Clearly, when most people think of New Year’s Eve in New York City the first thing that comes to mind is to watch the ball drop in Times Square with millions of other people. But that is just one of the many ways of seeing in the New Year in New York. Whether you want a free, low-key night watching fireworks in Central Park, or you want to shell out big bucks to don black tie attire at the Rainbow Room, New York City offers endless options. You can start the New Year off in an active way by running four miles in the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park, bowling a strike at Bowlmor Lanes in Union Square, or biking from Washington Square Park to Belvedere Castle in Central Park with activist group Time’s Up. Dine and dance at Tavern On The Green, The Russian Tea Room, The Rainbow Room, or Bryant Park Grill restaurants. Or better yet, set sail with Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises to ring in the New Year from New York Harbor. Whatever your desire, take advantage of the variety that New York City has to offer this New Year’s Eve.
Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop
(Broadway, from 43rd to 50th Street, 212-768-1560)
If you want to celebrate the New Year with tourists packed in like sardines, then watching the FREE Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball drop in Times Square is for you. Dress warmly and arrive early in the day to get a good spot at this annual event watched by millions on television nationwide. You wont find any New Yorkers in Times Square on New Year’s Eve – they give it a wide berth – but it will be full of tourists from all over the country and all around the world.
Central Park New Year’s Eve Fireworks
For a FREE, relaxing New Year’s Eve celebration for all ages, ring in the New Year watching fireworks explode in the night sky in Central Park. The fireworks are launched at midnight from Central Park’s Naumburg Bandshell and can be seen from virtually any spot in Central Park.
The Annual Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park
(72nd Street Transverse, 212-860-4455)
At the stroke of midnight, runners take off on a four-mile run from the 72nd Street Transverse to start the year off in a healthy way. The event is kicked off with a dance party at 10 p.m. and a costume parade and contest at 11 p.m. at Central Park’s Naumburg Bandshell, which is mid-park from 66th to 72nd streets.
Party at Tavern On The Green
(Central Park at 67th Street, 212-724-3900)
Tavern On The Green hosts a sophisticated semi-formal gala every New Year’s with two DJs spinning music for dance parties in two rooms, a buffet dinner, open bars, a New Year’s Eve countdown with party favors, and a continental breakfast at 3 a.m. General admission is $175.
New Year’s Eve at Hotel Gansevoort
(18 Ninth Avenue, 212-660-6727)
Spend New Year’s Eve in the Meatpacking District at this swanky hotel. Partying and dancing take place throughout the Hotel Gansevoort; there’s an open bar, Japanese cuisine catered by the onsite Ono Restaurant, a champagne toast at midnight, and a rooftop and pool deck area with incredible skyline views of New York City. Celebrities are known to party here on New Year’s Eve. Admission for this exclusive event is $200.
Cruise the New York Harbor
(Pier 83, West 42nd Street at the Hudson River, 212-563-3200)
Watch the Manhattan skyline twinkle from the water and fireworks explode from the Statue of Liberty on a cruise in the New York Harbor. From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., partygoers can enjoy an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, a dance party with DJ, and a toast at midnight with Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. Tickets go for $120. However, this cruise is one of many; there are plenty of other yacht and riverboat cruise options available, such as the sophisticated City Lights Cruise on the Atlantica, the Mardi Gras-themed party aboard the Paddle Wheel Queen, or the club-like party put on by Affairs Afloat on The Queen of Hearts yacht.
Enjoy a Formal Night at The Russian Tea Room
(150 West 57th Street, 212-581-7100)
An annual New Year’s Eve celebration for over 80 years, The Russian Tea Room is a landmark restaurant for the elite, in which formal attire is required and a five-course meal is served before the party is moved upstairs for dancing. This intimate affair can cost $250 to $500 per person.
New Year’s Eve at The Rainbow Room
(65th floor at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 212-632-5150)
Indulge in a four-course dinner with unlimited Osetra Caviar and white truffles, an open bar, and dancing from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. in the legendary Rainbow Room Ballroom. An orchestra plays up until midnight before transforming into an after-hours disco. Breathtaking views of the city can be seen from its 65th floor location. This black tie event is $1,500 per person.
Time’s Up New Year’s Eve Bike Ride
Bikers and skaters gather at the arch in Washington Square Park at 10:30 p.m. for the annual trek to Belvedere Castle in Central Park, to then celebrate the New Year with a dance party and enjoy the Central Park fireworks. The nonprofit organization behind the New Year’s Eve ride is Time’s Up, the environmental activist group famous for Critical Mass bike rides.
Bowl the Night Away at Bowlmor Lanes
(110 University Place, 212-255-8188)
Running and biking not your cup of tea? Then head over to Bowlmor Lanes in Union Square from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. for a night of bowling, an open bar, full dinner buffet, and champagne toast at midnight, all for $95 and up. The colorful venue has two floors of bowling and can accommodate groups of all sizes.
Bryant Park Grill New Year’s Eve
(25 West 40th Street, 212-840-6500)
One of New York City’s hottest New Year’s Eve bashes, Bryant Park Grill is a fabulous restaurant for young professionals to ring in the new year, with three spacious yet intimate party rooms and a VIP roof deck with heated tent offering amazing views. There’s an open bar, gourmet hors d’oeuvres, dessert bar, and a toast at midnight. Bryant Park Grill may be just several blocks from Times Square, but will feel far away from the madness with its warm candlelight and Paris-meets-Manhattan ambience. Celebrities like P. Diddy, Carrie Underwood, and Anne Hathaway have all rung in the New Year here.
Bar, Restaurant and Club Parties
Hundreds of bars, restaurants, and clubs around New York City host New Year’s Eve Parties that can include open bar and open food for a set price (or Prix Fixe). The list of establishments changes year to year, but many of the perennial favorites are Dave and Buster’s, China Club, Suzie Wong’s, Cipriani, Guastavino’s, Marquee, Underbar, Pink, Webster Hall, Union Bar, and The Crown Ballroom.