How to See the Ball Drop Without Standing in Times Square

Hey there! It’s been a while since I’ve actually posted but I can’t wait to talk about my weekend in New York to watch the ball drop! My sister and I came into Manhattan from New Jersey on December 30th and we had a room at the Riu Plaza Times Square. If you’re looking for a hotel near Times Square, this one is a great choice. Literally a block away, next to an outdoor shopping market, and across the street from Pret A Manger.

Anyway, as this was my sister’s birthday/Christmas present from me, we went out for a nice dinner to celebrate and checked out Times Square on the way to The View restaurant, at the top of the New York Marriott Marquis. It was pretty interesting to see how Times Square was already set up – the stages were there and the fencing blocking out the space for the following night.

The View is a rotating restaurant that’ll give you a 360 degree view of Manhattan and the surrounding area. Due to how high up it is and the other buildings in Times Square, you can’t see the ball drop from where you are, so don’t think you can sneak up there to watch on New Year’s Eve. The food was fabulous but make sure you know that this isn’t a budget-friendly trip, and if you get motion sick I’d recommend taking a dramamine beforehand. Even though the restaurant rotates really slowly you can still feel it moving, so just an FYI!

On December 31st my sister and went over to Times Square again around noon to check out the situation – were we really going to stand in a crowd for twelve hours without any toilet or food? I’d been doing research all year on how to make this as little horrible as possible and we came prepared with a bag of snacks and high willpower. Well, at noon the streets into Times Square were still open but the crowd was already filling up big-time and our confidence immediately plummeted. So were we really going to do this? Heck no.

We decided to find some lunch and go back at 3PM, so we walked around Central Park for a bit, grabbed our snacks, got fueled up and used the bathroom. By 3PM, however, we couldn’t even get into Times Square again. We stood in a huge crowd where security was examining each person one by one to let them in. Before we could pass, they blocked entry for anybody else into that area, stating that it was full and we had to go up 10 blocks and then come back into Times Square from the north. Ugh!

So, we decided to just screw it and check back in around 9PM – I had read that a lot of people tend to get fed up and you might be able to grab someone’s spot.

So we grabbed an early dinner at Black Tap, a gourmet burger and freakshake bar in Soho. Omgggg. We had to actually wait in line here for about 45 minutes before we got in, but it was worth it. The Greg Norman burger was one of the best I’ve ever had in my life, and even though I’m not a milkshake person (bad food poisoning a few years ago), the Brooklyn Blackout shake was to die for. It’s a can’t miss spot in the city!

After dinner we made our way back up near Times Square to see the legendary Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, all lit up with people skating in the rink underneath.

We decided to try and brave Times Square again, but it was just so nuts! We didn’t want to go back up to Central Park and walk around since our hotel was on the other side, so we had to almost beg police officers to let us through. There were organized crowds lined up along Broadway that they were slowly letting into Times Square little by little, and when they’d open the fencing people flew through like waves – it was totally crazy.

Eventually we made our way back to our hotel and watched some of a Harry Potter marathon. I had noticed earlier in the day that around the corner from our building we could see the pole that the ball was on between two other buildings and just the top half of the screen. So, at about 10:30, my sister and I went back down to find the spot and we had a near-perfect view of the ball! Some other people had the same idea as us but we were some of the first ones out there and the crowd never got too big. So, in the end, we got to see the ball drop without having to stand in the crowd or watch Mariah Carey’s disastrous performance! And we were back in bed in two minutes 🙂

So that’s my advice of how to just about see the ball drop! This is a great way to do it and I feel satisfied to safely check it off the bucket list. Would it have been worth standing in the cold with a diaper on for 12 hours for the real deal? No way!


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