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New Year's Eve in NYC: Where to Celebrate

December 12, 2016 - by City Guide News Desk
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New Year's Eve NYC 2016-2017. The clock will strike midnight, the ball will drop, kisses will be exchanged, and the promise of a New Year will light up the night sky. New Year's is a time to reflect on all that's happened and set ambitious goals for the future. It's also a time let our hair down and celebrate. If there's any town that can be trusted to get New Year's right, it's New York City, where Times Square provides a focal point for the world on December 31st. What follows are some great opportunities for meals, cruises, comedy, parties, and general merrymaking on the 31st. Happy 2017!

new year's eve in nyc

There is no minute of the year quite as exciting as 11:59pm on December 31st in Times Square. The Times Square New Year's Eve Celebration and Ball Drop is easily the most famous NYE celebration in the world. A million people join together to celebrate this event, and over a billion people will watch it on television. If you’re planning to go, dress warmly, bring something to eat, and be sure to get there early (before 5pm). The famous ball is a 12-foot geodesic sphere weighing 11,875 pounds, covered in 2,688 Waterford crystals, powered by 32,256 Philips Luxeon Rebel LED lights, and capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million vibrant colors.  

New Year's Eve NYC 2016/2017

Heading up Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest in Times Square will be Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan along with the cast of Broadway's On Your Feet, DNCE, and Thomas Rhett. 

New Year's Eve in NYC: Comedy

Chris Di Stefano

Chris Distefano, star of MTV's Girl Code, takes over the stage at Gotham Comedy Club, with two shows, 8pm and 10:30pm. General admission is $30 for the early show and $60 for the 10:30pm show, plus a two-drink minimum. A VIP Gold Admission is available at $120 per person that includes open bar, a private table, appetizer, gratuity, and bypassing the line. (It's $125 for the second show; must be 21+ to purchase VIP package). A VIP Premium Package is also available, $500 + tax per couple, including a private table, skipping the line at check in, open bar from 10:30pm-12:30am, party favors, a bottle of champagne, two food menu items, a Gotham T-shirt, and gratuity.

On New Year's Eve Stand Up NY offers the talent of comedians like Modi and Dante Nero. Packages include a champagne toast to help ring in the New Year. VIP Open Bar and VIP Bottle Service options are available.

(12/26-12/31) Sandra Bernhard, host of the live daily show Sandyland on SiriusXM Radio, performs her all-new show “Sandra Monica Blvd: Coast to Coast” at Joe's Pub.

New Year's Eve in NYC: Music

Kamasi Washington & Special Guest the Bodos Band at Brooklyn Bowl (also 12/30).

Phish at Madison Square Garden (also 12/28-30).

Guided by Voices w/ The Moles at The Music Hall of Williamsburg.

new year's eve show annaleigh ashford

Annaleigh Ashford: New Year's Magic at Feinstein's/54 Below.

Dance all night at a NYE Bash (8pm-1am) at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill. They'll have a five-hour premium open bar and a live DJ spinning an eclectic mix of Top 40, hip-hop, and dance mash-ups on a state-of-the art sound system. 

New Year's Eve in NYC: Alternatives

ball drop new year times square

Enjoy all the excitement of Times Square on New Year's Eve without being caught in the crowds with a visit to two of the world's largest Applebee's! Choose from 205 W. 50th St. (corner of Broadway & 50th St.) and 234 West 42nd St. (btw. Seventh & Eighth Aves.), just steps from the ball drop. The parties will include open bars with premium top-shelf liquor, a chef’s selection of passed hors d’oeuvres and buffet dinner selections, DJs and dancing, party favors, and a champagne toast at midnight. Not a bad way to ring in 2017! From 8pm to midnight, all-inclusive pricing is $250 kids 12 and under, $375 adults. Special pricing is available for groups of 10 or more booking together (888-244-4022). Tickets book up early, so make sure you get a reservation and don't get left out in the cold.

Madame Tussauds in the heart of Times Square will be hosting a night of fun, food, and cocktails. Madame Tussauds is home to 200+ lifesized wax figures, most recently including Taylor Swift, Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games, One Direction, Jon Hamm (from Mad Men), Rihanna, Anne Hathaway, and Pope Francis. Festivities begin at 7pm. VIP packages available.

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square will be hosting a New Year's Eve party that the whole family can enjoy. The evening includes an open bar and hors d'oeuvres from 8pm to 1am, a DJ dance party, a champagne toast at midnight, and a great view of the live ball drop. For the kids, there will be the Impossible Laser Race, scavenger hunts, cotton candy, popcorn, and more. The party begins at 8pm and ends at 1am. All children ages 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult (over the age of 21). Explore and discover over 500 artifacts and over 20 galleries in North America’s largest Ripley’s attraction.

