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New Year’s Eve in New York 2014 Last Minute Plans

TimesSquareonNewYearsEveA list of shows, parties, concerts, intimate dinners, cruises and outdoor events you can still do on New Year’s Eve 2014 in New York City.

More than a billion people watch the ball drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, which is another way of saying that much of the world celebrates by watching TV.But more than a million souls are standing in the streets of New York City’s theater district.  I used to think the New Year wouldn’t arrive unless I was there to watch it. One New Year’s Eve, I was actually invited to the roof of the tower, and even got one of the light bulbs that made up the ball. I still have that bulb; here’s a picture of it:

NewYearsEvelightbulb

Special, right?

Times have changed. The ball this year, we’re told, is made up of 2,688 Waterford crystal panels and, instead of being lowered by hand, they now use electricity. However, the electricity this year will be supplied by six volunteers pedaling Citi bikes. Only in New York.

This year, Justice Sonia Sotomayor will serve as the “special guest” to drop the New Year’s Eve ball at midnight.

2014 New Year's Eve Waterford Crystal Installation

Most people celebrate at home or at the home of a friend or family member, according to a survey by the AP. Only eight percent say they plan to go out.

“It’s so much more fun to stay home,” Anderson Cooper, the New Year’s Eve host on CNN, said recently. “I don’t know anybody who has a fun time at a party at New Year’s Eve. That’s why I work on New Year’s Eve.”

For the eight percent who haven’t made plans yet, here are some ideas:

TIMES SQUARE

The New Year’s Eve tradition in Times Square began in 1904 with a rooftop celebration to greet the New Year. Three years later, they started lowering a ball.

From the  the organizers comes this overview of New Year’s Eve in Times Square, so you know what is in store for you if you decide to stand at the Crossroads of the World for New Year’s Eve

3 p.m. Revelers start arriving late in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve. By approximately 3:00 PM., the Bowtie of Times Square (42nd to 47th Sts. between Broadway & 7th Ave.) is fully closed to traffic.

6:00 PM to 6:03 PM
 Lighting and Raising the Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball

6:03 PM to 6:13 PM 
Opening Ceremonies – Chinese Cultural Performance, Panda Dance

6:20 p.m. Times Square 2013 Hats, Balloons and Scarves
The Times Square Alliance sanitation crew clad in bright red uniforms begins to distribute tens of thousands of fun handouts to the Times Square revelers

The schedule goes on like this in ten-minute increments and includes Countdowns by hosts including Anderson Cooper, performances by Miley Cyrus, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Blondie, Icona Pop, Jencarlos Canela, El Dasa and Rodney AtkinsMelissa Etheridge sings both Uprising of Love and John Lennon’s Imagine. There is also a trailer of The Amazing Spider-Man 2™, featuring Times Square footage.

11:15 PM to 11:18 PM
 The Associated Press Presents 2013 News Reel Highlights

11:59 The Sixty-Second Countdown

DINING OUT ON NEW YEAR’S EVE

Open Table lists 497 restaurants in Manhattan alone with “New Year’s Eve offers” Most of them offer a choice of seatings – either earlier in the evening, so that you can make it in time elsewhere for the stroke of midnight, or party-hat-equipped seatings that lead up to midnight, where you can often turn on a TV so that you can watch the ball drop in Times Square. Open Table enables you to look for one in your neighborhood.

 THEATER ON NEW YEAR’S WEEK

Only eight of the 32 shows currently on Broadway will be offering performances on New Year’s Eve — and seven of those eight will be matinees. (The lone show at night is Macbeth, which is at Lincoln Center and thus away from the madness that is Times Square and the theater district on New Year’s Eve.)

But, as you can see in the schedule below, almost every show has performances on Monday (a day when almost all shows are usually dark), and 11 have added matinees on Monday. There are also shows on New Year’s Day, and a heavy schedule for the rest of the week.

