NEW YEAR’S EVE IN NEW YORK CITY
In the United States, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with formal parties, family-oriented activities, and other large public events.
Auld Lang Syne – The most commonly sung song for English-speakers on New Year’s Eve, “Auld Lang Syne” is an old Scottish song that was first published by the poet Robert Burnes. It is often remarked that “Auld Lang Syne” is one of the most popular songs that nobody knows the lyrics to. “Auld Lang Syne” literally translates as “old long since” and means “times gone by.” The song asks whether old friends and times will be forgotten and promises to remember people of the past with fondness, “For auld lang syne, we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet.”
But it was bandleader Guy Lombardo, and not Robert Burns, who popularized the song and turned it into a New Year’s tradition. Lombardo first heard “Auld Lang Syne” in his hometown of London, Ontario, where it was sung by Scottish immigrants. When he and his brothers formed the famous dance band, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, the song became one of their standards. Lombardo played the song at midnight at a New Year’s Eve party at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City in 1929, and a tradition was born. After that, Lombardo’s version of the song was played every New Year’s eve from the 1930s until 1976 at the Waldorf Astoria. In the first years it was broadcast on radio, and then on television. The song became such a New Year’s tradition that “Life magazine wrote that if Lombardo failed to play ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ the American public would not believe that the New Year had really arrived.”
New York City is a classic destination for New Year’s Eve, with amazing parties, dinners and even the opportunity to watch the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop live in Times Square. Whether you’re looking for a big party, a fancy, intimate dinner or something entirely different, we’ve gathered a variety of different ideas for your New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City.
Watch The Ball Drop in Times Square – Probably the most famous tradition in the United States is the dropping of the Waterford Crystal New Year ball in Times Square, New York City, at 11:59 pm. Thousands gather to watch the ball make its one-minute descent, arriving exactly at midnight. The tradition first began in 1907. The original ball was made of iron and wood; the current ball is made of Waterford Crystal. Inspired by the time balls that were formally used as a time signal, at 11:59 p.m. ET, an 11,875-pound (5,386 kg), 12-foot (3.7 m) diameter Waterford crystal ball located on the roof of One Times Square is lowered down a pole that is 70 feet high, reaching the roof of the building one minute later to signal the start of the New Year. The Ball Drop has been held since 1907, and in recent years has averaged around a million spectators annually. The popularity of the spectacle also inspired similar “drop” events outside of New York City, which often use objects that represent a region’s culture, geography, or history—such as Atlanta‘s “Peach Drop“, representing Georgia‘s identity as the “Peach State”. The portrayal of festivities on radio and television has helped ingrain certain aspects of the celebration in American pop culture; beginning on the radio in 1928, and on CBS television from 1956 to 1976 (which also included coverage of the ball drop), Guy Lombardo and his band, The Royal Canadians, presented an annual New Year’s Eve broadcast from the ballroom of New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The broadcasts were also well known for the Royal Canadians’ signature performance of “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight, which helped popularize the song as a New Year’s standard. After Lombardo’s death in 1977, prominence shifted towards ABC‘s special Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (which had recently moved from NBC), originally intended by its creator and host Dick Clark to be a modern and youthful alternative to Lombardo’s big band music. Including ABC’s special coverage of the year 2000, Clark would host New Year’s Eve coverage on ABC for 33 straight years. After suffering a stroke, Clark ceded hosting duties in 2005 to talk show host Regis Philbin. Although Clark returned the following year, a speech impediment caused by the stroke prevented him from being the main host until his death in April 2012, Clark made limited appearances on the show as a co-host, but was formally succeeded by Ryan Seacrest.
Enjoy a Great Concert or Show on New Year’s Eve – New York City venues pull out all the stops on New Year’s Eve, so it’s a great night to catch an amazing act performing at one of New York City’s great performance venues. From Lincoln Center to the Lower East Side, there are plenty of great concerts and shows happening on New Year’s Eve.
