New Year's Eve in Times Square

Get close to the crystal ball, get pizza delivered or just avoid the whole damn thing.

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RECOMMENDED: New Year's Eve in New York guide

I have my noisemaker and 2010 glasses. When should I show up?
If you want to be at the epicenter of the celebration at One Times Square, you’ll have to embrace the early-bird special and head out early—Lori Raimondo of the Times Square Alliance estimates that the barricaded areas closest to the ball drop will reach capacity between 2 and 4pm. The Waterford crystal New Year’s Eve ball (it’s packed with more than 2,688 crystals, and you can see it sparkling as far north as 59th Street and Seventh Avenue) rises at 6pm. By then, you’re locked out of the main square.

What the hell am I supposed to do for six hours?
“One of the most interesting things to do is to get to know the people in your section,” suggests Raimondo. There’s also plenty to watch while you wait, if you couldn’t care less about mingling: Scheduled entertainment starts at 6pm, when the opening ceremonies commence. As of press time, not all of the acts had been finalized, but Carson Daly will be hosting a set by Green Day, and the cast of Hair will perform live at some point. Expect a slew of DJs, plus appearances by Daly, Ryan Seacrest and J. Lo on the main stage at 46th Street. You’ll have plenty of distractions until the countdown begins and the confetti flies.

Okay, but I think I need a drink.
Unless you duct-tape a flask to your thigh and are limber enough to pour liquor into Dixie cups, you’re not toasting with champagne at midnight. Public drinking is illegal here, and if the cops catch you, they’ll confiscate your alcohol and possibly slap you with a fine. Besides, you’ll want to cut back on your liquid intake, since there are no portable restrooms.

Wait, what? So where can I pee?
Try hitting the bathrooms at the usual suspects around the square, like McDonald’s or Starbucks. Just know that once you leave your post in the barricaded area, there’s no guarantee you can get back in: You may wind up watching the ball drop with a ton of strangers in a different pen. Flirt with the guards or hold it in!

If I can’t drink, I can eat...right?
Sorta. Most Times Square restaurants stay open, but you’ll need to make a reservation in advance. Note that Famous Original Ray’s Pizza (736 Seventh Ave between 48th and 49th Sts, 212-956-7297) is happy to attempt to deliver pies to the crowds on the street: Give them your phone number and your cross streets and beg them to find you. But your best option, according to Raimondo, is to wear clothing with many receptacles: “You can’t bring glass bottles or a backpack, but you can shove snacks in your pockets.” M&M’s for dinner, anyone?

Sounds like some horrible social experiment. Why bother?
“That moment when the ball drops and the confetti falls and there’s a million people filled with this euphoric feeling is just magical,” Raimondo says in the ritual’s defense.

Tempting, but what if I still want to stay far, far away from this?
Block by block, the NYPD will begin to close off Broadway and Seventh Avenue, starting from around 43rd Street and moving north up to 59th Street as sections begin to fill. You can better avoid the fray by steering clear of Sixth and Eighth Avenues in that vicinity as well, and staying underground if you can. Suddenly the Upper West Side sounds kinda cool.

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