Centrally located in Times Square, New York's Dave & Buster’s is a casual, super-fun destination for great American fare, signature drinks, and all kinds of video and interactive games—from old-time classics to today’s action-packed latest. Just half a block from the ball drop, Dave & Buster's will be hosting a New Year's Eve blowout, where you can eat, drink, game, and dance your way into 2017.

Situated at the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Bar SixtyFive has a wraparound terrace that offers immersive, panoramic views of Manhattan and beyond. It's classic New York with a contemporary twist. Join them this New Year's Eve for a 2-hour champagne and caviar bar, complimentary passed canapés, a live DJ, and a champagne toast at midnight ($295/person).

Guy's signature style is infused in every aspect of his Times Square outpost, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar. For New Year's Eve you can expect a killer DJ and stationary hors d’oeuvres with Guy classics like rotisserie roasted garlic-rosemary chicken garlic and Motley Que BBQ ribs.

fireworks nyc hudson

Image: mamojo/Flickr

Ring in the new year with a run: the New York Road Runners Club hosts its annual Midnight Run around Central Park. There will be DJs, neon face painting, strobe lights, photo opps, flashing light-up shoelaces, and a spectacular fireworks show.

Brooklyn has its own run, and its own fireworks, at Prospect Park. Locations for viewing the fireworks include Grand Army Plaza, the park’s West Drive, and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street. Enjoy live entertainment by DJ C. Live featuring the Brooklyn Mash It Up Band, and also hot chocolate, at Grand Army Plaza prior to the big display.

Coney Island Ball Drop. For those who want to experience the thrill of the ball drop without the crowds of Times Square, Coney Island will be hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration with an LED ball drop simulated on the Parachute Jump. A fantastic fireworks show will be held at midnight, and boardwalk bars and restaurants will be open for after parties. Festivities begin at 9pm, with music and giveaways.

New Year's Eve in NYC: Cruises 

Bateaux NYC New Years Eve

Bateaux New York is offering a special Eve of the Eve Dinner Cruise on December 30th, as well as a New Year's Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise and New Year's Day Brunch & Dinner Cruises. All offer unparalleled views, premium open bar, live music with jazz classics and Broadway show tunes, party favors, and much more.

Enjoy an exciting Zephyr New Year's Eve Cruise. Full of champagne, dancing, and an electrifying fireworks display, it boards at 9:15pm and sails at 10pm. Included: hors d' oeuvres, dinner buffet, beer, wine, and soft drinks, and complimentary champagne toast or sparking cider at midnight. Cruise features two full cash bars onboard for all other beverage purchases, plus a live DJ. TVs located throughout the yacht provide live coverage of the ball dropping. Family NYE cruises are also available.

Ring in the new year aboard Spirit of New York's New Year's Eve Fireworks Dinner Cruise (there's an Eve of the Eve cruise on December 30th as well). The cruise will feature dining with a premium open bar, DJs and endless dancing, midnight champagne toasts, party favors, and fireworks. The cruise sails 10pm-1am.

CitySightseeing New York Cruises is hosting its annual New Year's Eve Fireworks Cruise, offering incredible views of the New York City skyline, The Intrepid, the Empire State Building, Ellis Island, the United Nations, and much more. The three-hour cruise will feature an open bar, desserts, and a live DJ for dancing the night away. Boarding 9pm, sailing 10pm-1am. 21+ only.

Sing "Auld Lang Syne" with the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade Center, and an incredible fireworks display as your backdrop when you hit the water with Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises. They've got a DJ, hors d'oeuvres, and an open bar, too.

New Year's Eve in NYC: Dining

Benjamin Steakhouse NYC New Year's Eve menu

Benjamin Steakhouse will be offering a special menu for New Year's Eve. Seatings begin at 9pm, and the evening includes a lavish, three-course dinner with sides, full open bar from 9pm to 2am, and a champagne toast at midnight. Entree options include rack of lamb, USDA prime filet mignon, dry-aged USDA prime rib eye steak, twin lobster tails, Norwegian salmon, and Chilean sea bass. $295 per person. 52 E. 41st St., 212-297-9177,

Benjamin Prime

Sister property, Benjamin Prime, will be open New Year's Eve, from 4pm-11pm, with an a la carte menu. New Year's Day, they will be closed.  23 E. 40th St., 212-338-0818,

Buca di Beppo

Want to eat indoors for New Year's Eve and crave home-cooked Italian? Buca Di Beppo in Times Square is offering $25 off catering orders of $125 orders or more. The restaurant will also be open on New Year's Eve, but only until 10pm. Reservations are still being taken!  1540 Broadway, 212-764-6527,

