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Unconventional Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in New York City

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Unique Ways to Ring in the New Year in NYC

New Year’s Eve lore says that where you are and who you meet first on New Year’s Eve set the stage for the year ahead. So, if you’ve already gotten rid of those bad memories at Good Riddance Day in Times Square and you’re prepared to put your New Year’s resolutions into play, kick off the future with a special night to say goodbye to the past and move forward with wonderful and definitely unusual memories.

We All Need Some Laughs This Year

Start early with a 6:30 pm virtual viewing of comedian Mike Birbiglia’s “Working It Out Worldwide” New Year’s Eve show. Entitled “All Jokes Considered,” this is a mix of standup comedy and an interactive talk. If you’ve ever been to one of Mike’s shows, you’ll want to grab a ticket right away. The NYE one-time event is different from any show Mike has done before or will likely do again. You’ll also be part of the evening so brace yourself for some serious fun. Champagne is optional at this early hour.

Watch the Ball Drop at Home

Since you won’t be allowed into Times Square for the official New Year’s Eve Ball Drop this year, you should plan to watch the festivities virtually and via livestream from the warmth of your home. The importance of this evening can’t be downplayed -- we’ve had enough of 2020 and it’s time to have some crazy fun!

An online event for this unusual year, Virtual New Year’s Eve is a non-stop party that will appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike | WhereTraveler
One Times Square (Courtesy Virtual New Year's Eve)

An online event for this unusual year, Virtual New Year’s Eve is a non-stop party that will appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike. Download the app to watch live feeds showing Times Square from multiple cameras along with livestreams of celebrations around the world. You start by creating a personal avatar to put yourself in the center of this gamified augmented reality version of New Year’s Eve in Times Square. After that, the experience is yours to uncover. There’s so much going on here that you won’t miss not being outside in the chilly weather.

The Times Square Ball Drop will be streamed commercial-free | WhereTraveler
(©Colin Miller)

For the more conventional among you, the Times Square Ball Drop will also be streamed commercial-free on TimesSquareNYC.org, TimesSquareBall.net and livestream.com/2021 with live performances by Gloria Gaynor, Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez, Billy Porter and Cyndi Lauper among others. This year’s theme is “Heroes of 2020,” celebrating the frontline and essential workers who have shown true heroism over the past nine months.

Wax Poetic about the End of 2020

The Poetry Project’s annual New Year’s Day Marathon turns virtual this year, starting at 11 pm on December 31 and continuing for 24 hours with non-stop readings and performances from poets, writers, artists, musicians, actors, and dancers around the world. The event is more than poetry, though. It’s filled with music sets, cooking segments, films, and other theatrical bits to keep you entertained into the next day.

Celebrate Early with an Over-the-Top Outdoor Mini-Party

Dining restrictions mean that you’ll need to start your outdoor celebration early – you have to be finished by 10 pm. This gives you an unusual opportunity to celebrate twice, in effect, once outside with your friends and family, and a second time, indoors, with your television, computer, and at-home dance party.

Some of the city’s elaborate outdoor celebrations include:

Parklife’s NYE Around the World will be celebrating four cities every two hours from their two heated solariums and outdoor tables. Patrons at the Gowanus bar and restaurant select which time and city they want to “attend” so they can actually celebrate “midnight” somewhere in the world while being outdoors in NYC, despite the 10 pm closing time. You can choose to celebrate with Dubai from 2-4 pm, Cape Town from 4-6 pm, Lisbon from 6-8 pm or Grytviken, Antarctica from 8-10 pm. And you’ll have enough time to make it home to see the NYC Ball Drop in Times Square! Book your preferred time here.

For a view of the lights of Manhattan, book a private heated sky suite at Savanna Rooftop in Long Island City. Two seatings are available for an over-the-top New Year’s Eve celebration complete with an open bar, Champagne, a Chef’s hors d’oeuvres tasting menu, and a celebratory cocktail. Hats and noisemakers are included. Tickets can be purchased here.

For a view of the lights of Manhattan, book a private heated sky suite at Savanna Rooftop in Long Island City | WhereTraveler
(Courtesy Merchants Hospitality)

On the other side of the river, The Greens at The Rooftop at Pier 17 takes to the sky with an over-the-water celebration in their socially distant cabins. The party includes a soundtrack provided by a live DJ and a variety of food and beverage packages, all within sight of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and the lights of the city. For information on all booking options, click here.

A short walk away, Watermark Winter Wonderland at Pier 15 celebrates the evening inside individual “Glasshouses” that afford obstructed views of Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan. Reserve either of two seatings here.

Watermark Winter Wonderland at Pier 15 celebrates the evening inside individual “Glasshouses” that afford obstructed views of Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan | WhereTraveler
(©Meryl Pearlstein)

Ride Your Bike on the Annual New Year’s Eve Ride

The environmental group Time’s Up goes wheels up with its annual bike ride from two locations in Brooklyn and two in Manhattan. You and your socially distanced biking and skating colleagues will head uptown to come together at Belvedere Castle in the middle of Central Park. Make sure your cycling shoes can dance. Starting at 11:45 pm, The Dance Party at the Castle is heralded by a midnight fireworks display.