NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Dress in layers, lay off the booze and bring some hand warmers.
Those are some of the tips offered for the one million revelers expected in Times Square for what could be one of the coldest New Year’s Eve ball drops on record.
Brutal weather has iced plans for scores of events in the Northeast from New Year’s Eve through New Year’s Day, but not in New York City, where people will start gathering in Times Square up to nine hours before the famous ball drop.
“Hundreds of thousands have withstood very cold weather over the years for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we expect this year to be no different,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance which puts on the event.
The coldest New Year’s Eve in Times Square came in 1917, when it was 1 degree at midnight. This year, the forecast is for 11 degrees with a wind chill around zero, which would tie for second with 1962.
City and state health officials are advising people to cover all exposed skin, and wear a hat, scarf and gloves. Drinking alcohol is discouraged because it causes the body to lose heat faster.
Extra New York Fire Department personnel are going to be on hand to provide medical support and a National Weather Service meteorologist will be on site with the city’s emergency management officials to monitor weather conditions.
CBS2’s Dave Carlin spoke with some who said they briefly considered taking part in the massive outdoor party, but then saw the bitter, brutal forecast.
“It’s something you’ve got to do once. We’ve done it once already, so it’s OK if we don’t do it this year,” one woman said.
Brave French tourist Charlotte Silva, however, will line up for hours outside.
“I think it’s cold, but it’s amazing,” she said. “I take my jacket.”
The Rojas family, of Miami, told CBS2’s Jessica Borg they will be all bundled up, but said they’re concerned about the bitter cold.
“Just to see it would be amazing,” they said. “We’ll be snug, hopefully.”
Delaney Poore, from Cincinnati, said she can’t wait to celebrate.
“I’m super excited to see everyone perform,” she said.
Others like Jared Ochacher, of New Rochelle, felt differently.
“I prefer to just be in the comfort of my home, instead of standing out in the cold,” he said.
Saturday’s winter weather and snow didn’t slow the 12,000 pound ball from making its way up and down the pole atop One Times Square for a test run, with its nearly 2,700 Waterford crystals.
As WCBS 880’s Ethan Harp reported, nothing is stopping the woman who helped throw the switch, either.
“I can’t wait. I’m just so thrilled,” said Tarana Burke.
The Bronx native is the founder of the #MeToo movement, the social media campaign that exploded this year to fight sexual harassment and assault.
“I represent, at least I try really hard to represent, survivors around the world,” she told Harp. “2017 is not about closing out #MeToo and doing something different, but 2018 is about taking this movement to another level.”
Burke was joined on the riser by her daughter, Kaia Burke.
“I’ve watched her plan, and make lesson plans, and make programs, so to see her get the recognition that she deserves is just amazing, and I am her biggest fan,” she said.
Security efforts for the big event are nonstop, including snipers, bag-inspecting officers and vapor wake dogs that can detect airborne explosive particles. There will also be more barricades and metal detectors than ever before.
“They have decided to have extra levels of security within hotels, and obviously a lot of undercover stuff,” Tompkins said.
Some party-goers said the additional security measures are comforting.
“Every time I seem to turn around, there’s another police officer. So I feel really good about it,” one man said.
For trouble-free festivities, remember to bundle up. All exposed skin needs to be covered.
Also remember there are no umbrellas or backpacks allowed. You cannot leave them at checkpoints, so having them means getting turned away.
Alcohol is not allowed either, and drinking beforehand is discouraged, because it causes the body to lose heat faster.
Streets will be closed with cement barriers and sand-filled sanitation trucks in an area about 22 street blocks long and three avenue blocks wide starting on Sunday morning.
Parking garages within the Times Square security zone will also be on lockdown between 9 a.m. Sunday and 3 a.m. Monday.
There will be no subway access to Times Square starting at 7 p.m. Sunday.
In other areas gripped by the cold, some events are being canceled or reconsidered. The annual Lobster Dip at Old Orchard Beach in Maine has been rescheduled for the first time in 30 years.
Organizers of the Penguin Plunge in Narragansett, Rhode Island, say it’s still on for New Year’s Day but advised the thousands of expected participants to “use their good judgment” and avoid taking the plunge if they have a medical condition or have been sick.
In Philadelphia, officials are taking a wait-and-see approach to whether they should hold the annual New Year’s Day Mummers Parade, which features thousands of performers in colorful costumes adorned with sequins and feathers strutting through the streets.
The village of Orchard Park near Buffalo, New York, has canceled its New Year’s Eve event because subzero temperatures have been forecast. “With frigid weather, the chance of a water line break is higher, and I’d rather have my public works crew fixing it than hoisting a ball up to drop,” said Mayor Jo Ann Litwin Clinton.
At Long Lake in the heart of New York state’s Adirondack Park, intrepid souls in swimsuits or funny costumes will jump into frigid water through a hole cut by the fire department for the fifth annual Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for High Peaks Hospice. With temperatures expected to top out around 13 degrees, the rescue squad will be checking participants’ blood pressure and buses will provide warm shelter, said Alexandra Roalsvig, the town’s director of recreation and tourism.
“People get excited about the cold here; we grew up with it,” Roalsvig said. “We’re counting on a good cold winter and snow because we’re so reliant on snowmobiling for the winter economy.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)