Along with so many things, the pandemic has dashed many of go-to New Year’s traditions — no raging clubs, no in-person ball drop, no kissing strangers at midnight, not even the annual party that you begrudgingly went to year after year.
But before you ditch the night completely and climb into bed at 11, here’s a highlight reel of ways to ring in the new year.
You can still watch the ball drop.
This year, the crystal ball will still drop from One Times Square, the confetti will still fall and “Auld Lang Syne” will still play — it’s just that Times Square itself won’t be crowded with people.
“Many of the beloved hallmarks of the Times Square New Year’s Eve tradition will be present,” said TJ Witham, a spokesman for The Times Square Alliance, a nonprofit neighborhood organization that helps orchestrate the night’s festivities. “That said, the event will be staged for television and online audiences specifically, and public revelers will not be present in Times Square.”
A livestream of the event starts at 6 p.m. Eastern on timessquarenyc.org, or you can watch on most broadcast networks. The special performances and musical acts planned include Gloria Gaynor performing her signature song, “I Will Survive.”
According to the organizers, the night’s festivities will recognize those Americans getting us through the pandemic — essential, frontline and emergency medical workers. Several of these workers will be the event’s official “Special Guests” — an honor bestowed each year on individuals representing “public service, resiliency and the human spirit.”
The honor usually includes joining New York’s mayor onstage to count down the final 60 seconds of the year. This time the guests will watch the ball drop from a private, physically distanced viewing area.
Have a New Year’s wish? Submit yours on the Times Square Alliance’s virtual wishing wall at timessquarenyc.org or through social media using #ConfettiWish. Some 100,000 of these hopes and dreams will be printed on colored confetti that will fall over Times Square as the clock strikes midnight.
You can still head to Times Square.
Just because you can’t see the ball drop in person doesn’t mean your personalized avatar can’t go in your place.
The Times Square Alliance and its partners have organized a free, virtual Times Square experience. Once you make your avatar, you will be able to snap a selfie with the crystal ball, view digital art along the Times Square plaza, take the elevator to One Times Square’s observation deck and play games, like dancing or experiencing zero gravity. You can also collect celebratory confetti to bedazzle your avatar as you go and at midnight, an augmented reality fireworks show will burst onto your screen.
You can still get away.
Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t travel the world and celebrate the New Year in other time zones.
Start in New Zealand at 6 a.m. Eastern, Wednesday, Dec. 30, with a fireworks display shooting from Auckland’s Sky Tower. Then go to Seoul, South Korea, where the Weverse entertainment app is streaming a 2021 New Year’s Eve Live concert with BTS, GFRIEND and other K-pop bands. The show starts at 7:30 a.m. Eastern, and ticket prices range from 48 to 72 Singapore dollars or about $36 to $54.
If you want fireworks again, a midnight light show in Rio de Janeiro along Copacabana beach start at 10 p.m. Eastern. Finally, if you still haven’t had enough virtual travel, on Friday, Jan. 1, make your way to Vienna via a broadcast of the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert, at 9 p.m. Eastern on PBS.