Watch the Ball Drop in New York City on New Year’s Eve


For the past several years, a good friend and I had said that for New Year’s Eve, we wanted to go watch the ball drop in New York City. Not only do people travel from all over the world go to see the ball drop, but also, the film that shares the holiday’s name makes the event look even more glamorous than the way people talk about the experience. Plus, because we live relatively close to the city, it seemed like a shame not to go. Normally, another friend has a big New Year’s Eve party every year, but this year she wasn’t having the party and we figured it was a great year to head to the city.

Four of us wound up going to the big event: me, Kait, Kait’s Jen, and Evelyn, who I met that day. Because they were all so positive and shared the desire to venture out to the city on this day, I wound up having a blast just being in their company.

On the train ride there we all laughed after discovering that every one of our parents and friends seemed to be Debbie downers about going to New York on this day. Here are just some of the comments we heard from them:

“I did that once and it was horrible. It was freezing cold & you stand pushed up against a crowd of strangers for hours.”

“I would never do that. Are you guys going to wear diapers?” (We actually heard the diaper question from multiple people.)

“Why don’t you just stay home with the family for New Years?”

“You’re nuts! I would never go there on New Year’s Eve”

Compared to many people, we got to the city pretty late around 5:00 & even stopped at Chipotle to get something to eat. At that point, the city looked completely empty and I remember us all reveling because we believed we’d proved everyone wrong and saying, “What is everyone talking about? They were all freaking out and it’s completely empty here!”

Soon, we discovered the comments from our friends and family were justified.

After Chipotle, we naively walked around looking for a way to get close to where the concerts would be. Although I’m not quite sure why we didn’t realize we would never get close enough to even hear the concert if we arrived in the city at five, we all agreed later that we wouldn’t have been able to stand there longer than the six hours we did stay there for.

We wound up crunched into the middle of a crowd a couple blocks from Times Square, but at least it was in a spot where we could see the ball sitting up there waiting. Because there were police barriers everywhere, we weren’t able to get any closer. We wound up meeting a really nice man named Gerardo who told us he lives in New York and goes to watch the ball drop every year; he told us his friends were supposed to meet him, but they later called him and canceled. He was sweet enough to lend us the coats he initially brought for his friends as a blanket and at the end of the night we gave Gerardo the nickname “Our little angel”; he is also the one who convinced us to stay the entire time.

Although we all dressed in really warm clothing, after about two hours of standing there we were already numb from the freezing cold temperatures and eventually sat on the ground huddling with and hugging each other for warmth, as Gerardo kept laughing at us.

After about three hours we were already considering heading back to Kait and Jen’s college to go to a party there instead. All four of us were torn between multiple thoughts: “If we stay the entire time we can officially say we watched the ball drop in New Years Eve on Times Square and cross it off our bucket lists.” “And we can prove our friends wrong,” Jen added.

And then there was Gerardo, who continued to bombard us with inspirational sayings: “If you leave, you will look back and regret it for the rest of your lives,” he said. “When I lived in Guatemala I used to hike for miles on the mountains carrying water on my head and I wanted to give up, but I didn’t.”

Then again, after four hours the diapers didn’t seem like such a ridiculous idea anymore. “If we go to the party we can be warm and find a bathroom!” we thought. Jen didn’t have to go to the bathroom, but Kait and I cracked up when she said, “If I was freezing and I had to pee, I’d be miserable right now!” since we were both in that condition.

And yet by 10:00 we realized we were so close, waiting there for the rest of the hours would have been for nothing. Despite the cold, being there with people from all over the world, catching those goofy New Years hats they through out to us, and Gerardo’s kindness was part of this awesome experience.

And so we made it to midnight and although we were a few blocks from Times Square, we got to watch the ball drop on New Years Eve in New York City and agreed we could cross this one off our bucket lists. Gerardo even gave us all kisses on the cheek and after the hullabaloo died down, helped us get to the train station on time, so we wouldn’t get stuck in New York. We even made it back to the college for the party wearing our goofy hats.

Despite almost giving up, we were all really glad we stayed until midnight. If you haven’t been to NYC on New Years Eve, I would recommend doing it at least once (even if you never go back there on that day again… unless maybe you get first row concert tickets ;)).  What made it really fun was experiencing the festivities together and the feeling of accomplishment we felt as we waited to ring in the New Year.

Now that we’re more than halfway through this year, I figured it was a good time to reflect on this day. Does anyone else have this item on his or her bucket list? Has anyone already crossed it off? I’d love to hear about your experience!

This entry was posted in Activities & Adventures and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Watch the Ball Drop in New York City on New Year’s Eve

  1. You had me at Chipotle. 🙂

  2. Annette says:

    I absolutely want to do this, but I do not do well in the freezing cold! I will remember to bundle up extra tight!

    • Yes, you should definitely do it at least once Annette :)! But, I don’t do well with cold either lol, so yup definitely dress as warm as you can with tons of layers & try to pack a couple snacks in a small bag, since those granola bars saved us when we started to starve haha

  3. yerpirate says:

    I prefer to have lived in through your post! I didn’t understand the diapers point – first thinking was something to do with ‘new’ in new year, but it does sound very difficult in that respect, to say the least. Meeting truly nice people is wonderful. Great post.

