New Year's Eve in NYC: Where to CelebrateDecember 12, 2017 - by City Guide News Desk
New Year's Eve NYC 2017-2018. 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 2018!
Image: Anthony Quintano/Flickr
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.
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest in Times Square will feature Camila Cabello, Nick Jonas, and the award-winning duo Sugarland.
New Year's Eve in NYC: Comedy
Ring in the new year with Adam Ferrara. Ferrara is known for playing the role of Chief "Needles" Nelson on the critically acclaimed FX series Rescue Me. He was a co-host on the U.S. version of Top Gear and played NYPD Sgt. Show is at 8pm. VIP packages available. gothamcomedyclub.com
Don't stay out on the cold waiting for the ball to drop. Join the party at LOL Times Square Comedy Club in the heart of it all with over 4 hours of open bar. Party, drink and laugh at the best New Year's Eve Celebration in the world: Times Square. Choose from a variety of packages with a comedy show, well open bar, and premium open bar. You can see the ball drop in simultaneous translation on the screens inside the club and hear the New Year's Eve Countdown happening live at the front of LOL Times Square. Hosts from the club will help you navigate right to the door of the 2018 LOL Times Square New Year's Eve Bash.
(12/31) Garland Jeffries at Joe's Pub. After two stellar albums within 3 years, in 2017, Garland Jeffreys stays on a returning-champion roll with 14 Steps to Harlem, a spirited summation of virtually all the styles and subjects he’s explored through a nearly five-decade career.
New Year's Eve in NYC: Music
Phish bring their annual New Year's jam to Madison Square Garden (also 12/28-30).
(12/31) New Year's Eve at don't tell mama in the Theatre District offers two great dinner-with-show options.
*The first, at 9:30pm, is Mama's New Year's Extravaganza, a three-course prix fixe dinner with a full cabaret show and a champagne flute toast at midnight. Featuring Patrick DeSanero, Tommy J. Dose, Michelle Dowdy, Tara Martinez, and Lauren Turner. Hurry to make your reservations!
Photo credit: Eric Stephen Jacobs
*The second, also at 9:30pm, is Bazazz: A Sequined Variety with Rick Skye as Liza Minnelli! The show features Skye's impersonation of Minnelli, for which he won the 2017 MAC Award for Best Impersonation, plus his special guests and the Kit Kat Boyz. Skye, who sings in his own voice, also writes all of the original material, leading critics to say "The show is lively, varied, and comfortingly nostalgic." $160 pp includes a three course prix fixe meal, a full cabaret show, and a champagne flute at midnight!
(12/31) The city's newest nightspot is Opry City Stage, NYC’s home for country music and culture, with good food and good times rooted in the South and served up in Times Square. Celebrate New Year's with two of Nashville's quickest-rising songwriters, the up-and-coming duo LoCash, as they welcome in 2018. Radio Romance, winners of the 2017 Nash Next talent competition, will also be appearing. All tickets include the live music, a Southern-style meal, a premium open bar, party favors, and a special gift. For the 7pm show, Gold Packages start at $299 seat/$750 booth (up to 4); Silver Packages are $199 seat/$600 booth. At 9:30pm, choose from a Platinum Package ($550 seat/$2,000 booth, and includes a VIP escort to the Ball Drop in Times Square), Gold Package ($399 seat/$1,250 booth), or a Silver Package ($329 seat/$1,000 booth).
(12/30-12/31) They Might Be Giants play the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
(12/31) Gramatik at Terminal 5.