Keep in mind it will be the last chance to see several of these shows.  Forthcoming closings:

Closing 1/2/2014: 700 Sundays

Closing 1/4: Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark

Closing 1/5: Annie; First Date;

Closing 2/16: Twelfth Night, Richard III

Closing 2/23: The Glass Menagerie

 

Monday

Tuesday

Show Running Time Theatre

12/30

12/31

After Midnight 90min Brooks Atkinson

2:00 & 7:30

Annie 2h 15min Palace

2:00

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical 2h 15min Stephen Sondheim

8:00

Betrayal 90min Barrymore

8:00

2:00

Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays 2h 15min Imperial

7:00

The Book of Mormon 2h 30min Eugene O’Neill

7:00

2:00

Chicago 2h 30min Ambassador

2:30 & 8:00

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella 2h 20min Broadway

1:30 & 7:00

First Date 90min Longacre

7:00

2:00

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder 2h 20min Walter Kerr

7:00

2:00

The Glass Menagerie 2h 15min Booth

8:00

Jersey Boys 2h 30min August Wilson

7:00

2:00

Kinky Boots 2h 25min Hirschfeld

8:00

The Lion King 2h 30min Minskoff

7:00

Macbeth 2h 45min Vivian Beaumont

7:00

Mamma Mia! 2h 30min Broadhurst

8:00

Matilda The Musical 2h 40min Shubert

2:00 & 8:00

2:00

Motown the Musical 2h 45min Lunt-Fontanne

2:00 & 7:30

Newsies 2h 15min Nederlander

7:30

2:00

A Night with Janis Joplin 2h 15min Lyceum

2:00 & 7:00

No Man’s Land 2h 0min Cort
Once 2h 30min Jacobs

7:00

Outside Mullingar Samuel J. Friedman
The Phantom of the Opera 2h 30min Majestic

2:00 & 8:00

Pippin 2h 35min Music Box

2:30 & 8:00

Richard III 2h 50min Belasco
Rock of Ages 2h 15min Helen Hayes

8:00

Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark 2h 45min Foxwoods

2:00 & 8:00

Twelfth Night 3h 0min Belasco

7:00

Waiting for Godot 2h 15min Cort

7:00

Wicked 2h 45min Gershwin

2:00 & 8:00

 

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Show Running Time Theatre

01/01

01/02

01/03

01/04

01/05

After Midnight 90min Brooks Atkinson

7:30

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

Annie 2h 15min Palace

2:00

6:30

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

1:00 & 6:30

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical 2h 15min Stephen Sondheim

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

Betrayal 90min Barrymore

2:00 & 8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 7:00

Billy Crystal: 700 Sundays 2h 15min Imperial

7:00

8:00

3:00

3:00

The Book of Mormon 2h 30min Eugene O’Neill

7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 7:00

Chicago 2h 30min Ambassador

8:00

8:00

8:00

2:30 & 8:00

7:00

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella 2h 20min Broadway

3:00

7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

First Date 90min Longacre

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder 2h 20min Walter Kerr

7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

The Glass Menagerie 2h 15min Booth

7:00

2:00 & 7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

Jersey Boys 2h 30min August Wilson

7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 7:00

Kinky Boots 2h 25min Hirschfeld

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

The Lion King 2h 30min Minskoff

2:00 & 8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

1:00 & 6:30

Macbeth 2h 45min Vivian Beaumont

2:00 & 8:00

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

Mamma Mia! 2h 30min Broadhurst

8:00

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

7:00

Matilda The Musical 2h 40min Shubert

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

Motown the Musical 2h 45min Lunt-Fontanne

7:30

7:30

7:30

2:00 & 7:30

3:00

Newsies 2h 15min Nederlander

7:30

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

A Night with Janis Joplin 2h 15min Lyceum

7:00

7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

No Man’s Land 2h 0min Cort

8:00

8:00

2:00

Once 2h 30min Jacobs

8:00

7:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 8:00

Outside Mullingar Samuel J. Friedman

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 7:00

The Phantom of the Opera 2h 30min Majestic

8:00

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

Pippin 2h 35min Music Box

8:00

8:00

8:00

2:30 & 8:00

3:00

Richard III 2h 50min Belasco

8:00

2:00

Rock of Ages 2h 15min Helen Hayes

8:00

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00 & 7:30

Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark 2h 45min Foxwoods

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

2:00 & 8:00

Twelfth Night 3h 0min Belasco

7:00

2:00

8:00

8:00

3:00

Waiting for Godot 2h 15min Cort

8:00

2:00

8:00

3:00

Wicked 2h 45min Gershwin

7:00

8:00

8:00

2:00 & 8:00

3:00

I focus on Broadway because it’s the easiest to present — the schedule is put together by the Broadway League.

