Posts Tagged ‘Ball Drop’

9 New Year’s Eves That Make New York City’s Look Kind of Quaint

In New York City we watch the Ball Drop in Times Square, sing Auld Lang Syne and party until the wee hours on New Year’s Eve to signal that the year is over. In normal years, we also have a chance to watch the fireworks, cheer on the Midnight Run and enjoy live music in Central Park.

New York City - Photo Credit: Colin Miller

Other countries think differently with a variety of traditions to say goodbye to the past and ensure a good year ahead.

Japan

Yahiko Shrine, Niigata, Japan, credit: Meryl Pearlstein

Japan is very serious about celebrating with religion and food.Rather than heading to Shibuya Crossing for a Times Square-like experience on New Year’s Eve, many Japanese observe a tradition of Hatsumōde, the first Shinto shrine visit of the New Year. At the shrine, a talisman with the previous year’s zodiac sign is burned in a ritual called Otakiage and replaced with the zodiac animal of good fortune for the year ahead.

108 rings of the great bell at a Buddhist temple

Listening to Joya-no-Kane, 108 rings of the great bell at a Buddhist temple, is another New Year’s tradition with each peal “ringing away” an evil passion or desire for a clean start to the year. The celebration continues with slurping bowls of toshikoshi soba or “the end-of-the-year-and-into-the-next” soba noodles, symbolizing the bridge between the “old year” and “new year.” In New York City, you can experience the ringing of the bells at the New York Buddhist Church on the Upper West Side.

Osechi

The New Year in Japan is also celebrated with foods associated with good luck, good harvest and other positive outcomes. A traditional Osechi Ryori meal is served in a special jubako box. Consisting of multiple colorful dishes, the meal is eaten with special chopsticks rounded on both ends, one end for human use and the other for the gods. Each dish represents a symbol or wish for the coming year. Dishes include kazunoko, pacific herring roe marinated in salt (abundant harvest and fertility); kuromame, sweet black soybeans (hard work and good health); tazukuri, dried young anchovies (a strong and abundant crop) and kuri-kinton, candied chestnut with sweet potatoes (economic fortune and wealth). Manhattan’s MIFUNE turns Japanese for New Year’s with a 21-course Osechi Box Set. The beautifully composed takeout meal includes like the likes of Miyzazki Wagyu A5 Rank , lobster and uni.

Osaki Hachiman Shrine in Sendai City

In the Miyagi prefecture in the Tohoku region, the largest Dontosai Festival is held at the Osaki Hachiman Shrine in Sendai City where people come to burn their previous year’s New Year’s decorations in a massive bonfire. Seen as a purification ritual to get rid of bad luck as well as a way to pray for health and good fortune, the bonfire is accompanied by hadaka-mairi, a pilgrimage of men dressed only in white boxers, loincloths, a straw belt and straw shoes who ring a hand bell to herald the coming year while cleansing themselves of the previous year.

South American and European countries seem to have the most fun (or insanity) on New Year’s Eve.

Peru

Peru

To ensure good luck and positive energy, Peruvians don yellow clothing, wearing the color of Peruvian positivity. For double assurance, many put on yellow underwear and even start their New Year’s Eve celebration wearing their underwear inside out. After the clock strikes midnight, they turn it back to the right side, symbolizing changes to be made in the coming year.

Colombia

Colombia

Then there are the Colombians who take an empty suitcase on New Year’s Eve and run around the block as quickly as possible to ensure a year full of travel, an admirable aspiration especially this year.

Mexico

Mexico

The way to say goodbye to the old year in Mexico differs by area. In some regions, a doll made of old rags is set on fire to symbolize the burning of the previous year’s bad memories or deeds. In Veracruz, popular music floods the streets and children celebrate El Viejo, disguising themselves as elders as a representation of the end of the previous year. In Oaxaca, breaking crockery as a symbol of getting rid of the old is a New Year’s Eve tradition. In the heart of Jalisco, the town of Tequila fêtes the end of the year by eating 12 “lucky” grapes, one for each chime of the clock, as they do in Spain. With an appropriate Mexican twist, the town welcomes the New Year with a secret wish and a toast of tequila rather than Spanish cava. For extra good luck, locals drop a gold jewel inside their tequila glass as a harbinger of luck and abundance. Toast as they do in Spain and Mexico with festive dinner parties to go from New York City restaurants Boqueria, Socarrat and Mole.