(12/31) 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
Obicà Mozzarella Bar, Pizza e Cucina is a casual contemporary Italian restaurant in the Flatiron District, 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. This New Year's Eve, Obicà is hosting an ’80s-themed party. Inspired by the decade that brought us the Walkman, the Rubik’s Cube, CNN, Reagan, Dirty Dancing, Jordache, Dallas, and Duran Duran (among others), there will be a DJ, dancing, and some incredible dining specials. In addition to the regular a la carte menu, look for specials like tartare di Manzo (Angus beef, black truffle, and quail egg), lobster risotto, bone-in rib-eye, and panettone e pandoro(traditional Italian holiday cakes) for dessert. Reservations will be taken between 5pm and 10:30pm; all reservations between 5pm and 7:45pm will have a maximum table time of 2 hours. Reservations from 8pm and later will have the table for the entirety of the night. For these reservations, there will be a $25 per person charge which will include the midnight party, with DJ, dancing, midnight toast, and party supplies. Costumes are encouraged but not mandatory. obica.com
Where will you be to ring in 2018? Join the biggest party at the biggest beer hall in all of Manhattan, the West Village's Houston Hall. The evening features hor d'oeuvres, an open bar, a DJ, and a champagne toast, and runs from 9pm to 1am; table reseravations are available. houstonhallny.com
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 open bar, complimentary passed canapés, a live DJ, and a champagne toast at midnight ($325/person). rainbowroom.com/bar-sixty-five
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, a DJ dance party, and a champagne toast at midnight. For the kids, there will be the Impossible Laser Race, scavenger hunts, cotton candy, popcorn, and face painting. While you're there, you can explore and discover over 500 artifacts and over 20 galleries in North America’s largest Ripley’s attraction. Believe it or not, you can see the official Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball every day of the year at Ripley's. The ball on display here, lighting up in millions of color combinations and just waiting for your best selfie, is made of Waterford Crystal and was the real 2007 Centennial Countdown Ball. ripleysnewyork.com
Finish out 2017 on a peaceful note at the New Year's Eve Concert for Peace, an annual concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine that was started by Leonard Bernstein in 1984. (Fans of Bernstein have a tough choice to make this New Year's, as the famed composer’s musical theatre work will be honored with a New Year’s Eve concert at Lincoln Center featuring some of Broadway’s best: Aaron Tveit, Annaleigh Ashford, Christopher Jackson, and Laura Osnes.)
NYRR Midnight Run 2017 Kick off the New Year at the Midnight Run! Join the fun and celebrate with music and dancing (starting at 10pm) as 2017 comes to a close. With a countdown to midnight beginning at 11:59pm, the four-mile run will begin on the stroke of midnight, as will a spectacular fireworks display to light up the night and the start of 2018. nyrr.org
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. coneyislandfunguide.com
Guy Fieri's signature style is infused in every aspect of his midtown outpost, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar. For New Year's Eve you can expect a killer DJ, a 5-hour open bar, four hours of signature appetizers, and a location right next to all the action in Times Square. guysamerican.com
New Year's Eve in NYC: Cruises
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. bateauxnewyork.com
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. spiritofnewyork.com
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. citysightseeingnewyork.com
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. circleline42.com
As the clock strikes midnight, watch as New York Harbor transforms via a brilliant pyrotechnic display from the comfort of New York Water Taxi. Their New Year's Eve cruise leaves from Pier 81 and includes hors d'oeuvres, a stationed buffet and dessert, beverage choices of beer, wine, juice, and soft drinks, and an onboard TV to view live coverage of the ball dropping. nywatertaxi.com/new-years/
The New Year's cruise on North River Lobster Co.'s boat is now sold out, but there is still some availability left for sister vessel Hudson's. Celebrate in the middle of the Manhattan Harbor under the fireworks in the presence of the Statue of Liberty, with a DJ spinning all night, and an open bar. hudsonsnyc.com/offers-events/new-years-eve/
New Year's Eve in NYC: Dining
Armani Ristorante on Fifth Ave. is offering a special pre-fixe multi-course dinner menu to ring in the new year. For $250 pp, enjoy a first course of poached lobster with savoy cabbage, lobster sabayon and crustaceans reduction; second course of Gillardeau oyster and lettuce ravioli, Beluga caviar and burnt onion broth; fish course of red mullet fillet stuffed with artichokes,fish guazzetto and sourdough leaf; meat course of Squab breast, creamy focaccia,wild spinach and black truffle,crispy cannellone; and for dessert, Avola almond mousse pearl ,vin santo wine and orange scent. For 'good luck', traditional stuffed pork shank and lentils. You'll also enjoy Homemade Panettone with Hot Vanilla and Chocolate Sauces. Reservations are still being accepted. There is a $100 cancellation fee.
