Times Square New Year's Eve Ball Drop: What to Know If You're Attending or Watching on TV

From "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" show with Ryan Seacrest to the moment the ball drops, here's what to expect in Times Square, New York City on New Year's Eve.

New York City, Times Square, New Year's Eve Celebration
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Crowds have celebrated New Year's Eve in New York City's Times Square for more than 100 years, but 1907 marks the first year they watched as a ball dropped. Back then, the ball was constructed from iron and wood, decked with 100 light bulbs. It was five feet wide and weighed a whopping 700 pounds. The ball that will drop as 2018 comes to a close was designed by Waterford Crystal and Philips Lighting in 2007, to honor the 100th anniversary of the tradition. This version is a heck of a lot more robust than its founding predecessor, spanning 12 feet in width and weighing close to six tons. The ball is exceptionally bright thanks to the 32,256 Philips Luxeon LED bulbs which illuminate the 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles. It's marvelous.

New York City, Times Square, New Year's Eve Ball
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While anyone can revel in the New Year's Eve ball year-round when it hangs above Times Square for public viewing, the true magic can only be seen once a year, when it descends 141 feet down a flagpole in 60 seconds. Once it stops, a sparkling new year is upon us.

What time should you arrive to see the ball drop in Times Square?

Even though the ball won't drop until midnight, to see it all go down in the flesh and not just on TV watching "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" show, you'll have to make New Year's Eve a full-day affair. According to the official website of Times Square, viewing areas can begin to fill up in the early afternoon. The site recommends you snag your spot as early as possible, as an estimated one million people will gather in Times Square on Dec. 31, all for the same reason. This means you could be waiting more than 10 hours to witness the New Year's extravaganza. The event hosts a designated viewing spot for people with disabilities at 44th Street and Broadway, which can be accessed at that intersection. The website suggests arriving early, as the space fills up fast.

New York City, Times Square, New Year's Eve at Midnight

Which streets in Times Square will be closed on New Year's Eve?

Several streets will be closed on the last day of 2018 to make room for spectators. The New York Police Department will shut down the surrounding areas starting at 38th Street and Broadway, and will continue to close off streets going north as more people arrive. According to TimesSquare.org, vehicles will be prohibited from accessing Broadway or Seventh Avenue around 3 p.m. Hopefully you're not planning to drive: Cars may have trouble accessing roads from 42nd Street all the way up to 59th Street. The site recommends entering the viewing area, which starts at 43rd Street and moves north, from Sixth or Eighth Avenue. The viewing area starts at 43rd Street and moves north.

What time does 'Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve' start?

Ryan Seacrest will be hosting the event for his 13th year, and Jenny McCarthy will be reporting from Times Square, Billboard reported. "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" start at 8 p.m., going through midnight.

Who’s performing on 'Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve' this year?

This year's show will be studded with plenty of star entertainment, including performances from Christina Aguilera, Bastille, New Kids on the Block, and Dan + Shay. Ciara is hosting the West Coast show in Los Angeles, where she'll also perform, People reported. The L.A. stage will also be graced by Kelsea Ballerini, The Chainsmokers, Foster the People, Dua Lipa, Ella Mai, Charlie Puth, Macklemore, Camila Cabello, Halsey, and a collaboration from Lauren Alaina and Kane Brown.

If you were dreaming of another Mariah Carey appearance, dream on. The singer will be spending the holiday at Nikki Beach in St. Bart's with her family, not on stage in an effort to prove her vocal chops. Even though Christmas is over, we permit you the right to continue listening to her quintessential ballad on repeat.

New York City, Times Square, New Year's Eve, Confetti
Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

What should you bring (or not bring) to Times Square on New Year’s Eve?

The event in Times Square is free, so you won't need to remember your ticket. But there are plenty of items you should plan to bring, including plenty of layers, comfy clothes, and water. Despite New Year's traditions, alcohol is prohibited, as are large bags and umbrellas (let's pray for dry skies). You should know that all bags will be searched. You'll likely be on your feet for hours, so think comfort rather than style when it comes to your footwear. Importantly, you won't have great access to restrooms throughout the day, as the event does not supply portable restrooms. To keep this dream day from being a nightmare, find relief at the public toilets in Port Authority Terminal before you secure your viewing spot.

Which Times Square hotels have views of the ball drop?

If you'd prefer to watch the whole shebang from a hotel rather than the streets, we salute you. Plenty of Times Square hotels offer views of the ball drop, including the Marriott's Residence Inn, the Casablanca Hotel, the Knickerbocker Hotel, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton, and the Crowne Plaza. These prime spots will book up fast, so be sure to reserve your room as soon as you can.

How can I watch the ball drop on TV?

Watching the ball drop IRL is understandably a bucket list item for lots of folks. But if you'd rather enter 2019 without massive crowds and unpredictable weather, you can still tune in for the ball drop from the comfort of your own sofa. "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" airs live on ABC starting at 8 p.m. EST. Wherever you end up celebrating, we wish you a very happy New Year.

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