    • Haha, that’s funny! They were saying that because you stand there so long and they don’t allow you to get out of the crowd to go to the bathroom, unless you want to loose your spot lol. Thanks so much though 🙂

  4. bklynboy59 says:

    Nice pictures, New York is crazy on new years eve lol

  5. Bee says:

    Cool pics South Aussie is tame when it comes to new years

  6. Being booted from London by plane, (Go Away Gypsy post) makes me want to add it to my bucket list of places to walk barefooted. Thanks for following me!! I enjoyed this story, it was well written, and gave me great visualizations of Times Square. The questions at the bottom were an excellent closure too. I have not seen the ball drop though……. 🙂

    • Haha, that’s such a cool bucket list idea! And you’re welcome 🙂 Thank you so much for your nice comments! Can’t wait to read more of your blog posts!

      • Excellent! I’m glad you liked it! Your welcome!!! Thank you for the compliments too! I will do my best to emulate you, by accepting my self critic limitations, or perceived belly flops, in graceful ways as you did here, instead of hatching up ways that could potentially land me in prisons of foreign countries, because of my wounded sense of pride. Next time I should get my visa straight. That being said, Happy Independence Day!!! Screw the English Empire!!! I want to put flowers on my ancestors graves, drink mead with my distant cousins, eat swan with the Queen, and see castle gardens!!!!! Hahahahaha! 🙂

      • Haha, aww thats funny 🙂 You’re welcome! Happy Independence Day to you too and hope you’re having a great day!

  7. Awesome! Marty and I were in NYC last New Year’s Eve (day) and almost stayed to watch the ball drop but were turned off by all of the negative comments about having to get there so early, no bathrooms and crowds. Part of me wishes we would’ve stayed because it is on my bucket list as well; however, it just wasn’t the right year. Maybe someday… 🙂

    • Haha, I completely understand not staying, but I think it’s neat you were there in the daytime (this way, you got the best of both worlds :)) It was definitely true about the no bathrooms and crowds, so I wouldn’t regret not staying! But yes, maybe one of these days you can make it back to see the ball drop!

  8. John says:

    Definitely on my bucket list. Great story! Thanks for posting it!

  9. krystoldiggs says:

    Seems like you had a great time!! Believe it or not I’ve NEVER been to Chipolte. I heard it’s really good. I have yet to go. I live down south now but I’m trying to move to NewYork for a job. Been applying like crazy! I don’t really have a bucket list because money is so tight now a days. It takes money to travel. I’d love to go to Italy sometime.

    • Ahh really?! You will definitely have to go to a Chipotle at one point, lol 🙂 But that’s awesome about moving to New York! I really hope the job search goes well & you’ll have to keep me updated. I totally get what you mean about it being expensive, but that would be awesome if you get to come to New York. I’d love to go to Italy sometime as well

      • krystoldiggs says:

        Yes! I want to go there on my honeymoon. If I ever get married, lol. I’m still single! LOL…anyway yes NewYork is where I want to be. I’m a writer and my dream is to write for a company or network while still writing my novels and screenplays. Currently I just got an internship at IFashion Network and I know NOTHING about fashion, lol. Well, I know what’s pretty and what I would wear lol. So far so good.

  10. cynicthnkr says:

    Really jealous of the life you live.

  11. davecenker says:

    I lived in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for most of my life and never did make it to NYC on New Year’s Eve 😦 I did make it there on Christmas Eve which was interesting in it’s own way 🙂 Living in Florida now, it would probably be a bit more challenging, but not impossible. I think it would be an awesome experience.

    If more people chose to experience life and focus on all things good, we would have much more interesting stories to share with each other. Thank you for taking the plunge and sharing yours 😉

    • Aww thank you Dave :)! That’s awesome you’ve been there on Christmas Eve though!! And you’re so lucky you live in Florida now; I’m jealous! Haha. Thank you again for such nice comments

  12. Great compilation. Loved the colours in the pictures! 🙂

  13. Thanks for sharing! 🙂 When I went I think I over prepared. I wore 19 pieces of clothing so I wasn’t cold at all (even though it snowed and did freezing rain) and we wore diapers, but we also didn’t drink anything after 9 am, so we didn’t need them. When it rained, so many people left that it wasn’t even crowded. Then my friend Allan taught everyone how to do Scottish style dancing. It was really a night to remember, but it could just as easily have been miserable! 🙂

  14. That’s quite hard: hungry and having to pee in the freezing cold… These are conditions I can get quite uncomfortable, even sick after that day. But I think I would risk it, because this is also one of the things I want to do. But I have a question: What if you go there at, let’s say, 9pm? Would it be too full or even possible to get a spot?

    • Haha, yes that is so true! And hmm well I think like you said it would be really crowded if you got there at 9 pm and might be hard to get anywhere near where the ball is dropping or even to get around the city because they start blocking off the streets 😦 Then again, we weren’t that close anyway and got there a couple hours earlier lol 🙂

  15. donzwebb says:

    I was considering going this NYE but I might be going to Montreal instead! We’ll see:) I think I should be able to handle the cold as long as I bundle up. It does get pretty cold here in the winter. Plus if I survived standing in the line outside of a club in open-toe heels in the middle of the winter then this should be a breeze lol

  16. I love this story! Much like yourself, seeing the ball drop on new years was always a must do for me. So my boyfriend and I came in a few days early to from Ohio and around 2 pm New years eve (this year) we took our spots. Like you we had thought that we had dressed warmly, but after a few hours we almost threw in the towel. It even started snowing! We actually met some fellow Ohioans (OH!) and they even were nice enough to share there pizza with us. A minute before the ball drop I turn around to find my boyfriend down on one knee and he asked me to marry him, right there on the disgustingly dirty streets of times square 😉 While it took me about an hour to feel my limbs again, I defiantly wouldn’t have changed going. I mean I probably wont go again, but hey it was an amazing once in a lifetime experience!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s