Iceland

Iceland

Community bonfires are a New Year’s Eve event throughout Iceland. These massive fires attract friends and family to reflect on the year past and spread well wishes for the one ahead. Locals sing traditional songs about elves, the secret creatures of Icelandic lore, before scurrying indoors at 10:30pm to watch Skaupið, a satirical TV show shown only on NYE. No one in Iceland would dream of missing it!

Denmark

Denmark

In Denmark people smash plates against their friends’ and relatives’ front doors on New Year’s Eve.  They believe that the person with the largest pile of broken plates will have the most luck.

Greece

Greece

Ironically, the Greeks don’t smash plates on New Year’s as they often do in the Plaka in Athens. Rather, homemakers hang pomegranates outside their front door and smash them. The number of seeds that fall determines your fate for the New Year. The bigger the pile, the better your luck will be.

Russia

Russia - Herring under the Fur Coat” salad

The Japanese definitely don’t have a lock on celebrating NYE with a major food feast. On December 31, Russians party at home with an elaborate food spread with mandarins, Russian salad (Olivier salad) and the wonderfully named “Herring under the Fur Coat” salad (shuba). And, because there are nine time zones in Russia, New Year is celebrated nine times starting from Vladivostok from East to West. For a local taste of the Olivier and Shuba salads, Russian Samovar in Manhattan’s Theater District offers a “Bourgeois Holiday Banquet” to go.

Still Haven’t Found a Place for NYE in NYC? The Big Apple Has Lots of Choices

The Big Apple is a place to celebrate diversity of people, diversity of cultures and diversity of experiences.  Keeping that in mind, New York City offers a panoply of evening experiences so you can choose the type of New Year’s Eve to call your own: staying at home in your apartment or hotel room, attending an elaborate party, enjoying a luxe dinner, or finding a venue that puts you in the center of NYC’s proprietary grand fête, the Ball Drop in Times Square. If you’ve found yourself without a place to go, it’s not too late to book these wonderful options that will get you out and about as you start the new decade. Remember, New Year’s Eve lore says that where you are and who you meet first on New Year’s Eve set the stage for the year ahead. So, if you’ve already gotten rid of those bad memories at Good Riddance Day in Times Square and you’re prepared to put your New Year’s resolutions into play, kick off the future with a special night to say goodbye to the past and move forward with wonderful memories.

Good Riddance Day

New York City is Never Lacking When it Comes to Parties

Plado Tasting Bar

Lively Plado Tasting Bar in the East Village is perfect for a friends-and-family gathering with its shared plates menu. The new Mediterranean-focused tapas restaurant invites you to a Festo de Tapas, brought to you by charming Chef German Rizzo. Come hungry as you’ll enjoy a set menu of 10 selections including wagyu carpaccio with truffles and pecorino,  taro gnocchi and lobster ravioli. The two three-hour seatings also include unlimited beer, wine and sangria. If you’re there when the clock strikes twelve, there’s a midnight toast and party favors.  https://www.pladonyc.com/

Zuma

If a Midtown location is easier for a meet-up with your friends, Zuma has a New Year’s Eve soirée that will keep everyone dancing.  . Set in the restaurant’s swanky second-floor lounge, adorned for NYE with a flashy red carpet and balloon-covered ceiling, the party kicks off with a welcome glass of Champagne and geisha dancers to get you moving. Then the creativity is up to you as you pose for pictures in the NYE-themed photobooth and dance the night away to Zuma’s resident DJ. Handcrafted seasonal cocktails, a midnight Champagne toast and viewing of the ball drop are part of the festivities. You can choose to have dinner, too, with omakase menu choices in the main dining room before the party. Contemporary Japanese dishes like lobster tempura with spicy ponzu and wasabi; thinly sliced sea bass sashimi with yuzu, truffle and salmon roe; and wagyu tataki with ponzu and fresh white truffles are special choices for the evening. https://zumarestaurant.com/locations/new-york/

Cote - Credit: Gary He

For New Year’s Eve, Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse Cote has a prix fixe dinner starting with caviar-adorned “steak and eggs,” followed by seven different cuts of steak, noodles with A5 Japanese wagyu and other festive dishes prepared by Chef David Shim. The meal includes a Champagne toast as well as a giant Champagne tower pour at midnight.  The party continues downstairs at Cote’s cocktail lounge Undercote. There, it’s a throwback to the 80s with a Miami’s Vice-themed event. The evening includes a premium open bar with themed cocktails by Sondre Kasin, an array of special snacks, a Champagne toast at midnight and a DJ set. Dress your Miami Vice best with pastels, structured shoulders, sequins, cutout dresses, white suits and belted waistlines and get ready to dance to DJ music.  https://www.cotenyc.com/

