Times Square revelers face bitterly cold ball drop

By Mary Esch Published 2:11 pm, Saturday, December 30, 2017 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-3', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 3', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: Seth Wenig, Associated Press Image 1of/3 CaptionClose Image 1 of 3 Pedestrians try to keep warm by covering their faces while walking in Times Square, New York, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. Freezing temperatures and below-zero wind chills socked much of the northern United States on Wednesday, and the snow-hardened city of Erie, Pa., dug out from a record snowfall. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) less Pedestrians try to keep warm by covering their faces while walking in Times Square, New York, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. Freezing temperatures and below-zero wind chills socked much of the northern United States ... more Photo: Seth Wenig, Associated Press Image 2 of 3 Crews in New York City’s Times Square work last week on the ball that will mark the new year. Crews in New York City’s Times Square work last week on the ball that will mark the new year. Photo: Seth Wenig, Associated Press Image 3 of 3 Times Square revelers face bitterly cold ball drop 1 / 3 Back to Gallery Dress in layers, lay off the booze, and bring some hand warmers. Those are some of the tips offered for the huge crowd of revelers expected in Times Square for what could be one of the coldest New Year’s Eve ball drops on record. Brutal weather has iced plans for scores of events in the Northeast from New Year’s Eve through New Year’s Day, but not in New York City, where people will start gathering in Times Square hours before the Continue Reading

New Year’s Eve in Times Square sounds like a urine-soaked hell

Standing on your feet for hours during the freezing cold, not having a single sip of water because there’s no restroom to relieve yourself, and being crushed on all sides by strangers sounds hellish — but some 2 million people do it willingly every year. So it goes in Times Square in the hours before the ball drops at midnight on Dec. 31. This year’s forecast calls for temperatures in the teens, as well as a ground cover of snow left over from days before. And Brian Alvarado, 18, plans to be right in the thick of it for the fifth year running. The Westchester teen, a student at Columbia, aims to show up — wearing long johns under his clothes — with pals around 2 or 3 p.m. He says it’s all worth it to catch the likes of Maroon 5 and Mariah Carey gratis. “It’s a huge free concert!” he said. “If you get a good spot, you don’t notice the cold and how long you are waiting.” Lynn Crisci begs to disagree. When the Boston-based patient advocate, 40, attended the festivities two years ago, She recalled feeling “herded like cattle” inside the sectioned-off pens in the upper 40s, blocks from the ball-dropping action. “It was absolutely freezing,” she added. “I couldn’t believe how many people brought babies and small children. We felt so badly for kids, we were lifting them over the barriers” — so they could go to the bathroom on the street. Indeed, there are no port-a-potties, and local businesses turn away revelers in need, as Jeryl Lippe learned the hard way. When the 22-year-old from Mahwah, NJ, hit Times Square with her boyfriend, Gabriel, four years ago, she smuggled in vodka in a water bottle. (Alcohol, along with large bags and umbrellas, is forbidden; plus, Lippe was underage.) She didn’t eat anything other than a breakfast bagel, and didn’t have her illicit drink until the end of the day. But, “by the time it was turning midnight, Continue Reading

The Interesting Backstory Behind The NYE Times Square Ball Drop

The Times Square ball drop celebration has been around for over 100 years. The tradition began in 1907 and has evolved quite a bit since then. The ball itself has grown in size and has been transformed over the years to become the 12-foot-diameter ball of LED lights it is today. And this year, the person leading the countdown to the new year is Tarana Burke, the founder of the #MeToo movement. Burke was selected to lead us into 2018 because of the impact she had in 2017. According to an official press release, “New Year’s is a time when we look at the most significant cultural and political moments of the last year, when we look for inspiration by honoring and giving a global platform to those who have made a difference,” said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance. “Tarana Burke’s courage and foresight have changed the world this year, and, we hope, forever. We are honored to have her be part of the 2018 New Year’s celebration.” Burke founded Just Be Inc., and created the Me Too Movement, in 2006 to provide support to victims of sexual harassment and assault. In the year 2017, the #MeToo hashtag became widely used, particularly after the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others came to light. So in many ways, it’s clear why Burke was selected to push the Waterford crystal button that initiates the ball drop as we transition from 2017 to 2018. But what is the actual selection process like? Well, it has a lot to do with who was a “mover and shaker” throughout the year. The Times Square Alliance The Times Square Alliance is the non-profit organization behind the upkeep, activities and promotion surrounding Times Square. The organization, along with Countdown Entertainment, co-organizes the Ball Drop and selects the Special Guest each year. A spokesperson filled us in on what they consider before choosing a candidate for each NYE celebration: “Many people are part of Continue Reading

