New Year’s Eve in New York City mostly triggers one thing in our brains; the infamous ball drop on Times Square.
If you’re one of those people who don’t enjoy standing elbow to elbow with almost one million people for several hours in the freezing cold, then consider one of the options below instead.
An Intimate Dinner
A great way to spend New Year’s Eve with friends or family is over dinner at one of New York City’s countless restaurants.
Many of them have special meals for New Year’s Eve to ensure it’s going to be a memorable night, whether those are pre-set menus or a champagne toast at midnight. Here are a few restaurants that offer New Year’s Eve menus:
At Momofuku Nishi, part of the global Momofuku Empire, expect tasty options like grilled leg of lamb, fried lobster, and shrimp risotto. The four-course tasting menu is available for $98.
Flora Bar, an Italian restaurant in the basement of the Met Breuer on the Upper East Side serves its customers a six-course meal for $165, featuring duck breast and tuna tartare.
Another high-end option is Nordic restaurant Agern in Midtown East, serving pris fixe menus at 5.30pm and 8.30pm on New Year’s Eve. Finnish caviar, endive salad, and crispy duck legs are some of the mouthwatering options. Prices start at $200, excluding wine pairings.
An Extravagant Party
If you think partying in New York City is crazy any night of the year, think again. On New Year’s Eve, New York City’s hottest clubs pull out all the stops.
Hyper-popular spots 1Oak, Lavo, Tao, PhD (both Downtown and Midtown), and Up&Down all have New Year’s Eve parties lined up. Just keep in mind that partying on NYE is not for the budget conscious!
Tickets for some locations are already on sale, with cover charges well above their normal rates. This also means that clubs are offering open bars or drinks specials and live DJ performances. Also, wait times and dress codes might be stricter on the night. Make sure to compare different options and be ready to have a great night with your friends. See here for the full party line up on New Year’s Eve.
Attend a Concert
New Yorkers enjoy the occasional concert and what better night to catch one than on New Year’s Eve? Here are the highlights:
Phish is going to perform once again at Madison Square Garden. The tireless jam band from Vermont belongs to the elite group of performers who have made a visit to MSG more than 50 times, joining legends like Billy Joel and Elton John.
For a glamorous New Year’s Eve, try to secure tickets to the annual New York Philharmonic Gala at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, an event that’s also televised on PBS every year. Dress to impress and pair this Great Gatsby-like experience with a high-end dinner for a truly classy night.
On the other end of the spectrum, BangOn!NYC’s annual NYE Bash is also a hot ticket. In true Brooklyn warehouse party fashion, this event impresses party-goers with unique art installations and special features.
Go On a Cruise
Hopping on a cruise ship for New Year’s Eve is a great idea for several reasons. You can escape the overcrowded city for a couple of hours and enjoy a private party on a smaller scale, and you get to see all the amazing firework displays above the impressive New York skyline.
Again, there are many options to choose from, depending on how much you’d like to eat and drink and how deep you’re willing to dig into your wallet.
Go For a Run
If you literally can’t wait for the New Year to start and would like to make a run for it, consider participating in the Midnight Run hosted by New York Road Runners. The four mile race is all about the fun of working out together, while watching awesome firework displays in Central Park all around you.
There are prizes to be won for the fastest runners, plus time bonuses if you’re among the first three men under 19 minutes or the first three women under 22 minutes. Check out the NYRR website for more details on registration and entry fees.
All the activities above are probably enough evidence that New York City is an excellent choice for a fantastic New Year’s Eve celebration, which doesn’t need to involve watching the ball drop on Times Square. However, if these tips still haven’t convinced you, by all means, head to 42nd Street and enjoy the atmosphere.
To quote what magazine editor Tara Cox told Today about watching the ball drop; “You’re supposed to be down in the crowds, shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers and weirdos and the fabulous and the wonderful.” That’s what New York City is all about.