NIGHT MUSIC

Vegans aren’t left out on New Year’s Eve at NIGHT MUSIC in the East Village with all-vegan Indian-inspired cuisine by Ravi DeRossi. From 6pm-10pm guests can enjoy a four-course dinner with a Champagne toast. After that, the restaurant transforms into a cocktail party with an open bar.  www.nightmusicny.com/

HUSO - Marky’s Caviar

For a luxe celebration where caviar is synonymous with New Year’s Eve rather than with party hats and noisemakers, you’ll want to reserve a seat at HUSO, the caviar bar hidden behind a velvet curtain at Marky’s Caviar retail store on Madison Avenue. New Year’s Eve diners will be treated to caviar service of Beluga di Venezia, Russian Royal Osetra and private stock Sevruga; canapés; a demi bottle of Champagne; and an eight-course caviar-filled tasting menu from Eleven Madison Park alumnus Chef Buddha Lo. https://www.markyscaviar.com/

I Want to Be Somewhere Where I Can See the Ball Drop, or Maybe the Fireworks

If the thought of joining the millions of people who fill the outdoor corrals around Times Square  makes you recoil in horror, there are ways to see the ball drop in comfort, albeit for a price.

W New York-Times Square

W New York-Times Square has a NYE-dedicated space to keep you warm and comfy. In the hotel’s neon-lit Living Room Bar you can cuddle up in a private indoor cabana with bottle service, an open bar, midnight Champagne toast, live screening of the ball drop and live DJ music. The festivities start at 6pm continuing well into the new decade. You can still step outside to watch the ball drop in the cold air, or just stay inside and enjoy the privileged setting. The price is $2,250 to reserve a cabana for up to six guests. General admission tickets are available for less and include the four-hour open bar, party favors and a Champagne toast at midnight. Stay inside – you’ll be able to pick up leftover confetti on the streets when you leave.  https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/nycwh-w-new-york-times-square/

701 West - Credit Liz Clayman

For superlative views of the ball drop this New Year’s Eve, check out the extravagant celebration at 701 West, Michelin-starred Chef John Fraser’s fine dining jewel at The Times Square EDITION Hotel. The restaurant on the hotel’s eleventh floor is hosting a glamorous, black-tie bash unlike any other in town. Most of the details are a mystery so prepare for anything! Welcome cocktails and canapés in the Salon cocktail lounge set the tone before a six-course dinner, with selections such as eel with upland cress and foie pressé with kumquat mostarda and brioche. A wine pairing by Advanced Sommelier Amy Racine accompanies each course. There’s also a five-hour open bar with a curated wine and cocktail list. But, here’s the best part: you’ll get an exclusive view of the Ball Drop from the heart of the action – the location and specific details will only be revealed to guests that evening.  And, of course, there’s a Champagne toast. Throughout the evening, you can look upon Duffy Square, the northern part of Times Square, from your lofty perch on the outdoor terrace.  Your ticket also includes entry to the hotel’s Paradise Club dance party starting at 8pm. Tickets are $1200 per guest.  https://www.701westnyc.com

For something more casual but still with views of the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, check out the celebrations at these two Times Square restaurants and one within sight of the city’s fireworks.

Dos Caminos Times Square

Ring in 2020 in the heart of Times Square with a special fiesta at Dos Caminos Times Square with an open bar, live DJ, party favors and a Mexican dinner menu. The margarita-filled party goes from 7pm to 1am with delicious desserts to add a sweet touch before New Year’s including mini churro ice cream sandwiches, Mexican hot chocolate shooters, mini tres leches cake and mini coconut key lime pie. Yum! https://www.doscaminos.com/nye-timessquare/

Blue Fin

Seafood lovers should head to Blue Fin in Times Square where the restaurant’s New Year’s Eve bash includes an open bar, a menu of Blue Fin favorites, raw bar and sushi, live entertainment and party favors. Arrive starting at 7pm and stay until 2am. To celebrate 2020 in style, VIP tickets are also available which include bottle service, private servers and more.  Tickets:  https://www.bluefinnyc.com

Estuary

If you’d rather be in Brooklyn, Estuary in Brooklyn Bridge Park brings you a fireworks-filled celebration with live music. Michelin-starred chef Danny Brown will offer the likes of chestnut ravioli, foie gras terrine, duck breast à l’orange and tournedos Rossini as part of the dreamy New Year’s Eve menu. As midnight approaches, resident pastry chef Christophe Toury will serve his version of a ball drop, a chocolate dome accompanied by a Grand Finale surprise. From the waterfront eatery, you’ll have a view of the New York Harbor fireworks while you listen to live music.  https://www.estuarybrooklyn.com/

