When most people think of New York City on New Year's Eve, what comes to mind are throngs of giddy tourists, standing shoulder-to-shoulder in Times Square, enduring the cold and the crowd for the singular thrill of witnessing the iconic ball drop at the stroke of midnight. And the Times Square ball drop is an exciting thing to experience first hand, as attested by the tens of thousands of people who brave the cold and arrive many hours in advance of midnight every year just to be a part of the event and the festivities that surround it. But if what you're looking for is a relaxed New Year's Eve celebration in New York City, then Times Square is definitely not the place for you.
Thankfully, there is a much more laid back (and romantic) alternative: fireworks in Central Park. The New York Road Runners, a non-profit community running organization that is involved in the famous New York City Marathon, hosts a Midnight Run in Central Park on New Year's Eve, and those who take part in the four-mile race have the privilege of watching a celebratory fireworks display as the race begins. The countdown begins at 11:59 and at the stroke of 12:00, the race begins and so do the fireworks. The Pre-Race Festival begins at 10:00 p.m. and includes a dance party at Rumsey Playfield for the runners and their guests. The post-race party begins at 12:30 at Tavern on The Green.
For those who aren't interested in running the race, but would still like to see the fireworks, we have good news: You can watch the fireworks from the comfort, warmth, and safety of the great indoors! And not just any indoors, but Tavern on The Green. For $150.00 you can watch the fireworks, sip cocktails as the runners complete the race, and then attend the post-race party. The cost of admission includes a dinner buffet, coat and bag check, late night snacks and dessert, and five (yes, five!) hours of open bar. (On any night of the year, five hours of open bar in Manhattan for $150 is a bargain that is nothing short of magnificent.)
If you don't want to run in the race (can't blame you) or go to Tavern on The Green (can sort of blame you), but would still like to see the fireworks, the best spot inside Central Park from which to view them is Belvedere Castle, which is located mid-park near 79th Street. Alternatively, you can enter Central Park from either the West 67th Street or East 67th Street entrance, then make your way toward the Bandshell and a few seconds before midnight, direct your eyes to the skies. Both of the 72nd Street entrances to the park will be closed to the public on the evening of New Year's Eve, but all other public entrances to the park should remain open.
And whether you're celebrating in Times Square, Central Park, or on the other side of the world, all of us at Fifth Meridian Travel wish you and yours a safe and happy New Year's Eve and a peaceful and prosperous 2017!