** Updated : December 2023 **
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What you NEED to Know
Like we mentioned above, no matter how much research we did before New Year's Eve, not a single site seemed to provide us with all the information we were looking for. Trust us, you'll want to be prepared for this nearly 24 hour event, so here's some things we wish we would have known before we stood in line to enter the viewing area.
Our First Hand Experience
Many blog posts, and even the official Times Square website, tell you to arrive around 3 pm, however this will only work if you want a viewing spot a few blocks away by Central Park. We arrived at the entry point around 10:30 am, and even at this point in the morning we felt claustrophobic and overwhelmed.
If you don't end up making it inside the barricade, or just want to avoid the crowds in general - check out this list of the best New Year's Eve Party's in the Big Apple!
Let's begin with the basics, where to enter the designated ball drop viewing areas. The official website says there are multiple entry points to Times Square on New Year's Eve, including : 38th, 49th, 52nd and 56th Street - all from 6th and 8th Avenues. However, the morning we went we only saw one entrance, and the rest of the day only saw people entering from this one area - 49th and 7th. By the time we arrived at 10:30, it was already madness. There was a huge line of people waiting to get let in, and a huge mass of people waiting at the front for the cops to open the gate. By 11 am, people were pushing, cops were yelling, and it felt like we might be squished to death. (sort of, just kinda kidding)
Once you've made it into the barricaded sections, life will be a lot easier than when you were trying to get in. A lot spacier, a lot easier, and a lot slower. The next 13 hours will feel like a lifetime, especially if it rains all day like it did for us. Will it still be worth it? Definitely! We recommend finding a comfortable spot where you can sit, and if it's near a barricade then you'll have something to lean on too! Since umbrellas aren't allowed, we recommend dressing in layers for the weather and bringing ponchos if it calls for rain - they also make great rainproof layers for sitting on! Lastly, none of the entertainment will start until 6 pm so bring some things to keep you entertained. (You can always people watch like us!)
It's important here to note that umbrellas, backpacks and chairs are not allowed into the viewing area. However, once we were in everything was great. We received our iconic Planet Fitness hats, Kay's Jewelers gloves and Carnival necklaces and the sectioned viewing areas seemed nearly empty. We made our way through all the empty sections, inching further and further to the front. We ended up choosing a spot all the way down at the intersection of 44th so that we could see the entire ball drop. (We could have continued about a block closer, however we felt we might not be able to see the whole ball drop and fireworks this close without straining our necks for the next 13 hours.) If you're more interested in watching the life performances, make sure to choose a spot closer to the Planet Fitness stage. We also found an empty spot against a barricade, which was great because we had something to lean on throughout the 13 hours of waiting.
The most asked question we've been getting since we attended the Times Square ball drop was about the bathroom situation! So to answer all your questions, NO - there is no bathroom you will have access to if you're viewing the ball drop publicly. You can definitely leave the enclosed areas to use any public restrooms, however you won't be able to get back in to the viewing area. We saw multiple people leaving the area because they couldn't hold it, and unfortunately they were not allowed back in. Your best bet is to limit what you eat and drink the morning of and night before, and wear some sort of pee pad or diaper just in case.
Our *PRO TIPS* to make the best of your NYE Experience!
Have any questions that we didn't cover?! Leave them in the comments and we'll do our best to get back to you!
Watch our New Year's Adventures here!
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We're Deborah & Tyler, a pretty average husband and wife duo from a pretty average state that didn't want to live so averagely. After our *Covid wedding we sold everything that didn't fit into the Jeep and moved to Alaska, then decided to take a gap year!
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