Written by: Anatole Ashraf
New York City is expected to host an estimated one million people in Times Square on the New Year’s Eve ball drop for the biggest party night of the year. Record-breaking numbers of crowds are anticipated to gather for a star-studded lineup for entertainers, including Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber.
The party—which officially starts at 3 p.m.—will mark the culmination of days of police preparation. In an interview with NY1, Police Commissioner Ray Kelley detailed the process of securing the Times Square area.
“The manholes have all been sealed, the mailboxes have been removed, observation posts have been at least established or identified as the ones that are gonna be occupied, there’ll be several thousand police officers, not only here, but there are other events as well that are going on at the same time,” Kelley said.
As part of the heightened security measures, police officers will be barricading off the area from 41st to 58th Streets between Sixth and Eighth Avenues between 3 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Jan. 1. Visitors are warned not to bring any alcohol, large bags or backpacks. Anyone who leaves their spot for any reason will not be allowed back in after 3 p.m.
Most visitors are expected to be tourists. According to a NY1 poll, 97 percent of New Yorkers admitted to not being interested in attending the Times Square celebration. To accommodate local and native New Yorkers, many restaurants and clubs are offering memorable experiences.
Some of the finest restaurants in the city such as Daniel and Per Se are offering New Year’s Eve packages. On his blog the Price Hike, food critic Ryan Sutton has compiled a list of the “Real Cost of New Year’s Eve Dining,” which tracks the often-inflated cost of New Year’s Eve meals after tax and tip for two. Per Se, for example, $1,633 after tax and tip for New Year’s Eve, while regularly a meal will cost $642 for two. Sutton called these markups “an intangible emotional play: you’re paying more because you and your significant other don’t want to be alone when the clock strikes midnight.”
For a more affordable celebration, various bars and restaurants are offering events with no cover charge. The popular Brooklyn destination Huckleberry Bar, for example, is hosting a masquerade ball with free hors d’oeuvres and complimentary champagne toasts at midnight.
Ultimately, celebration options are plenty and varied for almost all New Yorkers and tourists on New Year’s Eve 2012.