Feast Your Way into the New Year – Sometimes the best way to celebrate the New Year is with a delicious meal. These restaurants will be having special New Year’s Eve menus. Consider early seating’s if you want to toast in the New Year elsewhere and pick a later time for dining if you want to clink glasses at your table.
Dance or Drink the Night Away – From all-inclusive to very exclusive, New York City clubs and bars will be hosting New Year’s Eve parties. Check details about what’s included at various places — some tickets include unlimited open bar, while other venues offer a range of tickets that each include different perks (keep in mind: sometimes the cheapest tickets are no bargain!).
Ring in the New Year from the New York Harbor – Celebrate the New Year aboard one of New York City’s many New Year’s Eve cruises. Whether you’re looking for an elegant evening aboard a yacht in formal attire, a New Year’s Eve booze cruise or even a family-friendly affair, one of these NYE cruises will fit the bill.
If you’re looking for a cruise without the crowds, consider this New Year’s Eve cruise. $346 buys you (& and just 39 others) a cruise aboard a 1920s style yacht where formal-wear is encouraged. A champagne/sparkling wine tasting will begin your cruise and hors d’ oeuvres, desserts and standard open bar (beer, wine, soda & water) are included with your ticket. Mixed drinks and champagne will be available for purchase.
Looking for Something Different for New Year’s Eve? – Maybe the same-old, same-old isn’t how you want to start 2015? There are some unusual ways to celebrate the New Year’s here, including a New Year’s Eve race and a Brooklyn Bridge walking tour!
Brooklyn Bridge Walk into the New Year – Learn about the Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall area on this late evening walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. You will ring in the New Year while watching fireworks from around the area — in the past they have been able to see Central Park, Grand Army Plaza, Staten Island and New Jersey Fireworks, as well as the Empire State Building light show. Tour leaves from outside McDonald’s Restaurant, 160 Broadway between Liberty and Cortlandt Streets. Tour registration begins at 9:45 p.m. and multiple tours will depart from 10:15-11:15 p.m. Pay $50 cash for the tour onsite, or pay $40 if you book online in advance. Children 6-12 are half-price. Children under 6 are free.
NYC’s best tour guides will lead you around the City Hall area and the Brooklyn Bridge to learn little known facts about the 19th century’s greatest technical marvel. Free prizes included that show up whether you prepay by credit card online or pay cash on the spot. Party and play on the Brooklyn Bridge.
If history repeats itself, fireworks will be visible from Central Park, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and New Jersey as well as the Empire State Building light show.
Emerald Nuts Midnight Run – This Central Park race is held annually by the New York Road Runners and promises a fun and healthy way to get your New Year started! There is a costume parade and dancing, as well as fireworks in addition to the 4M race.
Kick off the New Year at the Midnight Run! Join the fun and celebrate with dancing (starting at 10:00 p.m.) and a 15-minute fireworks show. With a countdown to midnight beginning at 11:59 p.m., the four-mile unscored run will begin on the stroke of midnight, as will a spectacular fireworks display to light up the night and the start of 2015.
Pre- and Post-Race Festival Details: Enjoy pre-race and post-race festival at the Central Park Band-shell from 10:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. This celebration is free and open to the public. Check out what we’ve got going on: (1) Souvenir giveaways, which include light-up 2015 glasses, glow-in-the-dark glasses, and Airbnb reflective armbands. Get yours early—quantities are limited! (2) Visit our Resolution Photo-booth and get your customized back-bib. This is your chance to complete the phrase “In 2015, I’ll run for…” and share your motivation with the world. (3) A dance party featuring a DJ and live performers
Fireworks: Noisemaking and fireworks on New Year’s Eve is believed to have originated in ancient times, when noise and fire were thought to dispel evil spirits and bring good luck. The Chinese are credited with inventing fireworks and use them to spectacular effect in their New Year’s celebrations.