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New Year’s Eve in New York City: 5 Fabulous Ways to Ring in 2020

Category General

|by Mark Robinson |

Here’s how to conquer the Big Apple this NYE

As the classic 1947 Frank Loesser song queries, “What are you doing New Year’s Eve?” In New York City, the wrap-up of each 365-day revolution around the sun is one big party, with a variety of options to help answer that question. There is something for everyone, from the joyous partier to the reflective introvert, so get ready to welcome 2020 with one of these exciting possibilities.

New York City is the place to be on New Year’s Eve (Photo: iStock)

New York City is the place to be on New Year’s Eve (Photo: iStock)

New Year’s Eve Cruises
New Year’s Eve in the Big Apple suffers from no shortage of ways to ring in the new on the water. A glorious way to welcome-in 2020, with a variety of lengths and prices, there are options for a waterways of New York New Year’s cruise that will suit most any budget. The New Year’s Eve Cruise from Circle Line Sightseeing offers food, drink and dancing as you say goodbye to 2019 in style. Hornblower Cruises & Events offers some upscale choices for maritime New Year’s fun. Choose from the Nautical New Year’s Eve Gala Cruise, The Captain’s New Year‘s Eve Gala Cruise, and The Admiral’s New Year’s Eve Gala Cruise, each with a distinct approach to “hailing the new” from New York Harbor.

NYC Winter Lantern Festival (Snug Harbor)
A short trip to Staten Island’s Snug Harbor will find you in the enchanting world of the NYC Winter Lantern Festival, a magical display that will bring light and color into your New Year. Prepare to be dazzled by a 1,000 lanterns in all shapes and sizes, many designed in the forms of flora and fauna from around the world. Hosted at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, this festival features live cultural shows and interactive exhibits guaranteed to delight the entire family. A stunning tribute to Asian cultures, there will be folk dance, music, food and handcrafted art. The festival, which is open on New Year’s Eve and Day, runs through Jan. 12, 2020. Do not miss this-one-of-a-kind experience.

Times Square
For the adventurous New Year’s Eve partier, joining the throngs in Times Square to watch the ball drop is about the most-iconic way to welcome 2020. Those who brave this massive party will enjoy the lights of Broadway and the myriad flashing signs of retailers in Manhattan’s most famous crossroads. As midnight approaches, feel the revelry intensify as that glowing crystal orb descends during the final countdown. Music, celebrities and a nonpareil energy are on display all over the neighborhood as an estimated one million people gather to celebrate in unison. There is nothing quite like it. 

Central Park, New York Harbor and Grand Army Plaza (Brooklyn) will all be setting the skies ablaze as Father Time passes the 2019 mantel to 2020. It’s all about the fireworks on the eve of Dec. 31 as the minute hands sweeps into place, securing both midnight and the New Year. In New York Harbor, see the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge serve as backdrops for a stunning display. Central Park offers food and drink vendors operating well into the wee hours as part of the revelry. At Grand Army Plaza, free hot chocolate is served. Each firework show commences at midnight.

New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at Saint John the Divine
For those who prefer to take a more pensive, relaxed and inspirational approach to their New Year’s Eve celebrating, the New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at Saint John the Divine (1047 Amsterdam Avenue) offers just the right experience. The annual concert, founded by Leonard Bernstein in 1984, is a varied program of music, performed in the nave of Saint John the Divine (the largest cathedral in the world). The concert begins at 7 p.m., and best of all, the event is free to the public (though reserved seats are available for $100.) This year’s concert will feature special guests Paul Winter, Jamet Pittman, Jason Robert Brown and David Briggs, and will be hosted by Harry Smith.

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. His latest book, Sitcommentary: The Television Comedies That Changed America, was released on Oct. 15. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at

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