New Years Eve in Times Square watching the famous ball drop during Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin is truly a bucket-list worthy event. I, like always, read up on the celebration beforehand and got MANY different rules thrown at me. There are many misconceptions (and many crazy facts) about New Year’s Eve in Times Square so I thought I would set the record straight.
New Years Eve in Times Square Fact or Fiction
You have to arrive before noon to be sure you get a spot.
- FACT. Well, kind of. We planned to get there at 11am-ish, but our walking directions totally messed up (I still blame it and take no responsibility what so ever! :P) and we ended up getting lost. Caleb and I had just been walking and talking and not even noticed we had gone off track so we ended up getting to Times Square at about 1:30pm-2pm. There was a rush of people and everyone is pushing and squeezing in. If you are claustrophobic you need to arrive way earlier to avoid this chaos. Once we squeezed through and made it in the gated perimeter there was about an hour left until our gate was full. So I would recommend getting there at the VERY latest 3pm.
There are going to be so many amazing performances for Dick Clark’s Rockin Eve!
- FACT & FICTION. If you are in Los Angeles at the Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin Eve then YES you will get to jam out. If you are in New York City be prepared to have MAYBE two-three performances (one song each). I literally had no idea that all the performances took place in Los Angeles and not New York. It was literally silence for about 10 hours and then once it got closer to 8pm they start doing sound checks and you are able to listen to the same song over and over. and over. and over. I’m pretty sure we listened to the first 23 seconds of “Welcome to New York” about 7482 times. And it wasn’t even Taylor Swift singing – it was a stand in. We listened to Florida Georgia Line about 647 times (which was excruciating… unless you like that type of music…. awkward…). About an hour before midnight they started playing some music I guess to get everyone pumped up – it worked. I danced and danced and danced. haha! After the ball dropped Taylor Swift came out and performed her one song and then it was all over. I was sad. I had no idea – am I the only one who didn’t realize this? But now I am determined to make it to the LA Rockin Eve! haha!
There are no bathrooms.
- FACT. Okay, so TMI, but I read this everywhere and there was no denying it. You can leave the gate and go to a bathroom nearby if you need to – but you won’t get back in. You lose your spot and cannot watch the ball drop. I may have taken some precautionary measures to ensure that if I absolutely had to go that I could. I got a go-girl (insert monkey covering its eyes emoji) so that I would be able to go in a water bottle. I made sure my jacket was long enough and had enough space to put my arms in and go IF NEED BE. Luckily, by the grace of God I was able to hold it for 16 hours. Yes, 16 hours! My husband – not so much. But he is a guy so things like this are much easier for him. There was a bus station sitting bench (I’m from the ‘burbs I’m not really sure what you call these things) that was covered that everyone was using as a bathroom. It was disgusting. There were cups and hats and all sorts of things people were peeing in. NOTE: Stay away from the bus bench area! TMI, TMI, TMI – I know, but I just want you to be prepared!
No food or drinks allowed.
- FICTION. SO MUCH FICTION. I was terrified when I read that you were not allowed to have any food or drinks. I get migraines if I do not eat on a decent schedule so reading that I was going to starve for about 15 hours was horrible news. On the way we decided to take our chances and hid some granola bars and a water bottle in our jackets. When we arrived at the gate security check point we saw everyone had drinks and food. We even saw people ordering pizzas and the pizza guy delivered it to them inside the gate! When you get individually checked (like TSA at the airport) the police officer has you take a swig of whatever is in your water bottle, makes sure you swallow it, and then makes sure you don’t die. If you don’t die then it must be safe so they let you in with it! haha! So, please bring food and water to nourish your body while waiting. But drink water sparingly – see above bullet point. :)
You are squashed in those gates like a sardines!
- FICITION. What you see on TV is everyone swarming to the front to be on television. Seriously, can you blame those people? After 12+ hours being bored out of your mind you get a little delirious. The TV crews come around and the crazy comes out. They handed out the hats, blow up sticks, and towels all separately and every time it was like Christmas. Everyone was so excited that something was happening. Getting those cheap foam hats was like winning the lottery at that point. But it’s all part of the fun! At the beginning when everyone is spread out and has a decent amount of personal space it seems crowded. We had enough space for us to switch off sitting while the other stood. As the night went on everyone squished closer and closer to the front giving us plenty of room in the middle and back. I sat most of the time once there was enough space available. No shame. I didn’t care how dirty that street was my feet hurt.
With so many people all together it must not be that cold.
- FICTION. It is freezing. So cold I just numb everywhere. I think my brain became numb at one point.. from the cold or unnatural amount of boredom, I’m not really sure. I recommend wearing everything you possibly own or brought with you to NY. You can always take layers off. I brought an extra hat in my pocket, but squeezing through trying to get in to the gates someone either stole it from me or it fell out – either way it was GONE. I needed another layer so bad. When we got those foam hats it helped so much, but they only start handing that stuff out at like 10pm after you’ve been standing there freezing for 10+ hours.
All the hours of waiting, freezing, boredom – it’s worth it for those 20 seconds to watch the ball drop.
- FACT. Okay, totally opinion.. but I have to say honestly as horrible as it all sounds. It was worth it. It was bucket-list worthy worth it. Those 20 seconds with thousands of people all around counting down, the confetti falling all around you, and the excitement you could literally feel in the air was a feeling I will never forget. It really was magical. Would I ever do it again? Maybe. Probably. Would my husband? Never. He cherishes that day, but wouldn’t endure it again. I think this is something that everyone should do once in their lives IF they are up for it. It was a special day that I will always be thankful we were able to participate in. It is a fun story. People think we are crazy for doing it, but that’s part of the fun in it! I can’t wait to tell our future kids and grandkids some day about when we spent New Years Eve in Times Square watching the ball drop.