• Norma Salas

New Year's Eve in NYC

Hello Everyone! How are you? Me, I'm good and a little bit overwhelmed on how fast time is going and all things I still have to do, but I'm excited because love Holiday Season! I would definitely say that my fav part of the year is the last quarter just because is full of celebrations that fill me up with happiness. As we approach (or rush?) into Christmas and the end of another year, there’s something we all have to think of: NEW YEAR’S EVE!! This will be my second time spending NYE in The Netherlands but the first one here in Amsterdam which has me extra excited, besides celebrating with my boyfriend, one of my best friends is coming from Colombia! One of the best feelings when living abroad is the happiness and excitement when someone visits.

As you know I lived in NYC for a long time and as many of you might not know is I was a party queen (lol). I did not only like to party, but I was also a club promoter, so I know a lot about the nightlife scene (check out my old party Instagram @partylikenorms).

So, every year I get the same question and I’ve seen a lot of you wondering the same:

Where to spend NYE in NYC? And Times Square yes or no?

To be honest, I have never experienced the NYE ball drop live in Times Square! And although I’m a little curious about it, I don’t know if I would ever do it. So if you ask me if I recommend it, I would totally leave that up to you. My idea of a NYE is more like dressing up, going to a cool place, counting down at the screen and having a champagne toast! For what I’ve heard from my friend’s experiences spending the whole day waiting for the ball drop is miserable. You need to arrive to Times Square pretty early to save a good spot and actually see something and by early I mean 11 am so that’s basically more than 12 hours at the same place, because if you move you lose your spot! So that means no food and no toilet! You can always bring snacks, but for me no toilet is like suicide. As time goes by you can see artist rehearsals and there are entertainers and music to make the wait less painful, but still I want you to remember NYC is COLD! And God forbids snows or rain. So if what you really want is to experience this one in a life time experience I can’t help you further SORRY! (Although I might have an interesting alternative for you, just need to read until the end), but if you are just like me and you are looking into an event to attend, get that outfit ready and keep on reading!

Now, let’s talk about P-A-R-T-Y! Here’s how it works: for any NYE party in NYC you have to buy your ticket in advance, there are NO tickets for sale at the door. The price of the tickets goes up as time gets closer (Buy now!). First thing to consider is that you gotta be 21+ with some few exceptions, there can be family parties usually held at restaurants or any other family friendly location like a movie theater, in that case you will get an underage bracelet with which you won’t be allowed to drink. There’s a strong ID control so you better not want to try your luck if you know what I mean. Speaking of alcohol, every place offers a happy hour which can vary from 4-6 hours.

A lot of you might be already thinking going to the hottest club in town, which is totally acceptable, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Let me tell you why, as It Is the hottest club in town first of all it will be super expensive (If you have money and no care how much it cost go ahead! buy here) and second, it is the busiest day of the year! So, you don’t want to imagine the amount of people that will be there, and not only that, but what it actually represents and well you know time is money.

Let me get into more details and comparisons, to help you choose better which place to go and which kind of ticket to buy.

As I said, I wouldn't go to a top club (1OAK, TAO, PHD, LAVO, Marquee, Up & Down) although I love them and I love attending regular nights NYE is not one of them, once again unless you have the money to comfortably spend the night well. I would definitely go for a party specially organized for NYE as it could be at certain hotels, restaurants, party venues or even a yacht party. Its a more intimate party, not so overwhelmed and much more enjoyable.

Another thing to consider is the kind of ticket to buy. Every place offers different kinds of ticket: Standard, VIP, Table packages and after 1 am access. So YES if you want to go see the ball drop and then go party this is also possible and cheaper (Although you might not be able to enjoy the happy hour). No matter which kind of ticket you get, you will always get the happy hour, a glass of champagne for the midnight toast and festive party favors. Not all places have the live countdown from Times SQ, some of them can have screens where they broadcast but some other don’t and they just make their own countdown.

Please note that most of Standard tickets do not include a seat. In order to get a seat, you must book a table which is a package for a group of people. Some places have this tables starting from 2 to 8 or more people. If you are going in a group I highly recommend this option. These packages besides giving you a table, they also give you a bottle of vodka plus champagne (again, it all depends on the place you choose, the package you choose and the amount of people). It would be a better value if you go with a big group than if you only go as a couple. Besides if you go with a big group you get the table for your own otherwise you would have to share table with some other people. The cool thing about this, is that besides the bottle service you can still enjoy the happy hour. So, if your idea is to get drunk AF I would definitely recommend this. If you dont have table package but only the happy hour, I must warn you that getting one drink can take you about 1 hour, and bartenders usually give 1 or 2 drinks only per person. If any case I would recommend getting the VIP ticket since at some places they offer a special VIP bar less crowded.

One advice I can give you is to arrive early! Doors open usually between 7 and 9 pm depending on the place and this is something you need to take into consideration if you want to take the most of the happy hour specially If you decided to go for the standard ticket. Some places start the happy hour the same time they open doors, and some others start it an hour later. Happy hours can last from 4 to 6 hours depending each place. I would totally recommend getting to the place as soon as the doors open and not only to start drinking but also because the door gets CRAZY! So its better to be there on time to be one of the first to get in and save all the struggle because It can easily take you 1-2 hours outside to get it and that is already 1 or 2 hours less of happy hour (you see what I mean?). As I mentioned before time is money, so if you want to arrive not too early and save all the struggle of the line, get the VIP ticket which comes with a skip the line and cost about 20-30 dlls more but it’s definitely worth it.

Now, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money or if you want to go to the madness in Times Sq but still want to party there is always the after 12 or 1 am ticket. Which means you have access to the venue after midnight, but you must consider that most of happy hours end at 1 or 2 am, so If you are choosing this option make sure to choose a place that ends happy hour at 2 am so at least you get a couple of drinks, and probably would be smart to choose a place close to the Times Sq area, so commute won’t be a problem.

And, if you really want to go to Times Sq and you don’t want to spend the whole day standing in the cold holding your pee, there’s a trick you can do. Attention: This is only if you don’t mind spending money and you don’t care about the party. As you may know, NYPD blocks the area and don’t let anyone get in, BUT if you have a ticket that shows you are going to a party in that area, well… they let you in! So you just need to make sure to be there not too early but not too late, the last access I believe is 11.30 pm but again, this is risky because it might or might not work that you can make it to mix in the crowd and stay there, this all depends on your abilities and how good you are to sneak in lol. And again, it is not guarantee that you can still join the party because at some point they don’t let anyone else go in even if you have a valid ticket (unless your ticket is after 12am but then you cant access the times sq area until 12.15 am).

And well, if you want the best of both worlds: party and the live ball drop, here’s an option. This is a party organized by the agency I used to work for: Royale Marketing and this year they came up with a great option to have the best NYE and with an affordable price (Note that most parties that have live views of the ball drop have prices as high as 600- 800 usd or more!)

Check it out here and buy your tickets before the price go up of they sell out.

Here are some other good options from them (click on image to see more details)

And if still what you want is a hot club, a cruise, a family friendly event or just other options you can go here: http://joonbug.com/newyork/newyearseve

In 2015 for 2016 which was my last NYE there, I got together with a group of friends and we had our own table, we got 2 bottles of vodka and one bottle champagne and we manage to get a decent amount of drinks out of the happy hour. We loved the location as it was an old beautiful and big building (Gotham Hall) so it was not packed as a club would be, the music was great, and everything was well organized.

I hope you have found this helpful, and as always if you have any doubt, question you can always contact me directly on my insta, email or here!

Let me know your plans and make me jealous with your pictures! I miss NY so much!

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