New York Times Square has a good history of informing “spontaneous” parties about a safe way to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
This year, the influential Times Square Alliance has decided to stick to tradition and remind revelers that they should attend a New Year’s Eve party at the ball drop.
“If you want to celebrate with us and potentially drop the ball in 2019, get vaccinated now,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Alliance, which represents the Times Square-based Alliance Committee, an ownership group, and other stakeholders in the Times Square tradition.
People queue for a view of the New Year’s Eve fireworks over Times Square. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
The New York Times has run the “don’t drop the ball” promotional tape for 37 years and has been protecting the public interest and preventing chaos on New Year’s Eve by confirming that attendees can’t bring food or beverages into the cross-aisle zone that surrounds the ball drop, or risk getting arrested. It has also shown footage of would-be drop-ers being warned off by police.
“There is no way to predict how things will turn out on the night. It’s true in sports, music festivals and many other venues,” Tompkins said. “However, we want to ensure that everyone gets the opportunity to celebrate responsibly, and the ball drop is one of the world’s most spectacular moments, with or without a drop.”
The Alliance did, however, try to reassure New Year’s Eve revellers that it would continue to warn them off risky events. “We encourage everyone to go to one of our permitted festivities, including the Empire State Building Climb, and at no point can there be a zero-tolerance policy to health and safety,” Tompkins said.
The official ball drop takes place in the early hours of New Year’s Eve, when thousands of people gather around the ball, the tallest in the world, at the top of the highest tower of Times Square. This year, tourists can watch the three-minute spectacle from an open area below, surrounded by about 200,000 adoring spectators. The 6ft-plus ball on eight diamonds has been adorned with 3,875 LED lights and is 55ft in diameter. The ball drop has been broadcast worldwide on ABC, C-SPAN and more than 200 television stations.
Empire State Building Climb (@estbuildingclimb) Enjoy an open view of the impressive spectacle in Times Square, New York City, on New Year’s Eve.
Start your countdown on the Empire State Building Climb just like last year.
The ball is lit from 9:40pm to 11:50pm, so those who are planning to see the event from afar have just an hour to check out the Empire State Building Climb, which costs $110 plus an entry fee of $10 for children, $21.75 for seniors and $29.75 for people who are accompanied by children up to 17 years old.
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The Empire State Building was built in 1904 to evoke the Statue of Liberty, which was then a symbol of New York’s underdog spirit. It was deemed a building of national importance and was financed by Michael Lewis, father of comedian Larry, who was mayor at the time. The $1.5m worth of red bricks was the costliest in US history. The ball was then lit by 15,000 gallons of water at a cost of about $400,000.