However, there are plenty of shows Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway with performances on New Year’s Eve, and certainly during the week. Some examples:

Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 — which to my mind is the perfect theater piece to see on New Year’s Eve (the only disadvantage being that it is located in the theater district.) On many top ten lists, including my own. My review (when it was in a different venue)

Buyer & Cellar — on many top ten lists, and it’s in the Village, so you avoid the crowds. My review (when it was in a different theater)

What’s It All About: Bacharach Reconsidered, at New York Theatre Workshop

(A show that is sold out for New Year’s Eve and for most of its run, but is unique enough to be worth a mention: Queen of the Night, loosely based on Mozart’s “Magic Flute,”  will open New Year’s Eve for six weeks in the Diamond Horseshoe, a new theater created by Randy Weiner (who put together the immersive Macbeth “Sleep No More”) in the basement of the Paramount hotel, in the very space that had a thriving night spot of the same in the 1890s, billing itself as “a fusion of theater, music, circus, cuisine, design, and nightlife that welcomes guests into a wholly interactive entertainment experience.”)

NEW YEAR’S EVE NIGHTCLUB PARTIES

New Year’s Eve Central website lists more than 100 New Year’s Eve parties at New York nightclubs 

CONCERTS AND COMEDY

The New Year’s Eve Concert for Peace at The Cathedral Church of St. John, a tradition begun by Leonard Bernstein. A limited number of seats are available to the public for free.

Chita Rivera at 54 Below — $300 to $400 cover charge, but how can we not mention this?

Wynton Marsalis Septet at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola
Famed jazz musician Wynton Marsalis and his band offer two performances on New Year’s Eve.

The Fela! band at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. Cast members from the Broadway production of “Fela!” continue to perform the music of Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

Punch Brothers at Bowery Ballroom
“Progressive bluegrass” group

Gogol Bordello at Terminal 5

Andrew W.K. at Irving Plaza

Billy Joel and Ben Folds Five at Barclays Center

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at The Stand
Funny people Judah Friedlander (30 Rock), Wyatt Cenac (The Daily Show), Dan St. Germain (Conan), Sherrod Small (Best Week Ever) and others make mirth, with a prix-fixe dinner.  th

New Year’s Eve Spectacular at Carolines on Broadway

Ring in the Swing at The Allen Room, Lincoln Center
The Pedrito Martinez Group and the Dominick Farinacci Swing Dance Octet. Open bar.

Roy Wood Jr. at Gotham Comedy Club
Stand-up comic Roy Wood Jr. (Roy on the TBS series Sullivan and Son) 


HARBOR CRUISES

Big selling point of all these cruises — a close-up of the New Year’s Eve fireworks over the water. Most include a buffet, open bar, and dancing with a dj.

Circle Line Sightseeing New Year’s Eve Cruise

 $169, leaves from Pier 83, off West 42nd Street and 12th Avenue.
$250, leaves from South Street Seaport

Paddle Wheel Queen New Year’s Eve Cruise

 Boarding at Skyport Marina (23rd/FDR) at 9:45 p.m. for $165 per person

New York Water Taxi’s New Year’s Eve Cruise

 $120 include hor d’oeuvres, open bar, champagne toast, and music. Tickets are $120

Affairs Afloat New Year’s Eve Cruise

$162 for dancing and snacks  (early bird discounts available).

World Yacht New Year’s Eve Cruise

$350 for 3-hour cruise including a five-course sit-down dinner, champagne toast, premium open bar, party favors and music for dancing.

New Year’s Eve Family Cruise

$250 family packages ($90/adult, $45/kids 3-12) include sweets, treats and snacks, as well as soft drinks. Cash bar available.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise on Yacht Manhattan

 $350 to join just 39 other people  aboard a 1920s style yacht where formal-wear is encouraged.
A MEDITATIVE ALTERNATIVE
The Kadampa Meditation Center in Chelsea, for just $25 for non-members, provides a way for you to “ring in the New Year “with compassion and beneficial intentions!” — hors d’oeuvres, meditation, and no alcohol.

WALKING AND RUNNING

RoadRunners

New York Road Runners’  Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park

Shorewalkers Happy New Year’s Day Hike

Hike through the parks and shoreline in Upper Manhattan. Meet 12 noon at 178th street and Broadway at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. This might be the ultimately nebbishy thing to do — I actually did it once — but it’s a perfect excuse to go to sleep early on New Year’s Eve.

Know of anything else worth doing on New Year’s Eve? Let us know in the comments below.

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About New York Theater
Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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