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GET READY TO PARTY!

New Year’s Eve is a night that hosts some of the most elaborate, lavish and wild parties of the year. But you don’t have to go for broke trying to find an event to have fun at. And you don’t even have to go to a big shindig to feel the energy of the holiday. The following are just some ideas for fun to have come December 31.

UNDER 21
1. Times Square: Some say the main square reaches capacity around 2 p.m. and some say 4 p.m., but the New Year’s Eve ball rises at 6 p.m., and by then you’ll be locked out because that’s when the opening ceremonies and performances begin. The NYPD starts to close off blocks along Broadway and Seventh Avenue beginning around 43rd Street and moving north to 59th Street as they fill. The Broadway–Seventh Avenue bow tie is a viewing spot that’s recommended by the Times Square Alliance and video screens are also located on Broadway at 50th, 52nd, 54th and 58th Streets. According to a police advisory, all backpacks and large bags and packages are prohibited. Alcohol is prohibited. Pocketbooks will be inspected.

2. Fireworks – Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City allows for great views of the fireworks shooting off of Liberty Island and New Jersey. Fireworks coming from Central Park and Brooklyn can also be seen at Astoria Park and Roosevelt Island. But South Street Seaport is an ideal location for viewing the shows because you can combine an evening of eating and drinking at the local shops and then head out to see the fireworks too.

3. Organ concert: St. Bartholomew’s Church gives a free organ concert in its beautiful cathedral starting at 11 p.m. The Director of Music and Organist also play Copeland’s classic “Fanfare of the Common Man” at the stroke of midnight. Try to arrive half an hour early to score seating in the middle section where the acoustics are top-quality (stbarts.org).

4. Midnight run or bike ride: There’s no better way to get started on your resolution to get fit next year than to take part in a race that will get you started on the right foot on New Year’s Eve. Try Emerald Nuts Midnight run which includes a race through Central Park followed by a dance party and a costume parade/contest (nyrr.org). Bike riding is also becoming progressively more trendy and popular in New York, especially among the Brooklyn crowd. Luckily for them, and everyone else who enjoys biking, there is a New Year’s Eve bike ride sponsored by Time’s Up, a biking-advocacy group (times-up.org). Following the ride, stick around for the outdoor after party.

5. Dinner in Times Square: Lots of restaurants in Times Square are having special offers that could include pre-fixe packages, hors d’oeuvres and drink service. Some locations even allow you to exit to see the ball drop and then be re-admitted to the party. Contact Ruby Tuesday, TGI Fridays, and other dining spots around Times Square to inquire about their deals and reservations.

6. Comedy or concert: Consider going to a performance instead of heading out into the cold night. Check ticketmaster.com, ticketstub.com or thegarden.com/tickets for performances in the New York City area. If you’re willing to travel though, Chelsea Handler is performing on New Year’s Eve at Mohegan Sun Arena and is sure to bring you laughing into the New Year.

7. Party at home: If all your plans fall through or you’re looking for something more low-key, create your own little shindig at home. Just buy drinks, finger foods and party favors like noise-makers or hats to get into the holiday spirit. If you’ve got the ability to show the entertainment that’s going on in Times Square on your TV at home, even better to feel like you’re amidst the celebrations.

OVER 21
1. Times Square All Access Pass: This pass will give you special access beyond the barricades into the center of Times Square to see the ball drop and much more. It includes free admission into multiple venues including bars, clubs, lounges and restaurants as well as free drinks, appetizers and party favors at each location. And after the ball drops, it gives you entrance to multiple after parties as well (tktz.com).

2. Fun And Games: Dave & Buster’s and Mars 2112 are convenient for groups of friends with a combination of people over and under 21. They have offered a ticket package in the past with an alcohol open bar for those over 21 and the same hours of open bar for non-alcoholic beverages to everyone under 21. Food is usually served over the course of the night too, along with unlimited arcade games, champagne or cider toast at midnight, and hip-hop, dance or top-40 music playing all night long.

3. Until sunrise: 49 Grove is a bar lounge where doors open at 8 p.m. on December 31 and won’t close until 8 a.m. the next morning. While the open bar is only available from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., most party packages include perks like a champagne toast at midnight, a breakfast buffet, and exotic party favors along with DJs spinning house, dance, hip hop, disco and 80s music (49grovenyc.com).

4. Getaway: If you want to get away from it all for the weekend, go with a group of friends or take that special someone to The Roxbury Motel in the Catskills. Prices are reasonable with a studio costing $99-125 and suites at $295-335, which can be more cost effective for your group if split between 4-6 friends. The motel also hosts a New Year’s Eve bonfire with complimentary champagne, wine, marshmallows and appetizers until the clock strikes midnight (theroxburymotel.com).

5. Club: Most clubs in New York are fun on an average night, but on New Year’s Eve nightclubs are the place to be if you want to dance and drink til the wee hours of the morning and be surrounded by beautiful people. Guaranteed hot spots include the 40/40 Club, Greenhouse, Home, Pink Elephant and Tao among many others. However, most clubs will be requiring you to purchase bottle service if you want to party with them on this busy holiday.

6. Cruise: Celebrating New Year’s Eve in a club, lounge, restaurant or Times Square will be fun but ringing in the New Year on a yacht will be beautiful, no doubt. Most cruise options provide the usual open bar, appetizers, a dinner or buffet and reserved seating for the entire evening in case your feet hurt from dancing all night long. Plus, cruises will offer stunning views along the Hudson and the ability to see the fireworks in the evening.

7. Rooftop: Aside from reserving a room at a hotel to party in with your friends, check ahead to see if they offer party packages in their own restaurants or venues. Often, hotels allow guests to visit the rooftop to watch what they can of the fireworks or drink and dance up top with a gorgeous view of the city down below. Also, if you reserve a room on the upper floors, hotels within 12 blocks in any direction of Times Square should be able to see the crystal ball shining before and after it drops at midnight.

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