The 2020 Year Celebration Means a Look Back to the Parties of the Roaring 20s

Brooklyn Cider House - Taproom

Get your flapper dresses and newsboy hats ready for the last night of 2019 at Brooklyn Cider House where the Taproom transforms into a 1920s speakeasy. While it coincides with the 100th anniversary of Prohibition (which started in January of 1920), this Roaring 20s celebration will NOT be dry. From 10pm to 2am, guests will enjoy an open bar with the Cider House’s signature ciders, beers on tap, well drinks and specialty cocktails. There will also be open barrels for unlimited cider catching, three DJs, screening of the ball drop, and a Champagne tower toast. You can nibble your way through the evening with party bites or book a dinner-and-party combination. https://www.brooklynciderhouse.com

Valerie

Midtown West’s Gatsby-Golden Era restaurant Valerie will go all out with their Prohibition-themed Roaring Twenties Centennial party with dining, four hours of bottomless cocktails and a midnight Champagne toast. Entertainment by magician Devonte Rosero and a live six-piece jazz band will keep you in the mood from 9:30pm-1:30am and set the stage for posing  in front of a vintage car with a cocktail from the restaurant’s signature Gin & Tonic cart. All guests will leave the party with a bag of favors to ring in the 2020 new year!  https://www.valerienewyorkcity.com/

Where to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in New York City

Everyone needs some laughs this year and starting off the New Year with a smile sounds like a very good thing.

The place to be in NYC is Caroline’s, where headliners routinely let their comic superpower loose, and on New Year’s Eve, it’s one big laughfest. The late show at 10pm carries into the wee hours after you watch the Ball Drop live on their TVs and 10-foot screen.  It’s close enough to Times Square to let you sense the excitement without being in the middle of the crowds, a nice benefit. 1626 Broadway. http://bit.ly/2pOlMNu

Near enough to view the light show and the Ball Drop if you choose to head outside, two restaurants offer special evening meals.

A favorite of the Broadway community, Bond 45 New York Italian Kitchen and Barin its new 46th Street location — invites guests to ring in 2018 with a seven-course prix fixe menu, live music, Champagne toast and party favors. Or celebrate like a Tony Award winner with a seven-course dinner, a bottle of Champagne and a private escort to view the LIVE Ball Drop from the heart of Times Square.  221 West 46th Street. https://www.bond45ny.com/

In the mood for a Chinese feast instead? Hakkasan New York also sits to the west of Times Square and is offering  a six-course festive meal with luxurious twists on Cantonese favorites such as scallop shumai, roasted duck with truffle dumpling, braised abalone salad and stir-fry Boston lobster with black pepper and honey. 311 West 43rd Street. http://hakkasan.com/locations/hakkasan-new-york/

Tradition and nostalgia rule on New Year’s Eve at several beloved locations.

The Palm Court’s Black Tie affair is an annual glamour-fest in the iconic restaurant at The Plaza with dancing, raw bar, dinner buffet and craft cocktails recalling days of Trader Vic’s. Black tie required. Fifth Avenue at Central Park South. http://www.theplazany.com/dining/the-palm-court/.

Perrine at the Taj Pierre is equally glamorous with a balloon drop and a Champagne aerialist highlighting the New Year’s celebration. The restaurant will serve a five-course menu, with a musical trio accompaniment. Dancing follows in The Rotunda into the New Year with the Antonio Ciacca Orchestra playing Big Band standards as well as contemporary favorites. 2 East 61st Street.  http://www.perrinenyc.com/

Located in the middle of Times Square, The Edison Ballroom revisits the days of the Fitzgerald’s, flappers and the heyday of jazz with a gala night of dinner and dancing. Show off your jitterbug and foxtrot moves surrounded by New York opulence and musical stylings provided by Joe Battaglia and the New York Big Band. 240 West 47th Street.  http://edisonballroom.com/new-years-2018/

New York City also offers a choice of parties so you can bring out your inner actor and enjoy some crazy entertainment at a range of prices.

Dinner runs into the party at Bedford & Co in the Renwick Hotel with a special prix fixe menu and a Masquerade Ball. Late night festivities also include passed canapes, specialty cocktails and dancing to DJ tunes. Various packages and prices are available. 118 East 40th Street. www.bedfordandco.com. Masquerade Ball tickets at http://bit.ly/2zZtdVN

Modern Mediterranean restaurant Green Fig will ring in the New Year with The Brothel Carnivale, a lavish party with a five-course dinner, hors d’oeuvres, dancing and open bar. Entertainment is non-stop with Burlesque performers, sword swallowers and giant boa constrictors. 570 10th Avenue. http://www.onfournyc.com/new-years-eve.html

Befitting the melting pot that is New York City, several restaurants show off New Year’s Eve traditions from around the world.

