1) It’s free to get in, but if you want to be in Times Square you need to plan to get their early.
Like 2pm early. The type of weather dictates how big the crowds are and how close you’ll be to the stage area. I recommend entering from 6th Street and start trying to get into Times Square at the police barricades at 45thand work your way towards Central Park (46, 47, 48, 49, etc.) if the officers are saying that the blocks are already full at 45th. The front of the stage faces 45th and 46th, so know if you’re at 47th you’ll be looking at the back of the stage the entire time.
2) If you leave (to go to the bathroom, get food, to buy a blanket or rain coat etc.) you cannot come back into where you left. You’ll only be able to come in to where the police barricade is currently open and letting people in.
HOWEVER, if the weather is bad and people are leaving early, you’ll be able to get back into the blocked of areas much closer to the stage area as there will be open areas closer.
If it is raining, like it was when we went, don’t go early. Stay in your hotel or explore NYC until 9 or 10 pm and then go to enter into Times Square. You’ll be pretty close to the stage, you’ll avoid standing in the pouring rain for 9 to 10 hours and only have to suffer through 2 – 3 hours in the rain. Be smart. If the weather sucks you can still enjoy the magic of a Times Square New Year’s Eve without a lot of the pain.
3) There are no public bathrooms. And, as I said above, there is no free pass to leave to use a restroom and come back to where you were standing.
We spoke to an officer during our hours long camp-out and learned that many people wear diapers, bring water bottles or go-girls to pee in, or form a circle around the people they’re with to let them relive themselves. The officer said that the sanitary clean-up shift after NYE is disssgusting because of the human waste that litters the ground.
We knew this was a thing and were VERY careful with our water consumption. I over-hydrated the day before in anticipation of my intentional dehydration the next day. The day of we slept in until 8/9am and had a late breakfast, drinking 8-12OZ (about ¼ of what I usually have in the morning)
4) Most of the New Year’s Rockin Eve Celebration happens on stages located around the US – NOT in times square.
This means that much of the time, you’ll be standing there in silence. I was STOAKED to hear Any Grammar perform live. However, he was booked to play on the LA stage, not the Times Square stage. Know that there will be long stretches of time without entertainment even once you hit the 6pm program start time. I expected these performances to make the wait for midnight more bearable with the live distraction… but that was not the case AT ALL. So bring your own entertainment or go with people who will make the hangout fun. Thank goodness for Jaron and my family as they made the wait a good time.
5) The New Year’s Rockin Eve Celebration is not shown on the various screens around Times Square.
The large screens in Times Square are privately owned and so, they don’t show the New Year’s Eve celebration… rather they play their adds on repeat. I will have the cover girl add burned into my memory for the rest of eternity. If you expect the celebration to be played for you, don’t. If you don’t have a view of the stage, then plan on playing it on your phone as the couple in front of us did.
6) Water resistant is not the same as water proof. Pay close attention to the weather and dress accordingly.
If it’s going to be raining, while it won’t be as cold, it will be WET – so make sure your clothes are water proof. We learned that the hard way and were completely soaked by the end of the night.
If it’s going to be snowing dress in layers and make sure your clothes can withstand the snow if it turns to sleet.
If it’s going to be below freezing, bring a layer you can add on top of what you’re wearing to stay warm, so that you don’t have to get colder to get warm.
You cannot bring in large bags, but you can carry in a blanket or extra jacket. We got away with bring in a draw string bag which we had an extra jacket in along with some hand and foot warmers.