New Year’s Eve in New York City is a tradition for many and a bucket list trip for others. But with more than a million people planning to head into Times Square to see the Ball drop, you can bet the streets and roads will be a little bit more chaotic than usual.
Know Before You Go!
If you’re gearing up to attend the New Year’s Eve celebration in NYC this year, don’t head out the door without a plan. There are a number of transportation changes, special rules, and dangerous hazards that could catch anyone off guard during a massive event like NYE. Here’s what you need to know before you see the ball drop.
If you’re driving in NYC on NYE, street closures and lack of parking are going to be your biggest challenges. Here are the scheduled street closures in Manhattan for Monday, December 31st:
- Seventh Avenue (41st to 59th Streets)
- Broadway (47th-59th Streets)
- 43rd to 47th Streets from Sixth to Eighth Avenue
- 42nd Street from 6th to Eighth Avenue
- All cross-town streets from 37th to 41st 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
Starting at 12:01 am on Monday till 1:00 am on Tuesday, a number of parking areas will be off-limits to vehicles. Click here for the full list of parking restrictions to help plan your trip.
MTA Service Changes
MTA is scheduling the subway to run every 8 to 12 minutes in Midtown until about 3:00 am. Beginning at 7:00 pm on Monday, there will be parts of the subway which will be closed until 12:15 on Tuesday:
- Northbound and southbound N/R/W lines will skip the 49th Street station.
- Northbound IRT #1 train will skip the 50th Street station.
- N, Q, R, W, S, 1, 2, 3, 7, Times Sq-42 Street station exits will be subject to closure throughout the night. Riders can exit via the passageway to 42 Street-Port Authority instead.
To stay up to date on closures, downloading a NYC transportation app could help keep you alert to when transportation plans might need to change.
LIRR Service Changes
The Long Island Rail Road will continue its traditional alcohol ban on trains from noon on New Year’s Eve until noon on New Year’s Day. To help move revelers along quickly on their journey to the NYE Ball drop, 13 additional eastbound trains and 21 additional westbound trains will be running. Click here for the full list of additional train services set for Monday, December 31st.
Where To Watch
If you want a prime spot, you better make it there in the early morning or at least by noon on Monday. The best viewing area is said to be where Broadway meets Seventh Avenue. Additionally, Times Square Alliance recommends watching the Ball drop along Seventh Avenue to 59th Street and along Broadway to 43rd Street. There is also a designated viewing area for people with disabilities at Broadway and 44th Street. The NYPD will close down access to Times Square once the streets fill up. Try not to arrive after 6:00 pm or your chances of seeing the Ball drop in person will be minimal to none!
Knowing the rules before you leave the house can save you from losing some of the items you wished you would have left home.
- Alcoholic beverages are prohibited and could land you a fine if you’re caught with one in Times Square.
- Large bags and backpacks are also prohibited at the NYE event.
- All bags that are permitted will be searched so leave anything at home that could be taken away.
- Revelers will be expected to go through metal detectors before entering the viewing areas.
- If you leave the viewing area before the ball drops, you won’t be able to get back in, so stay put!
Pack food and water in your bag before going into the city. It will be nearly impossible to get in anywhere to eat and food vendors are not permitted in the area on NYE. Going to the bathroom can also be a little tricky in Times Square so it’s advised you don’t drink too much before you head into your viewing area.
Dress For the Weather
The traditional fancy New Year’s Eve clothes may not be the best choice for seeing the Ball drop among a million other eager viewers. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes for the event. Temperatures can get brisk as the night gets later so make sure to dress warmly: coats, hats, gloves, etc.
Emergency room visits involving alcohol-related accidents practically double on New Year’s Eve according to the Health Department, with peak hours between 1:00 am to 4:00 am. Drink responsibly when celebrating and remember not to get out of control. There will be millions of people on the streets this Monday night and staying in control of your actions is one of the only ways to reduce your risks of getting injured.
Start The New Year Off Safe!
You are bound to be a little overwhelmed by all the activities and visitors in the city on New Year’s Eve, but don’t panic. Doing a little bit of preparation before you leave and planning your transportation a few days before will help curve some of the anxiety and prepare you for an unforgettable night to start off 2019!