How to survive the cold in Times Square this New Year’s Eve

It's going to be a frigid fest in Times Square this year.With temperatures forecast for 11 degrees at midnight in the heart of New York's New Year's Eve celebrations, partygoers may have to weather the second-chilliest ball drop on record.To get you ready for staying warm for the New Year's bash, USA TODAY got a few tips from the party's planners, emergency management officials and extreme weather legend Al Roker of NBC's Today show.Here's your guide to staying warm in Times Square this New Year's Eve:Layers, layers, layers."Folks should start with a base layer of long underwear of merino wool and then use a number of lighter layers, finishing with a good warm coat," Roker said. More: New Year's Eve revelers: Get ready for one polar party For your hands, Roker suggests insulated mittens, not gloves. Your fingers will stay warmer when they're not separated by fabric."And warm, insulating socks with a great boot like a Sorel are a must. If your feet get cold, all is lost," Roker added.Try not to have any skin exposed to the cold air, said Herman Schaffer, assistant commissioner for community outreach at NYC Emergency Management.Consider synthetics, too — like Gor-Tex and polypropylene jackets — as well as wind-and water-resistant clothing, the Times Square Alliance, which co-coordinates the New Year's Eve bash, recommends.Backpacks and other large bags won't get through security, according to the Times Square Alliance, so make sure you pack smart.A portable phone charger can't hurt, either.  More: Arctic blast over much of nation is a holiday guest not leaving soon Schaffer also recommends bringing extra hand and foot warmers. "If you don't use them, someone else will appreciate them."Don't even think about it.Not only is it illegal to drink in the street, but it also could be dangerous."The booze may go down all warm and tingly," Roker said. But "it Continue Reading

Tightest security ever for New Year’s in New York’s Times Square after deadly attacks

NEW YORK – Police are promising a bigger security detail than ever before in Times Square for this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration, which will cap off a year that saw a number of deadly attacks on innocent crowds, including a vehicle rampage at the very spot where revelers will ring in 2018.In addition to its usual army of snipers, bag-inspecting officers and metal detectors, the department this year is relying on help from a growing corps of “vapor wake” dogs, which are trained to sniff out trace amounts of explosive particles that trail behind someone carrying a bomb.All 125 parking garages in the vicinity of Times Square will be emptied in advance of the celebration and sealed off, so no one has a chance to sneak in a car bomb, police said.Detectives already have been assigned to all of the dozens of high-rise hotels in the area, with the aim of preventing the type of attack that happened in Las Vegas in October, when a gunman firing from a casino hotel killed dozens of people at an outdoor concert below. Police wouldn’t discuss whether guests at area hotels would be screened in advance of the celebration, but Police Commissioner James O’Neill said officers already are working with hotel security.“This is going to be one of the most well-policed, best-protected events at one of the safest venues in the entire world,” O’Neill said.The extra precautions follow two recent terrorist attacks in the city. A man detonated a bomb in the city’s subway system on Dec. 11, injuring only himself. On Halloween, an Islamic State-inspired attacker drove down a bicycle path, killing eight people before he wrecked his truck and was shot by police.Times Square itself was targeted in May by a man, said by police to be high on drugs, who drove through crowds of pedestrians for more than three blocks, killing an 18-year-old tourist from Michigan. The speeding vehicle was eventually stopped by one of the squat metal Continue Reading

Times Square revelers will see ‘stronger’ police presence, cops say

New York City officials say they are taking unprecedented steps to protect the one million revelers expected to brave arctic weather conditions Sunday to ring in 2018 in Times Square, a move sparked by two recent terror attacks in New York, as well as a shooting in Las Vegas and attacks elsewhere. “You will see a stronger police presence out there than we’ve seen even than what we’ve seen in recent years,” Police Commissioner Jim O’Neill said during a news conference Thursday. New York officials say there’s no evidence that indicates terror groups or lone wolves will attempt to disrupt the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square. But the NYPD and other city, state and federal agencies aren’t taking any chances. The NYPD says it will implement now-familiar security measures in Times Square, such as deploying large sand trucks near intersections to block would-be killers from driving into the massive crowds expected to attend the annual celebration at the Crossroads of the World. Authorities are also taking new measures this year. Parking garages in the area will receive extra scrutiny, and scores near Times Square will be closed. Officials will also monitor rental trucks. Officers will be stationed in every hotel along Seventh Avenue so police can respond quickly if somebody tries to launch an attack on the celebration from a hotel rooftop or window. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office said state agencies, including state police, the National Guard, the Metropolitan Transportation Agency and the Port Authority will bolster security at bridges, tunnels, airports, transit hubs and other high-profile locations. A joint assessment report released Dec. 21 said there was “no information to indicate a specific, credible threat” to the Times Square celebration, a point echoed by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday. “There are no credible and specific threats to NYC at this time, and no credible Continue Reading

NYPD boosts security for New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square

