One of the things to do before you die is to see, feel and experience the excitement of celebrating New Year at Times Square in New York. Whether you agree it or not, to be among the crowd is a test of endurance, patience and immunity to the cold temperature. I’m not talking about waiting for an hour or two but seven to ten hours—until the New Year Ball drops at midnight. If you can endure the long wait in friggin’ cold (it’s -4C this year), you’ll survive whatever life throws at you in the future.
Unfortunately, I didn’t survive. After a long queue and tight security, I was inside the fenced block in 52nd and 7th Avenue (right in front of The Manhattan Hotel in Times Square) at 6:30 pm. Temperature has dropped already, from cold to freezing, but the crowd kept coming and pushing for the perfect spot. From where I stood, I could see the ball. Not really a bad place to be, considering I was too late to arrive, compared to those who started at noon.
At 9:15 pm, I decided I had enough. I couldn’t bear the freezing weather anymore and my ears were already numb. And most of all, I needed to pee!
Should you attend the Times Square New Year Celebration in New York in the future, here are some things YOU NEED TO KNOW. Read these helpful tips to prepare yourself of the frustrations and excitement that go with this once-in-a-lifetime event to welcome a new year!
1. Leave your backpack at home.
Especially knapsacks. NYPD really won’t allow those. The guy I was following with at the security gate was told to empty his bag and leave it on the ground or leave the premises with his knapsack. He chose the former with a heavy heart. Heaps of bags were thrown on the sidewalk. Owners can claim them back when they decide to leave. Remember, nobody is in-charge with the bags. It’s not like coat check. However, women can bring their handbags. There’s no equality, eh? LOL…
Lucky me. My charm worked. I had a backpack—but its contents were only my camera, and some pens. The police officer let me in. Yay! Thank you, Officer! 😉
2. There is no portable toilet around.
Good luck controlling your urge to pee. Fortunately, there are adult diapers nowadays. 😀 If you leave your spot, good luck claiming it back. You can’t, for sure.
3. The businesses around Times Square close early.
Most of them, actually. The ones that are open won’t allow revelers to use their bathroom. The hotels in and around the area add security guards to make sure that only hotel guests are staying in the lobby. They will ask for your room key if they suspect you’re an outsider.
4. You can’t bring food inside.
But water is fine. You better eat something before going there.
5. Do not bring alcoholic beverages.
Of course, you can’t. Like I said above, bottled water will be fine.
6. You can’t go out and claim your post back.
Well, literally, you can leave if you want to pee. Then, you have to queue up again and pass the same security. However, you can’t claim back your spot. And perhaps, by the time you’re done, the block which you were in will already be full. So, you have to go to the next block where it gets you further from the event space.
7. Be sure to be on the 7th Avenue.
If you arrive late in the afternoon, don’t expect to be near the performance stage. That’s delusional. Get off at the subway stop north of 42nd street but along (or near) 7th Avenue, where you can still see the Ball. The further you are, the tinier the Ball is.
8. Do not exit on 42nd Street.
This area will be closed earlier than the rest of the blocks. Avoid the crowd. Read #6 above.
9. Wear wind-proof winter clothes.
Winter temperature can be really mean. It drops as the evening progresses. Wear for comfort, not for fashion. If you can combine both, congratulations! 😀
10. Smoking is allowed.
I’m pretty sure it’s allowed. I saw three guys smoking inside the fenced block. I really think it shouldn’t be allowed.
11. Bring your New Year’s Party Accessories.
Hint: glasses, hats, wigs, horns, tiaras, etc…
12. Have fun!
If there are people who told you that going there is a very touristy things to do, ignore them. They’re the ones who’ll be losers at the end—always celebrating New Year the same way since they were born. 😀 Go and have fun–and make them jealous. Yes, tell them it’s cold and crowded but make them jealous with your facebook or instagram posts.
13. Kiss someone when the clock strikes at midnight.
Yeah, 2015 Times Square New year Countdown in New York is more romantic (and maybe, meaningful?) when you share it with someone.
14. Bring a chewing gum.
If you’d do #13 above, better make sure you’ve got some chewing gum or menthol ready before midnight. Who knows, you’ll be stuck kissing a stranger? LOL…