Ben & Jack's serves only USDA-prime dry-aged steak, and it’s aged in their own aging box. The restaurant has an old-school feel that will instantly transport you back in time with its vintage decor and decorations. For New Year's, they'll be pulling out all the stops with a $110.95 prix fixe menu. Look for appetizer options like baked clams, fried calamari, or sizzling Canadian bacon. Entrees include famous beef cuts like Ben and Jack's rib-eye or sirloin, plus options like rack of lamb, Chilean sea bass, and broiled wild salmon. The likes of potatoes and mac 'n' cheese are among the sides, and apple strudel, cheesecake, or chocolate mousse make the cut for dessert. The meal even comes with a complimentary glass of Champagne. 255 Fifth Ave., 212-532-7600; 219 E. 44th St., 212-682-5678; benandjackssteakhouse.com
Benjamin Steakhouse will be offering a special menu for New Year's Eve. A lavish, four-course prix fixe menu will be joined by a full open bar, champagne toast at midnight, party favors, and a live DJ. (An a la carte menu will be available before the 9pm seating.) 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, benjaminsteakhouse.com
Bobby Van's Central Park South is offering a regularly-priced menu until 9:30pm. Then it is a $110 prefixe dinner price pp. They will also be open for brunch on New Year's Day. Reserve now at bobbyvans.com
Looking for some authentic Brazilian flavors in the heart of Manhattan? Brazil Brazil, a favorite on Restaurant Row near Times Square, is your spot. This New Year's Eve you'll find a lavish prix fixe to go with a full-on New Year's party. There will be a DJ, with dancing from 10pm to 3am, plus big screens available to watch Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana fireworks and Times Square’s Ball Drop. Champagne (one glass per person, or one bottle per table of four) is included. Among the temptations: lobster bisque, jumbo shirmp with lobster ravioli, grilled t-bone, surf 'n' turf with filet mignon and lobster tail, and homemade chocolate mont lava cake with vanilla ice cream. (A $65 kids menu is available as well.) 328 W. 46th St., 212-957-4300, brazilbrazil46.com
A hidden gem in the heart of the West Village, Carma Asian Tapas offers a modern take on some Asian classics. On New Year's Eve, their fresh, creative menu will be on display. Look for tasty new Asian tapas, housemade dim sum, signature sake cocktails, and what SinoVision calls the "No. 1 Best Soup Dumpling in the City." 38 Carmine St., 212-243-0388, carmanyc.com
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. For New Year's Eve, enjoy a $99 prix fixe (a gluten-free version is available) with starters like crab cake or shrimp cocktail; soup or salad; entrees like prime strip, filet mignon, or fresh fish prepared with Himalayan sea salt; and desserts like cheesecake and creme brulee. 1221 Avenue of the Americas (entrance on 49th St.), 212-575-5129, delfriscos.com
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, indulgent bone-in cuts of cowboy rib-eye, lamb chops, and beef ribs among other favorites, plus a Vegas-cut New York strip, sweet potato casserole, butternut squash soup, and a winter citrus salad. 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, fogodechao.com
Founded in 1908, Grotta Azzurra has counted Enrico Caruso and Frank Sinatra among its fans. Today it’s a perfect destination for traditional Italian in the heart of Little Italy. White tablecloths and a warm atmosphere make for a great ambiance, and the special menu for New Year's Eve features a la carte temptations like mussels Dijon, pan-seared scallops, homemade seafood ravioli, risotto pescatore, lamb chops, and chicken with olives and cherry peppers. 177 Mulberry St., 212-925-8775, bluegrotta.com
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. All ages are welcome. 127 W. 43rd St., 212-575-5848, heartlandbrewery.com