Socarrat is offering a special tasting menu for the evening, featuring their acclaimed paella and tapas, with sangria, beer and an open bar. Guests will celebrate New Year’s in the Spanish tradition with a Cava toast and the eating of 12 Lucky Grapes. At midnight, each guest will receive 12 grapes, one for every month. At each clock stroke, celebrants eat the grapes which are said to bring good fortune throughout the new year. 259 West 19th Street, 284 Mulberry Street, 953 Second Avenue. https://www.socarratnyc.com/

Greek steakhouse Merakia rings in the New Year with a prix fixe dinner and a Greek ceremony of the cutting of the cake at midnight. On New Year’s Eve, families cut the Vasilopita (bread or cake), hoping to find the hidden coin inside to bless the house and bring good luck. If you’re the lucky person who orders the chocolate lava cake and finds the lucky coin, your meal is free. 5 West 21st Street. https://merakia.com

At recently opened Shuka, it’s a Night in Marrakech with a Feast Menu of mezze plates, dips and kebabs. To welcome the New Year, entertainment will be provided a la Mediterranean  including Glenda’s Gypsy Palm Readings (from Employees Only) and Salit the Belly Dancer.  38 MacDougal Street.  https://www.shukanewyork.com/

And what would New Year’s Eve in a city of skyscrapers be if it didn’t offer the chance to view the celebration from high above.

Rooftop lounge Bar 54 hosts a New Year’s Eve celebration with an exclusive live viewing of the world famous Ball Drop. Located on the 54th floor of Hyatt Centric Times Square, Bar 54 kicks off the evening with an indoor party with open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres, with guests moving outdoors to view the Ball Drop on the bar’s terrace with a Champagne toast in hand. 135 West 45th Street. https://timessquare.centric.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/bar-54.html Tickets at http://bit.ly/2gkhvdT .

Right in the heart of Times Square, the New York Marriott Marquis lets guests take advantage of its premier location with a five-course dinner, unlimited premium open bar and entertainment at The View Restaurant & Lounge on the 47th and 48th floors, with 360-degree views revolving completely every hour and overlooking Times Square.  1535 Broadway. https://www.theviewnyc.com/new-years-eve/

How about a view of the Statue of Liberty and the fireworks downtown instead of the Ball Drop at Times Square?

Conrad New York invites you to a downtown celebration with a view. Begin the celebration with open bar and canapes at ATRIO Wine Bar and Restaurant, followed by a four-course prix fixe dinner accompanied by tunes by a live DJ. Just before the end of 2017, guests will head to Loopy Doopy, the 16th-story rooftop bar, for a Champagne toast with views of the Statue of Liberty and fireworks along the Hudson River. 102 North End Avenue. http://www.conradnewyork.com/

Cruise into the New Year on board Hudson’s at Pier 81 for a music-filled, open-bar celebration in the middle of the Manhattan Harbor under the fireworks in the presence of the Statue of Liberty. Pier 81, 12th Avenue and West 41st Street.  https://hudsonsnyc.com/offers-events/new-years-eve/

Say Goodbye to 2016 at Good Riddance Day on December 28

I’ve only done the “watch the ball drop” thing once in person, and I’ll never be that crazy again (although I do love the fireworks celebration in Central Park and the Midnight Run which leaves from Rumsey Playfield). But, if you’re determined to include Times Square in your New Year’s itinerary and you’re not just thinking about going to a Broadway show, Good Riddance Day and the Times Square Wishing Wall are two unique celebrations to consider.

On December 28, it will be out with the old, in with the new in Times Square as visitors shred their worst memories from 2016 by disposing of them in a giant shredder. After letting go of 2016 and the less-than-jolly news of this year, guests can record a wish for 2017 on a piece of paper that will be added to the confetti that accompanies the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop. Think Wishfetti!  Just stop by Duffy Square (47th Street and 7th Avenue, Manhattan) between 11am and 8pm to post your wish on the wall. You can also contribute online to the Virtual Wishing Wall. All online wishes will be turned into confetti as well.  Use the hashtag #confettiwish if you’re writing your wishes on Twitter or Instagram.

Feel free to toast early with a nice glass of bubbly or a hot apple cider (spiked with rum)!

Planning a trip to NYC?