Del Frisco's NYC

Celebrate New Year's Eve at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, located near Radio City Music Hall in Rockefeller Center. The expansive setting reflects the rhythm and energy of midtown, and the menu features prime beef shipped from the Midwest twice a week, plus lobster, fish, lamb, and more. Make a new New Year's tradition with a special filet mignon and lobster tail pairing. 1221 Avenue of the Americas (entrance on 49th St.), 212-575-5129,

scallops new years eve ed's chowder house

Ed’s Chowder House brings Montauk to Manhattan, serving up the best of East Coast seafood in an airy, casual space inside the historic Empire Hotel. They have a moderately priced prix fixe to help you ring in the New Year. Choose from crab cake or chowder as an appetizer, skate schnitzel, Nantucket bay scallops (above), or seafood-stuffed lobster with filet mignon as entrees, and bourbon-vanilla-pecan tart or a cookie plate for dessert. It's just $65, not including tax or tip. 44 W. 63rd St., 212-956-1288,

fabrick archer hotel

Executive Chef Michael Franey of seasonal New American standout fabrick will be serving a series of creative specials, in addition to the regular menu. The temptations will include: sustainable American caviar with buckwheat blinis; barolo risotto with black truffle and parmesan; pan-roasted venison; braised pork belly with hoppin’ john, and a Merry & Bright Tart with grapefruit gelee and pomegranate champagne sorbet. Yum! Inside the Archer Hotel, 47 W. 38th St., 212-302-3838,

david burke kitchen

Ring in the New Year with David Burke Kitchen and two prix fixe seatings. The first includes four courses and dishes like baked oysters with bone marrow, a 60-day dry-aged New York strip with truffled shoestring potatoes, and Fireworks Cake with Pop Rocks and champagne buttercream. The 9pm second seating adds a fifth course, with options like a foie gras terrine, filet of beef, and lobster Wellington. 23 Grand St., 212-201-9119,

fogo de chao gaucho way

Fogo de Chão's first churrascaria (Brazilian steakhouse) in New York City is a three-level sophisticated stunner. New and seasonal menu items are included as a part of the regular full churrasco price on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Look for fire-roasted meats carved tableside, a seasonal beef roast, New York strip steaks, a gourmet market table and feijoada (beef stew) bar, traditional Brazilian sides, and sweet potato casserole. The Fogo Churrasco Experience for children 6 and under is complimentary; children 7 to 12 are half price. Dinner pricing will apply all day. 40 W. 53rd St., 212-969-9980,

HB burger nyc

Serving delicious specialty burgers and sandwiches, HB Burger is a casual, stylish microbrewery in the Times Square area. New Year's Eve will feature five hours of open bar and signature appetizers like rigatoni with roasted eggplant and smoked mozzarella, chicken marsala, and St. Louis smoked ribs. 127 W. 43rd St., 212-575-5848,

obica nyc new years

Obicà is a casual contemporary Italian restaurant, offering a genuine Italian dining experience centered on the freshest Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP from Italy, fresh homemade pasta, and authentic products from Italy’s rich regional heritages. New Year's Eve 2017 will feature a special prix fixe dinner ($95) which starts off with a glass of bubbly: Ferrari Perlé. Gourmet choices will follow, starting with appetizers of sea urchin burrata or truffle beef tartar. Segundi options are squid ink ravioli and tortelloni with fresh black truffle; mains are red snapper or tenderloin. Traditional Italian holiday cakes complete the meal. 928 Broadway, 212-777-2754,

Morton's the Steakhouse in NYC Christmas Menu

The two Morton's The Steakhouse locations, at 551 Fifth Ave. (near 45th St.) and near the World Trade Center at 136 Washington St., will host New Year's Eve and New Year's Day celebrations.

new year's eve planet hollywood

Planet Hollywood will be welcoming the new year with a special five-hour DJ performance from 8pm-1am. Doors open at 7pm. Loads of festive passed appetizers, all the NYE garb you could ask for, and, of course, a champagne toast at midnight are all on tap. Party like the rock star you always wanted to be from 2016 into 2017! (For a more low-key affair, sister restaurant Buca di Beppo offers a VIP family-style Italian dinner and drinks galore.) 1540 Broadway, 212-333-7827,

Sea Fire Grill

 The Sea Fire Grill serves a contemporary American seafood menu for an elegant-yet-classic experience. On New Year's Eve, they will be open from 4pm-11pm, with an a la carte menu. On New Year's Day, they will be closed. 158 E. 48th St., 212-935-3785,

tio pepe west village

Greenwich Village Spanish favorite Tio Pepe will be supplementing their a la carte menus with special prix fixe options for New Year's Eve ($75pp). Look for starters like kale salad and serrano ham, followed by a soup course and mains like steak, paella, and branzino. There's even a surf and turf option: filet mignon and langostinos. Dessert choices strike a Spanish note with pear flan, or more American in the wood-oven roasted apples served as a crumble. 168 W. 4th St., 212-242-6480,

New Year's Day 

Brave souls will dive into the new year at the beloved Coney Island's Polar Bear Club New Year's Day Swim. Swim time is 1pm sharp, on the boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue. Camp Sunshine, a charity for children with life-threatening illnesses, will be accepting donations.

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