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New Year’s Eve in New York

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NYC & Company, the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for New York City, has unveiled the activities planned for the 2009 New Year’s Eve festivities.

The year-end celebration brings hundreds of thousands of people to Times Square, one of the most famous gathering spots in the world. As tourists and residents watch the world-famous New Year’s Eve Ball descend from the flagpole atop One Times Square at midnight on the last day of the year, the eyes of the world are squarely on New York City.

“There is no more exciting place to be on New Year’s Eve than Times Square in New York City - and revelers will find even more space to spread out, with this year’s closure of Times Square to traffic,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company.

The Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball is a 12-foot geodesic sphere weighing 11,875 pounds. Covered in 2,668 Waterford crystals and powered by 32,256 Philips LUXEON Rebel LED lights, the ball is capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colours and billions of patterns, producing a spectacular kaleidoscopic effect atop One Times Square. The ball has been on display since 1 January 2009, and is a year-round attraction for visitors from around the world.

More than 100 million television viewers in the United States and more than 1 billion worldwide are expected to watch the ball drop, bringing even more visibility to the city.

The schedule for the New Year’s Eve festivities is as follows:

4pm: Revelers start arriving late in the afternoon on New Year's Eve. By approximately 4pm, the “bow tie” of Times Square (42nd–47th Streets, between Broadway and Seventh Avenue) becomes a focal point for the festivities. The NYPD will direct revelers to gather in separate viewing sections. As one section fills up, police will direct new arrivals to the next section. As the evening progresses, revelers continue to fill the Times Square neighbourhood along Broadway and Seventh Avenue, and as far north as Central Park.

6–6:03 pm: The celebration begins with the lighting and raising of the New Year’s Eve Ball atop One Times Square.

11:59pm - The 60-Second Countdown: New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Times Square 2010 special guest will push the Waterford crystal button that signals the descent of the New Year’s Eve Ball, and lead the 60-second countdown to the New Year atop the Countdown Stage at Duffy Square (the center island from Broadway to Seventh Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets).

Midnight - 2010 Sign: At the stroke of midnight, the lights on the New Year’s Eve Ball are turned off as the numerals “2010” are illuminated high above Times Square.

Several events will take place leading up to the ball drop, including:

Confetti Wishing Wall: The Confetti Wishing Wall will be at the Times Square Information Center, located at Broadway between 46th and 47th Streets). New Year’s Eve is a time when people of every background come together to express a collective hope for renewal; a yearning for a better personal or global future can sometimes take the form of resolutions or wishes. With that in mind, visitors to the Information Center are invited to write their wishes and resolutions for 2010 on pieces of paper, which will be displayed on the wall. For those who cannot make it to Times Square to add their wishes, a virtual wall has been created at timessquarenyc.org.

 At midnight on December 31, the wish papers will become part of the confetti that rains down on the city.

Good Riddance Day: The co-organizers of New Year’s Eve in Times Square (Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment) are inviting the public to say good-bye, once and for all, to those bad memories at the third annual Good Riddance Day. Shredders will be available for use in Duffy Square so everyone can discard their distasteful, embarrassing and downright depressing memories from 2009.

For those seeking other New Year’s Eve entertainment options beyond Times Square, Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises is offering a New Year’s Eve party cruise, which includes a full open bar, hors d’oeuvres, a nonstop DJ, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets for the three-hour cruise are $120, and guests must be 18 for the cruise, and 21 to drink alcohol.

If a New Year’s Eve run around Central Park appeals to you, check out the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run, hosted by New York Road Runners. There will be a DJ and dancing at 10pm, a costume parade and contest at 11pm, and fireworks and a four-mile race at midnight.

Brooklyn residents and visitors can take part in the borough’s largest New Year’s Eve party at Grand Army Plaza, which will include fireworks and live music. The best viewing locations for the fireworks are within Grand Army Plaza, along West Drive in Prospect Park, and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and Ninth Street.

With so much to choose from, it is little surprise that New York is one of the most exciting places to spend New Year’s Eve, just be sure to book your hotel early!

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