Concrete barriers, special explosives-sniffing dogs and armed cops in surrounding hotels will be just some of the security measures in place Sunday when police lock down Times Square for the annual ball drop ceremony. In the wake of recent terror and gun rampage attacks in New York and across the nation, the NYPD is taking no chances, pulling out all the safety stops in its bid to keep the city safe. Just eight weeks after an accused terrorist barreled a rented truck along a West Side Highway bike path and killed eight people, authorities are using concrete barriers and sand trucks to prevent a similar attack. Trucks will be barred altogether from between W. 34th and West 59th streets between 6th and 8th avenues. And, 125 parking garages in the city will be closed, just in case. New York to face one of its coldest New Year's Eves ever But the biggest security enhancement — an unfortunate nod to the bloodthirsty madman who shot and killed dozens of Las Vegas concert goers from a hotel window in October — will be the presence of police at every hotel surrounding Times Square. “There’s a huge responsibility on all of us to keep New York safe,” said Mayor de Blasio. “We understand why we are a target. Because of our success, terrorists want to disrupt us.” De Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill said that there was no known specific threat against the city, but stressed the need to be vigilant at all times. De Blasio also pointed out the role New Yorkers play. Waterford Crystals are installed on the 2018 New Year's Eve ball in Times Square “We must have the help of the people in the city,” the mayor said. “Any one New Yorker can save countless lives.” Mariah Carey will headline ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ once again Nearly 2 million people are expected to crowd into Times Square to see the big ball drop, and usher in the New Year. O’Neill said Continue Reading

From bombs to ball drops, the history of New Year’s Eve in Times Square

If the malfunctioning “18” sign isn’t fixed by Sunday night, the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebrations could bomb out — and it wouldn’t be the first time! On Dec. 31, 1904, when Big Apple revelers rang in the new year with a literal bang — a dynamite blast from the top of One Times Square, then newly owned by The New York Times — fiery ashes rained down on the crowd, eventually prompting the NYPD to ban explosives and pushing the paper to create a crowd-pleaser with less potential for disaster. The publisher’s idea: Lower a massive glowing ball down a flagpole to kick off the champagne-fueled countdown instead. The botched blast was just the first of many snafus and silly stunts that have plagued the big celebration over the years since, experts and historians say. New Years Eve wasn’t always a blast in the Big Apple. Before Times Square hosted the confetti-flinging festivities, New Yorkers celebrated with a tame religious ceremony at Trinity Church in lower Manhattan. But when the Times moved to what was then called Longacre Square, the paper’s publisher, Adolph Ochs, unleashed the splashy fireworks show — complete with the dynamite — to compete with the now-defunct New York Herald, which had opened Herald Square to much fanfare in 1902. “It was a publicity stunt,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. “But people got nervous fireworks would burn something down.” On Jan. 1, 1905, the Times’ front page blared, “A few minutes before 12 o’clock, a dynamite bomb was fired from the tower . . . First they showed white against the sky. The color changed and they burned red. It seemed almost as if the building were aflame.” And, despite the near-disaster, it added, “Never was a New Year’s Eve more joyously celebrated.’’ But the dynamite, which was fired off again the following year, irked the police, Continue Reading

Times Square spot has Peking duck three ways

If Chinese food and a movie are part of your holiday tradition, here’s a way to kick it up a notch: head to Hakkasan NYC, hidden away in Times Square, for pricey Peking duck three ways: black truffle roasted duck; Peking duck with caviar; and Peking duck with Mandarin pancakes, spring onion, cucumber and hoi sin sauce. Add a hakka steamed dim sum platter with scallop shumai, har gau, prawn and Chinese chive dumplings and black pepper duck dumplings; some greens; a Cantonese noodle dish with mushrooms and chives — and black sesame and chocolate dumplings for dessert, and you are set. Other dining choices include: DaDong, a hot new Beijing-based chain, just opened in Bryant Park; and, for a more affordable option, the classic Peking Duck House in Chinatown. WE HEAR… That neighborhood staple Il Valentino Osteria, on First Avenue and East 59th Street, frequented by celebrities from Emmy Rossum to Placido Domingo, has revamped its menu and hired Neapolitan pizza maestro Divino Sena of Mezzaluna and Bella Blu. Continue Reading

NFL putting permanent Experience in Times Square

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL is taking its game to Times Square. Literally.NFL Experience will open to the public in the mecca of Manhattan on Friday, one day after a grand opening that Commissioner Roger Goodell and assorted football celebrities and Hall of Famers will attend. While this Experience is patterned after the exhibits the league has done for years at the Super Bowl and draft, it has a new and different feel thanks to a partnership with Cirque du Soleil."Cirque du Soleil has been involved with our team on things and with the Super Bowl," says Dawn Hudson, the league's chief marketing officer. "We wanted to not just do an experience like anything else, but to have creativity and imagination and to really think about the things we would do. We thought about the power of what we know about the NFL and to try to reimagine that with a company that looks at the world in a totally different way could create magic for the fan."A $30 million project that has taken 2½ years in development, the Experience has something for kids, teens, and adults, mixing high-tech and traditional displays into an immersive attraction.Want to read about and see clips from your favorite franchise, or view memorabilia? There's a room for that, whether through tablets or visual displays.Want to virtually dress up in full uniform and equipment like a player from your team? Do drills as if you were a draft prospect at the NFL combine? Take a history lesson of football — sort of an NFL101 — or create a touchdown celebration dance? Go ahead, there's a place for all of that, too.Visitors can act the part of coach and quarterback with the help of Jon Gruden as he calls and diagrams a play (Dice Right 61 Bullseye X Individual), then allows fans to run the play on a video screen.Displays of all the Super Bowl rings and tickets and the Lombardi Trophy are on hand. A replication of an equipment room and the underneath areas of a stadium is part of the four-floor tour, which Continue Reading