My annual New Year’s Eve guide features the Broadway show schedule for New Year’s week, and other shows, parties, concerts, intimate dinners, cruises, outdoor events and quiet alternatives you can still do on New Year’s Eve 2016 (when 2015 turns into 2016) in New York City. Also free events — and TV listings.
Looking for New Year’s Eve 2017? Click here
Only eight percent of Americans reportedly say they plan to go out on New Year’s Eve. For those who haven’t made those plans yet, here are some ideas:
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 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 p.m. The celebration begins with the lighting and raising of the New Year’s Eve Ball atop One Times Square.
Following is an evening of entertainment. The last two musical performers before the ball drops — Carrie Underwood and Jessie J.
(Do keep in mind that the highlights will be televised. See What’s on TV, below.)
DINING OUT ON NEW YEAR’S EVE
Open Table lists some 800 restaurants 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 six of the shows currently on Broadway will be offering performances on New Year’s Eve — all but one of them matinees. (They’re almost all in Times Square, remember; only the King and I is away from the madness, at Lincoln Center.) 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 some have added extra performances in the weekend after New Year’s.
Keep in mind that a good number of these shows are closing soon, so this is your last chance to see them.
Closing January 3, 2016: Dames at Sea, Hand to God, The Illusionists, Lord of the Dance, Sylvia, Therese Raquin
Closing January 10, 2016: The Gin Game
Closing January 17, 2016: Gentleman’s Guide
Closing January 24, 2016: Spring Awakening
Closing January 31, 2016: China Doll, King Charles III
Of course, New York theater is far more than just Broadway, and some Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway shows are not just happening, but getting into the whole excess thing that means New Year’s Eve to so many in New York. For example:
“Queen of the Night” is offering TOMORROW NEVER DIES, a James Bond-inspired Black Tie Gala “featuring evil villains from the Bond franchise, international DJs, live performances” etc. The cost of the event — as little as $450, and as much as $25,000. (Perhaps in a sign that such decadence cannot last forever: Queen of the Night will close that night after two years.)
At The McKittrick Hotel, your evening can begin with a “Royal Feast,” then “Sleep No More,” the immersive Macbeth that requires we wear a mask and sensible shoes, followed by “the truly decadent The King’s Winter Masquerade,” all for only $600.
An intriguing choice this year is First Noel: New Year’s Show: “The Classical Theatre of Harlem, in its debut at the Apollo Theater, brings a new Harlem-based holiday musical that crosses genres – from disco to rock to gospel…”
NEW YEARS EVE PARTIES AT NIGHTCLUBS & WEIRD PLACES
New Year’s Eve Central website lists more than 100 New Year’s Eve parties at New York nightclubs
Justice, the DJ duo, hold an annual New Years Eve party in an undisclosed warehouse in Brooklyn.
Of particular interest this year is the debut of Party for a Purpose at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, which is “set” in 1942 Casablanca. “All party proceeds help to battle the dual crises of homelessness and HIV/AIDS.”
St. John the Divine Concert for Peace. An annual event since 1984, when it was founded by Leonard Bernstein. Free.
New York Philharmonic’s La Vie Parisienne – a “musical love letter to Paris.” (This will be televised on PBS)
Phish at Madison Square Garden
Jimmy Buffett and Huey Lewis at Barclay’s Center
Some three dozen more concerts via New York Times. (Some will be sold out)
Tip: Most cabarets offer two seatings on New Year’s Eve. The one earlier in the evening is far less expensive.
Annaleigh Ashford at Feinstein’s/54 Below
Sandra Bernhard at Joe’s Pub
Natalie Douglas at the Duplex — her 17th New Year’s there
Marilyn Maye at the Metropolitan Room
Marin Mazzie at Feinstein’s/54Below (early show)
Annual Prospect Park Fireworks – free. at Grand Army Plaza
Coney Island New Year’s Eve Celebration – free fireworks on the boardwalk
Central Park Fireworks (See also midnight run below)
Big selling point of all these cruises — a close-up of the New Years Eve fireworks over the water. Most include a buffet, open bar, and dancing with a dj. Drawbacks: These cost hundreds of dollars, and many are already sold out.
Circle Line New Year’s Eve Fireworks Cruise
Fox: Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution. from Miami.
FXX – “The Simpsons New Year’s Resolutions,” 26 resolution-themed episodes back to back.
NBC: New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly. Gwen Stefani and Andy Cohen.