Over the years high-profile people, such as Lady Gaga and the Clintons, have joined New York City’s Mayor on Times Square for one of the largest New Year’s celebrations in the nation.
This year, co-founder of Global Citizen Hugh Evans, 32, is scheduled to join Mayor Bill de Blasio, to carry out a tradition that has spanned several decades — at 11.59 pm they will push the large orb-like Waterford Crystal button that starts the 60-second descent of the New Year’s Eve Ball.
The non-profit Times Square Alliance organizes the event each year along with Countdown Entertainment. Times Square Alliance President, Tim Tompkins, said partnering with Global Citizen to support the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development is a perfect way to start the New Year.
“We hope that people worldwide will make one of their New Year’s resolutions to support those goals and, in the process, to wish for a better world,” he said in a statement.
— Hugh Evans (@Hughcevans) December 28, 2015
Last year, representatives from the International Rescue Committee joined de Blasio in pushing the button during his first New Year as mayor on January 1, 2014.
The previous year Mayor Michael Bloomberg skipped the event for the first time in his 12-year tenure to spend time with his family and friends. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was left to preside over the ball drop.
Bloomberg’s absence followed an interesting incident after the ball drop that welcomed January 1, 2012. Bloomberg was teamed up with Lady Gaga for the button pushing. And at the strike of midnight Lady Gaga unexpectedly kissed Bloomberg on the lips.
The kiss was televised and photographed by major media. My bet is that the incident did not go over well with Bloomberg’s long-term companion, the glamorous investment banker, Diana Taylor.
Security is sure to be heightened this year on Times Square following the Paris attacks in November, and the killings in San Bernardino this month.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the NYPD’s new counterterrorism unit, called the Critical Response Command, will likely have a large presence, and will be equipped with long range weapons and heavy vests.
More than 1 million people attend the event each year, and billions more watch the event on television. Many revelers arrive early in the afternoon to secure a spot, despite the fact that no bathrooms are supplied for the event.
Entrance to Times Square will be closely monitored, and everyone who enters the party area will be searched at the gates. Alcohol will be confiscated as it is illegal to drink in public places in New York City.
Parties around Times Square
The official Times Square New Year’s Eve party is held at the Hard Rock Cafe New York. Entry is pricey, and limited to 800 patrons. Other venues around Times Square are selling tickets to their own parties. The Counter NYC, which is “the closest venue to the live ball drop,” is hosting a party that starts at 8 pm with an open bar, and a cover charge starting at $449.
The events on Times Square will be broadcast live through TimesSquareNYC.org, NewYearsEve.nyc, Livestream.com/2016, and TimesSquareBall.net starting at 6pm with the ball raising. The broadcast will include live musical performances, interviews, and hourly countdowns. Grammy Award nominee Jessie J will be the headline act this year.
Last year’s webcast was watched by more than 1.7 million unique viewers from almost 200 countries, according to the event’s official website.