NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As 2019 comes to a close, the final preparations are underway for the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square.
The ball drop and confetti toss have been tested, and the famous Waterford Crystal ball is ready for its closeup.
Hundreds of thousands of spectators will travel from near and far to score a front row seat, and roughly one billion people are expected to watch around the world.
“Do the countdown, kiss your loved ones, have some champagne,” one woman said.
Kila Armwood, of Poughkeepsie, told CBS2’s Reena Roy she lined up at 10 a.m. Monday.
“I’ve been chewing gum and I have not gone to the bathroom,” she said. “I’m a New Yorker, I’m really good at holding it.”
Many of the early birds were hoping to catch a glimpse of Korean pop band BTS.
“We came from Denmark – 17 hours – yesterday. Now, we’re here in the line,” said Emily Sloth.
“I actually woke up around 2 a.m. to get here at 3, since it’s like an hour train ride,” another fan added.
They each had their own tips and tricks for enduring the elements.
“Small sips of water, heat packs, basically just keeping each other motivated,” said Erica Carson, of Toronto.
“I have a lot of blankets and a lot of clothes on,” Sloth said. “I decided that if I really need to pee, I need to pee in my pants… because when we’re in there, there’s no way out.”
“Adult diaper is on, good to go,” said Andre Avillanoza, of Patchogue. “It’s once in a lifetime. I don’t know if I’ll ever see the ball drop again.”
A lot of work goes into throwing the perfect party. Staff put the final touches on more than 32,000 energy efficient LED bulbs.
The ball is 12 feet in diameter and weighs almost 12,000 pounds. It features a palate of more than 16 million colors and billions of kaleidoscope-style patterns.
One ton of confetti will be thrown into the air during the celebration. Last year, the sanitation department said it cleaned up about 65 tons of debris.
Today’s mild weather means even more spectators are expected to attend than in years past.
The NYPD said its officers are prepared.
“Thousands of highly visible cops in subways and streets, heavy weapons teams from both the emergency service unit, critical response commands and the strategic response group. NYPD canines trained to detect the presence of explosive material will also out there,” Chief of Department Terence Monahan said Monday.
🚗🚗Thinking about driving into NYC tomorrow to see the ball drop? Don't. We are expecting heavy traffic in midtown due to street closures. Don’t spend #NewYearsEve looking for parking.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 30, 2019
Police are taking no chances and covering all the angles.
“We will be deploying many counterterrorism assets, as seen in years past, including explosive canine detection teams, radiation detection teams, bomb squads response teams, drone detection and interdiction teams, alongside our partners – the FBI – heavy weapons teams, plainclothes officers, counterterrorism boats will cover both the east and west Hudson Rivers, approximately 175 blocker vehicles,” said Assistant Chief Martine Materasso.
People will have to pass through screening checkpoints, and backpacks, large bags, umbrellas, folding chairs, alcohol, coolers and drones are not allowed.
Celebrating New Year’s in Times Square? There will be multiple screening points to enter.
You won’t be able to bring in certain items including:
🚫 Backpacks & Large Bags 🎒.
🚫 Alcohol or Coolers 🍻
🚯 You CANNOT discard property at the screening areas. pic.twitter.com/szCnKL3D2X
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 31, 2019
This year’s theme is the gift of goodwill.
“This crystal by Waterford has the symbol of the pineapple on it, which is of course the symbol of hospitality, and it’s a way of saying let’s all have good will towards each other, which we all need,” said Times Square Alliance President and Co-Producer of New Year’s Eve Tim Tompkins.
Organizers say this year’s ball drop is also meant to call attention to climate change. Two New York City public school science teachers have been selected to push the button that lowers the ball for the 62nd countdown.
MTA Service Changes:
- Full L service will run every 10 – 12 minutes until 1:30 AM.
- M service will run to 96 St/2 Av from 10 PM to 1:30 AM.
- Additional subway service in Midtown Manhattan runs every 8 – 12 minutes until 3 AM. Purchase your MetroCard in advance.
- There will be no trains stopping at 49 St N/Q/R/W station until 12:10 AM; full service thereafter.
- Uptown 1 trains will skip 50 St station until 12:10 AM; full service thereafter.
- Some entrances/exits at Times Sq-42 St, 42 St-Bryant Pk/5 Av, 7 Av, 59 St-Columbus Circle, and 57 St-7 Av station will be temporarily closed for crowd control.
- Click here to see the subway stations and bus routes in the area.
According to @NYCTSubway some entrances/exits at:
🚉Times Sq-42 Street
🚉42 Street – Bryant Park
🚉Bryant Park-5 Avenue
🚉7 Avenue – 53 Street
🚉59 Street – Columbus Circle
🚉57 Street – 7 Avenue
— NYPD Midtown North (@NYPDMTN) December 31, 2019
NYPD Street Closures:
- Times Square is closed to vehicle traffic, and drivers are urged to avoid cross-town streets from 33rd to 59th streets and 6th to 8th avenues.
Beginning at 4 AM on Tuesday, December 31, @TimesSquareNYC will be closed to vehicular traffic. Avoid all cross-town streets from 33rd to 59th Street, as well as 6th and 8th Avenue. New Yorkers are advised to use mass transit and allow for additional travel time. #BallDrop pic.twitter.com/cMi4jqIo5r
— NYPD Midtown North (@NYPDMTN) December 31, 2019