“A farmhouse in the middle of Manhattan,” La Masseria offers classic Italian dishes from the Puglia region of Italy, utilizing the freshest natural ingredients. See for yourself on New Year's Eve. The first two seatings are a la carte and served between 5pm and 7pm and 7pm and 9pm. The third and final seating of New Year's Eve is at 9pm, and features a deluxe prix fixe menu ($175 per person, includes DJ and Champagne toast at midnight). Your choices on the prix fixe include a traditional New Year's Eve pork trotter appetizer, fettucine with short rib sauce, roast loin of veal with black truffle sauce, rack of venison with a chestnut sauce, and branzino with clams. For dessert, it's chocolate almond cake, tiramisu, or the classic panettone pudding. 235 W. 48th St., 212-582-2111, lamasserianyc.com
Executive chef Pino Coladonato does not disappoint with his wide-ranging and flavor-infused spinoff of La Masseria, Masseria dei Vini. The restaurant features beautiful dishes from Puglia, a lot of which incorporate fish, shellfish, and a plethora of fresh homemade pastas; there's also gourmet pizza Neapolitan style from a Ferrara wood-burning pizza oven. This year for New Year's Eve look for an la carte menu plus a Champagne toast at midnight. 887 Ninth Ave., 212-315-2888, masseriadeivini.com
For the intimate feel of a New York City apartment, with some serious sophistication added on top, pay a visit to The Living Room at the Park Hyatt. They'll be serving dinner on New Year's Eve from 5:30 until a last seating at 8pm, complete with appetizers like scallops or chestnut bisque and striped bass or rib-eye for entrees. From 10pm to 2am, there will also be a live music New Year's celebration; and from 7am to 3pm on January 1st The Living Room will host a New Year's Day brunch. newyork.park.hyatt.com
The world can be divided into two different types of people: cheese-lovers and everyone else. Both types will be in heaven at Mont Blanc 52. Swiss specialties include fondue and raclette, a melted cheese poured over boiled potatoes, meat, and vegetables. This New Year's Eve, Mont Blanc 52 will be hosting a very affordable four-course dinner: just $55 per person, including a champagne toast. (Don’t leave without dessert: the menu boasts an incredible variety, including chocolate fondue!) 344 W. 52nd St., 212-582-9648, montblanc52.com
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. mortonsthesteakhouse.com
Dine among the stars and immerse yourself in Hollywood history at Times Square’s Planet Hollywood. This December, the restaurant gets in the spirit of the season with “Holidays in Hollywood,” featuring festive decorations (among the memorabilia you’ll find Kris Kringle’s suit from the film Miracle on 34th Street). There’s also classic holiday film clips, the songs everyone loves, and featured “Naughty or Nice” holiday beverages. The menu boasts an eclectic mix of favorites, including pastas, salads, sandwiches, and award-winning burgers. Enjoy it on New Year's Eve! 1540 Broadway, 212-333-7827, planethollywoodintl.com
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. They will be closed on New Year's Day. 158 E. 48th St., 212-935-3785, theseafiregrill.com
Newcomer Sen Sakana in Midtown provides a sleek setting to experience Nikkei cuisine, an intriguing mix of Japanese and Peruvian influences. For New Year's Eve look for regular a la carte ordering, or opt for the incredible $125 Nikkei Experience tasting menu (gratuity included). Eight courses run from cold appetizers to a ceviche and tiradito course to hot appetizers, fish, a choice of chicken or pork mains, sushi, and finally dessert. Welcome in 2018 by experiencing something new (and delicious)! Take advantage of 18% off all glasses and bottles of champagne as an additional New Year's Eve special. 28 W. 44th St., 212-221-9560, sensakana.com
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. polarbearclub.org