’t be able to sneak in for a quick plate of fries and head outside again. So, bringing your own hearty snacks is really your only option. And don’t forget the drinks!

3. About Those Drinks

You might want to skip your usual New Year’s Eve champagne-guzzling. First of all, sneaking booze into the area is technically not permitted though that doesn’t stop a number of people from doing so. More urgently, though, is this uncomfortable reality: there are no bathrooms available within the cordoned-off areas. Even if you manage to use the facilities of a nearby business, leaving your spot in the crowd means losing it for good. So, be smart about your beverage intake. Skip the alcoholic beverages and sip water during the evening as necessary.

4. Dress For the Occasion

Before you pack a picnic basket and backpack full of goodies, think again. NYPD security bans all bags from entering the space. Bring along a particularly snug and warm jacket with large pockets, so you can fill them with snacks, hand warmers, money, and your phone. Keeping warm isn’t the only factor to keep in mind, though. Since you’ll be standing the entire time, be sure to wear comfy shoes.

5. Be Ready For Midnight

Just like Cinderella after midnight, you and the thousands of other people in the crowd will flee the second the ball drops. Escaping the pens can be a messy process, since everyone’s pouring out of the same spaces at once. Have your midnight exit planned ahead of time, so you and your friends can beat the crowd.

Affinia is offering an extra night free when you book a three night stay in one of our locations in New York City. Book now.

(Image Credit: gigi_nyc/Flickr)

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