New Year’s Eve in Times Square is probably one of the most famous New Year’s Celebrations in the entire world. Millions of people watch it worldwide every year, and about a million people pack into the streets of New York trying to get a glimpse of the ball drop. I went to experience it myself on New Year’s 2016, and boy, was it one of the biggest tests of endurance. Would I do it again? Yes. I’ve heard most people say to not even bother doing it again, or that once is enough, but I think it’s definitely worth doing at least once. I would do some things differently, like bring a diaper because I was drunk and kind of peed my pants around 4 PM. I used water bottles the rest of the night but holding in pee when you’re drunk is the least pleasant thing ever.
1 . Arrive very early
If you want to have a remotely good view, you are going to want to arrive at least 12-15 hours early. Noon is the latest you’re going to want to arrive. I’d suggest coming around 9AM, scoping out the lines, finding a bathroom and a quick bite and then buckling up for the biggest test of endurance for both yourself and your bladder. I arrived around 10 AM and got a pretty good view right by the press stage.
2. Pee before you go. Already peed? Pee again.
You’re going to want to have a completely empty bladder. No, you’re going to need to have a completely empty bladder if you are going to want to accomplish this feat. Our friend’s parent suggested and offered us puppy pads to take with us, but we scoffed at this idea and it ended up being one of the bigger regrets. Sneakily peeing in water bottles, or peeing your pants just to ease the pain is not very glamorous. Diapers or puppy pads could save your life and your trip. Trust me.
3. Be prepared for a lot of standing around and waiting
There is very little entertainment going on until about 6 PM when the shows and musicians start. If you arrived early like you should have, you’ll be pretty bored for quite a long time. You’re also technically not allowed to sit down, so make sure your legs are nice and rested. My buddy was on crutches for the entire wait, so if he can do it, you can do it.
4. Bags are not allowed, but shopping bags are.
Being able to bring a backpack or purse would make this way too easy. Bring snacks, refreshments, a computer to pass the time. Nope, none of that. However, some people did bring shopping bags, sneaking their purses in them or other things. It is useful, so if you want to find a shopping bag or do a little shopping before waiting, I definitely suggest it.
5. If you’re trying to drink alcohol, you’re (technically) not allowed to do it, buuuuuut
sneaking in one of those airplane shot bottles is not the most difficult thing to do. People do it all the time, but the cops do a pat down of you before you enter the corral that you’ll be stuck in for many hours. It is not the most thorough pat down, so if you have a few places you can stuff airplane shot bottles in, then that is up to you. Alcohol is fun, but you definitely don’t need it to have a good time tonight. Plus it’ll help ease your bladder.
6. Make friends while you’re waiting
You’re gonna be spending at least twelve hours with the people around you. At least strike up conversation with them and make some friends. People come from all over the world just to watch this ball drop, you’re bound to find some characters. We met some Colombian girls from Los Angeles, and we ended up going out with them a few nights later and hanging out a few more times. I still talk to them, so there’s definitely a lot of friendships to be made when you are suffering together.
7. Bring snacks, but not enough to make you go number #2
Food is awesome. I suggest peanuts, cheese sticks, or some other thing that will keep you full but not enough to make you use the bathroom. Peeing in a bottle is easy to hide from people around you, including the cops patrolling around. Pooping anywhere? Just not going to happen without everyone around you noticing.
8. DRESS WARM.
50 degrees sounds warm until you’re standing still for 12 hours and are prone to all the elements. Believe me, New Year’s 2016 was one of the warmer ones and so I did not feel the need to dress as warm as I should have. It was miserable and cold, and we spent 90% of our time huddled up regretting not bringing gloves or a bigger coat.
9. Put your phone down.
This is something that is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Take it all in. And also it’s really easy for your phone to die, which could be hectic when you need to contact someone or lose your friends in the crowd. Conserve that battery by passing time the old fashioned way, talking to people. I know you want to Snapchat the whole thing, and I pretty much did, but if you’re staring at your phone when the ball drops…
10. Live in the moment.
By the time the show starts around 6PM, everyone will be miserable. The only way to pass that by is by going crazy and having as much fun as you possibly can. Dance like crazy (it helps you keep warm, too), sing your heart out, and enjoy the spectacle that millions of people across the world would love to see in person.