A new report paints a less-than-rosey picture of what it’s like to ring in the new year in Times Square.
According to the New York Post, revelers stand on their feet for “hours during the freezing cold,” while not “having a single sip of water because there’s no restroom to relieve” oneself. An added bonus: they are “crushed on all sides by strangers.” Yet 2 million people on average weather the conditions to be a part of the annual magic.
This year, they’ll do it in temperatures in the teens, according to local forecasts which also call for a ground cover of snow left over from days before.
The Post reported on several people who have attended the event, including Brian Alvarado, 18, who will go again this year, his fifth time attending the ball-drop in the Square. Alvarado reports that he will wear long johns and arrive with friends at 2 or 3 p.m., and notes that with past performers such as Maroon 5 and Mariah Carey, the opportunity to see “a huge free concert” is worth the rigors of attendance.
“If you get a good spot, you don’t notice the cold and how long you are waiting,” he reports.
Questioning his enthusiastic statement is Lynn Crisco, a 40-year-old Boston-based patient advocate who attended the festivities two years ago. Crisco begs to differ with Alvarado, and describes the event differently. She says her group was “herded like cattle” in sectioned-off “pens,” blocks from the main attraction.
“It was absolutely freezing,” Crisco reported. “I couldn’t believe how many people brought babies and small children. We felt so badly for kids.”
She said people lifted youngsters over barriers to help them reach bathrooms on the street.
Tales of bathroom emergencies are common, as even Alvarado admits that one of his friends unhappily urinated in the street.
“I’ve heard stories of people who wear [adult] diapers,” Alvarado offers as advice.
Crisco offers a different option. She says it would be well worth a return to Times Square on New Years Eve, if she was in “a hotel room that overlooks the square, instead.”
To that end, the New York Times reports that police will be monitoring the nearby skyscrapers, which look down on the square, considering the gun massacre in Las Vegas earlier this year. Police will have rooftop observation teams and counter-snipers set up in more buildings than normal, while officers patrol hotels in the days leading up to the ball drop on New Year’s Eve (see more on this in video below).
“There are no direct credible threats to New York City, to Times Square specifically, or to any of our New Year’s Eve events generally,” James P. O’Neill, the New York City police commissioner, said. “Out of an abundance of caution, however, you’ll see a stronger police presence out there than we’ve seen even in recent years.”
According to revelers of the past, those officers will also be enforcing a no sitting rule. Katelyn Wollet, who was at the event three years ago, reports, “If you [sit], they’ll say, ‘You need to get up.’”
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