New Year’s Eve in New York City 2016 Last Minute Plans


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.)


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.


King and I
King and I

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.

scene from sleep-no-more
Scene from Sleep No More. The people in the masks are members of the audience

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 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

Annaleigh Ashford
Annaleigh Ashford

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

 Zephyr New Year’s Eve Cruise

The Kadampa Meditation Center in Chelsea, $30 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.
New York Road Runners’  Emerald Nuts Midnight Run in Central Park
Shorewalkers Happy New Years Day Hike — Hiking the shores and parks of upper Manhattan starting at noon on New Year’s Day, which gives you a good excuse to go to bed early.
ABC: Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest. Fergie and Carrie Underwood.
CNN: New Year’s Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin

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.

PBS: Live from Lincoln Center New York Philharmonic concert, followed by Downton Abbey marathon.
The Midnight Hour
The Midnight Hour

Author: 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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