How to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in New York City 2014

Times Square

Going to be in New York City on New Year’s Eve 2014? You’re in luck – it’s the best place to be! There’s loads going on to keep you entertained, and it is possible to do without spending a fortune. As the clock strikes 12 you could be cheering with your new mates in Times Square, dancing on a roof top looking out over Manhattan, or running in Central Park…

Need cheap New York City NYE accommodation? See all our cheap NYC hostels and hotels to grab a bed before they go!

NYC NYE at-a-glance

  • The annual ball drop in Times Square is free, non-ticketed and attended by over a million people.
  • You can’t bring alcohol to the ball drop.
  • Alternate fireworks displays are held at Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn and New York Harbour near Liberty Island.
  • It gets very, very cold: if you’re going to be outdoors celebrating, dress like you’re going skiing.
  • Many restaurants stay open, but most will offer a prix fixe menu – and these ain’t cheap. If you’re determined, check out your options on Opentable.com.
  • Some tourist attractions and shops will close earlier than normal on December 31st. Check opening hours ahead.
  • The subway will be running all night – it goes 24/7, 365 days of the year.

New Year’s Eve fireworks in New York

Ball Drops at Times Square

Line your stomach first: see our favourite 10 Cheap Eats in New York

Times Square: For first-timers, this is a must-see, along with the other million people of course. Arrive early before 5pm to stake out your spot: the best views are on Broadway between West 43rd and West 50th Streets and on Seventh Avenue up to West 59th Street. The famed Waterford Crystal ball rises to the top of the pole atop One Times Square at 6pm – the wait ’til midnight from here is punctuated with live music and hourly count-downs. At 11.59pm, the ball begins to decend, reaching the bottom of the pole at exactly midnight. A tonne of confetti is released into the air, and fireworks pop all around.

Make sure you’ve written on the New Year’s Eve Wishing Wall beforehand at the Times Square Visitor Center on 7th Avenue so your wish, dream or goal will be one piece of the confetti. Be warned that the stewards are pretty strict on their “no alcohol” policy, and no bottle will make it pass their beady eyes! This might be a good thing, though – no extra public toilets are put out, you have to rely on queuing at McDonalds. If you leave your spot, you won’t be able to return to it, either. Best thing to do is bring sandwiches and only a mini bottle of water.

Prospect Park fireworks

Grand Army Plaza fireworks, Brooklyn: The party starts from 11pm at Grand Army Plaza outside the main entrance to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, with free hot cocoa and music. A spectacular fireworks show will begin at midnight. Remember, just cos it’s not Times Square doesn’t mean you can get away with a sneaky bottle of Champers: drinking alcohol on the street is illegal throughout NYC.

Staten Island: A firework display will be also be put on at New York Harbour. For a panoramic view of the show across the water, forget those mind-numbingly expensive cruises. Hop on the free Staten Island ferry for colourful views of the fireworks flashing up next to Liberty Island, as well catching the other displays above Brooklyn and Manhattan. Yes, that’s right, free.

Central Park: In this cold, people must be nuts to attempt a 4-mile run! But you’ll certainly be kick-starting your new year’s resolution to get fit. There’s a great atmosphere at the NYRR Midnight Run in Central Park with DJs providing music from 10pm. If you want to participate, you’ll need to register by 28 December and be ready, blood pumping from the 72nd Traverse at Bethesda Terrace, with a firework display to see you off.

Cathedral Church of St John the Divine NYE Peace concert

Free Concert: The Cathedral Church of St John the Divine will be holding its annual New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace from 7pm. It’s also a free NYE event but on a first-come-first-serve basis. Prices for reserved seats are $30. The traditional passing of candle flames means that over 1,000 candles will splendidly illuminate the church inside.

The best New York City clubs and bars for NYE

New Year’s parties are held all over NYC, but our advice is to stick to Brooklyn for the coolest nightlife. Here are a few guaranteed good-times parties that should blow the roof off on NYE 2014…

For more NYC drinking ideas, see our top 10 pubs and bars in New York

Brooklyn Social: Bartenders can whip up your poison to a soundtrack of funk, jazz and rock & roll. There’s a patio area for the chimneys among you too. The owner has kept much of the original Sicilian social club vibe, but added a welcome sign on the door ‘non-members welcome’, which means, you’re in! It’s not just the drinks that are reasonable, they’ve really taken on board the festive spirit of goodwill to all men it’s free entry all night!

335 Smith St between Carroll and President Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn | Free

Berry Park: You don’t have to spend hours in the cold waiting for the firework displays at Berry Park. Just pop up to the heated roof terrace at midnight and see the explosions. They’ve also got two huge projectors where they’ll be showing the midnight countdown.

4 Berry St at North 14th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn | Entry price TBC – last year $40 presale tickets, $55 on the door | More info |

Blkmarket Membership NYE party: If you’re after a truly one-off night, this party should satisfy. Held in Output club, get ready for house and techno ’til 3pm the next day – yep, you read that right!

74 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn | $60 entry | More info & buy tickets

Last minute NYE accommodation in New York

Accommodation in New York City gets swiped up pretty quick and like most places over New Year’s Eve, prices soar – so now’s the time to book if you haven’t already. With prices for dorm beds and private rooms hovering between $70-150, it’s time to move quickly to get your accommodation in New York City for NYE.

At the time of publishing, we had 17 places still showing rooms available – check them all out on our NYC hostels page here.

NYE transport

It will be busy, but the subway will run 24 hours over NYE and New Year’s Day. The ACE, BDFV, G, JMZ, L and the NQRW make regular stops at Times Square.

Have a happy new year’s eve in New York City!

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Thanks to digitizedchaos, Nathan DaintyEd Yourdon, CherryPoint, Prospectpark.org and Randy_OHC for the images! Please note all Flickr images were used under the Creative Commons License at the time of posting.

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