It’s New Year’s Eve, and the organizers and sponsors of the bash in Times Square want you to pucker up.
Apparently, 2011 is the year of love. This year’s celebration will include a “Kiss Platform” where two long-distance couples will be reunited and 30,000 revelers will receive samples of lip balm, courtesy of Nivea, one of the sponsors of the event, in preparation for smooching at midnight. Even the 12-foot wide, 11,875 pound geodesic sphere that an estimated one billion people will watch is themed “Let There Be Love.” Waterford Crystal has added 288 new triangles etched with “a romantic pattern” that will join the 2,688 crystals covering 32,256 digitally controlled Philips Luxeon L.E.D.’s, which use about as much energy per hour as two traditional home ovens.
And by the time it’s all over, the 453 bulbs that light the seven-foot-tall “2011″ sign and the tons of confetti fall into the slush, one couple will have been pronounced man and wife.
Two Marine Corps reservists, Bethany Phillips and Geoffrey Dubie, who met in Iraq and were engaged on a Bahamian beach, were selected in Get Married Media’s “Get Married in Times Square contest” to be the first couple in the celebration’s 106-year history to recite their vows in front of the throngs of revelers in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and one of his daughters will be there, as will aging performers from the 1980s like Rick Springfield, Backstreet Boys and NKOTB, with a special performance by the English singer Taio Cruz, who will sing “Falling In Love” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Snooki, from MTV’s reality series “Jersey Shore,” will not be there, however. Here is the complete schedule of the evening’s events.
The festivities will begin at 4 p.m. under partly cloudy skies with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark.
Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, which produces the event with Countdown Entertainment, estimated the organizers lost about a day due to the blizzard. But with the help of shovels, plows, industrial special snow melting machines and 500,000 pairs of feet trudging through the area, very little white will be left.
“The show must go on and the snow must be gone,” he said.
Where to Watch
Last year’s live Webcast was seen by hundreds of thousands of viewers in 196 countries worldwide, though many reported sluggish service, undoubtedly due to overtaxed networks. You can watch the stream, beginning at 5:50 p.m. Friday and ending after midnight, on TimesSquareNYC.org; Livestream.com/2011, TimesSquareBall.net, or below:
Revelers on the go can download the first official Times Square Ball App and watch on-demand videos at a comfortable arms-length distance from their mobile device, which is available for Android and Apple users free on iTunes. Mobile networks permitting, users with the application will be able to watch the entire six-and-a-half-hour sequence of events and post photos of their own celebrations, a selection of which will be projected on the “Toshiba Vision” sign below the Times Square Ball.
At a news conference on Thursday morning, Mayor Bloomberg outlined the basic rules.
“No backpacks, no alcohol, you’ve got to behave,” he said. “The kinds of things you would expect. Every year we have a great celebration and I think this will be another one.”
Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, who was also at the news conference, added that, “we have no specific threats against the city on New Year’s Eve. Any time large numbers of people come together, we put in our counterterrorism overlay.”
Asked if the police would do anything differently because of recent cases of package bombs emanating from overseas, Mr. Kelly said, “We always do things a little bit differently, we don’t want to get stuck in a rut, so some of our deployments will change. We have a lot of detection equipment that we deploy. We have blocker cars; over sixty blocker cars that will be in place; our helicopters. There’s thirty-three dinner cruises on the river. We police those. There’s a lot of activity going on. We have a lot of experience in dealing with it. And, again, I think it will be a safe and happy event.”
Mr. Kelly said the department was sensitive to any signs of a dirty bomb or radiation.
“We have several thousand radiation detectors that are deployed with our officers,” he said. “We have large radiation detection equipment that we deploy on vehicles. We actually have it on all our harbor launches in the water, so we’re certainly very sensitive to that issue.”
The New York Police Department will begin restricting access to streets in and around Times Square about 2:30 p.m. Seventh Avenue, from 41st to 59th Streets, Broadway, from 47th to 59th Streets and 43rd to 47th Streets, from Sixth to Eighth Avenue, will all be closed to traffic.
When Times Square closes to vehicle traffic at 3:00 p.m., revelers can begin to fill up the viewing sections along Broadway and Seventh Avenue, moving northward from 43rd Street to Central Park, as designated by Police Officers.
Beginning at 5 p.m. 42nd Street from 6th to Eighth Avenues will be closed to traffic.
Moving across town between 42nd and 59th Streets will be difficult after 6 p.m. You won’t be allowed to cross Broadway or Seventh Avenue once the streets have been closed. If your destination is east of Broadway/Seventh Avenue, you must enter at Sixth Avenue. If your destination is west of Broadway/Seventh Avenue, you must enter at Eighth Avenue.
Visitors are encouraged to walk or take the subway to 42nd Street. Note that only the Sixth and Eighth Avenue exits will be open after 7 p.m. The southbound and northbound N/R lines will skip the 49th Street station beginning at 7 p.m., until after midnight, and the northbound No. 1 train will skip the 50th Street station during the same period.
Once you get out of the subway, police officers will direct you to viewing sections marked off with barricades that are first-come-first-served.
The official rules state:
- Backpacks and large bags prohibited
- Alcoholic beverages prohibited
- Property may not be abandoned at checkpoints
- Attendees who leave before the ball drops will not be able to gain entry to their original viewing area
The organizers, the mayor and the police department are planning on another success this year.
The goal, Mr. Tompkins said, is to “break through that lovable but persistent cynicism of New Yorkers and to ask: What are we hopeful about and what are we celebrating?”
“It’s a determination to celebrate despite the trials and tribulations and traumas of life,” he added.
Al Baker contributed reporting.
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