My annual New Year’s Eve last-minute guide to events that are still available to do on New Year’s Eve 2023 (when 2022 turns into 2023) in New York City:
New Year’s Eve in New York means the dropping of the ball in Times Square, the fireworks in Prospect Park, the annual concert at St. John the Divine, the midnight run with fireworks in Central Park, the annual Time’s Up Bike Ride — all FREE, and almost all events you can decide to attend at the last minute.
It also can mean obscenely expensive shows and extremely loud parties, an annual arena concert featuring Phish and new cabaret acts, a cruise in the harbor, or a dinner for two in your favorite eatery — not all of which are sold out weeks in advance.
Or you can stay at home and watch the festivities online — on this very post, for one.
A necessary note: The City of New York advises the wearing of masks in both public indoor settings and crowded outdoor environments, as well as other precautions, especially now that there is a winter surge of Covid-19 cases and other infectious diseases. And if you’re sick: Stay home. Details.
Only eight percent of Americans reportedly plan to go out on any given New Year’s Eve. For those New Yorkers (and New York visitors) who haven’t made those plans yet, here are some ideas:
If you decide to stand at the Crossroads of the World on December 31st, you’ll be joining a celebration that began in 1907, when people stood in (the recently named) Times Square to watch the lowering of a ball made of iron and wood, weighing 700 pounds, and covered with 100 light bulbs. Now the ball is a geodesic dome weighing 11,875 pounds, covered with 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles and 32,256 LEDs (light emitting diodes) , which a computer lowers 70 feet in 6o seconds.
If you’re reading this before Wednesday December 28 you might consider going to Times Square that day to attend “Good Riddance Day” from noon to 1 p.m., in which participants shed bad memories of 2022 (an old bill, an ex-love note, a bad report card, a Playbill of a show you’d rather forget?) in a ceremonial shredding on the Broadway Plaza between 45th & 46th Streets
On Saturday — New Year’s Eve — revelers will start arriving at Times Square in the afternoon. By approximately 3:00 PM., the Bowtie of Times Square (42nd to 47th Sts. between Broadway & 7th Ave.) is fully closed to traffic. The crowd, which in the past has reached in the millions, could go as far uptown as Central Park, 17 blocks away.
Another way of saying this: If you want to be within naked-eyesight of the Times Square ball, arrive in the afternoon, and be prepared to stand immobile until the ball drops at midnight. Wear warm clothing, and huddle with friends and loved ones for warmth – or make new friends.
Times Square offers an outdoor evening of entertainment, beginning at 6 p.m. with the lighting and raising of the Times Square ball and culminating six hours later in confetti, the “2023” sign in lights, lots of (masked!) hugging and wishing for a Happy New Year
I’ve spent three New Year’s Eves in Times Square, which is probably two more than necessary, but found each memorable. Do remember that the highlights will be televised. See What’s on TV, below.)
DINING OUT ON NEW YEAR’S EVE
Open Table lists more than 100 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 provides all sorts of filters — you can look for a table for 2 at a “charming” French restaurant at 7 pm in your specific neighborhood.
Have a favorite neighborhood eatery that’s not listed on Open Table? Go to the place NOW, and ask them whether they will take reservations.
THEATER ON NEW YEAR’S WEEK
Three Broadway shows will be offering performances on New Year’s Eve (in the afternoon.) But all thirty-three shows currently on Broadway have performances on the Monday before New Year’s (December 26), a whopping 22 of them both matinee and evening performances (Mondays are usually the day off) and 22 will be offering at least one performance on New Year’s Day.
The titles are linked to my reviews.
Performance Times for New Year’s Week
|Show Title||Mon. December 26||Tue. December 27||Wed. December 28||Thu. December 29||Fri. December 30||Sat. December 31||Sun. January 1|
|& Juliet||8 pm|
|1776||7pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||3pm|
|Aladdin||2pm, 7pm||7pm||2pm, 7pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||1pm||1pm, 6:30pm|
|Almost Famous||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm|
|A Beautiful Noise||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||2pm|
|Beetlejuice||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||7pm|
|Between Riverside and Crazy||7pm||7pm||2pm, 7pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||3pm|
|The Book of Mormon||2pm, 7pm||7pm||2pm, 7pm||7pm||2pm, 7pm||7pm|
|Chicago||7pm||2pm, 7pm||7pm||2pm, 7pm||2:30pm, 8pm||7pm|
|A Christmas Carol||2pm, 8pm||2pm, 8pm||2pm, 8pm||2pm, 8pm||2pm, 8pm||2pm, 7pm|
|The Collaboration||7pm||7pm||2pm, 7pm||7pm||8pm||7pm|
|Death of a Salesman||1pm, 7pm||7pm||1pm, 7pm||7pm||1pm, 7pm||3pm|
|Funny Girl||2pm, 8pm||8pm||2pm, 8pm||8pm||2pm, 8pm||3pm|
|Hadestown||8pm||2pm, 7:30pm||2pm, 7:30pm||2pm, 8pm||3pm|
|Hamilton||7pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||3pm|
|Harry Potter. and the Cursed Child..||1pm, 7pm||7pm||1pm, 7pm||7pm||1pm, 7pm|
|Into the Woods||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||3pm|
|Kimberly Akimbo||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 7pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm|
|Leopoldstadt||2pm, 8pm||7pm||1pm, 7pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||3pm|
|The Lion King||2pm, 7pm||7pm||2pm, 7pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||6:30pm|
|Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man & the Pool||4pm, 8pm||7:30pm||4pm, 8pm||7:30pm||4pm, 8pm|
|MJ||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm|
|Moulin Rouge!||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||5pm|
|The Music Man||2pm, 8pm||8pm||2pm, 8pm||8pm||2pm, 8pm||3pm|
|Ohio State Murders||7pm||2pm, 7pm||2pm, 7pm||2pm, 8pm||3pm|
|The Phantom of the Opera||2pm, 8pm||8pm||2pm, 8pm||2pm, 8pm||3pm|
|The Piano Lesson||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||3pm|
|Six||3pm, 8pm||8pm||3pm, 8pm||8pm||3pm, 8pm||, 7pm|
|Some Like It Hot||7pm||2pm, 8pm||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||2pm|
|A Strange Loop||7pm||2pm, 8pm||2pm, 8pm||2pm, 8pm|
|Take Me Out||7pm||7pm||2pm, 7pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm||7pm|
|Topdog/Underdog||2pm, 8pm||7pm||2pm, 7pm||7pm||2pm, 8pm|
|Wicked||2pm, 8pm||2pm, 8pm||8pm||2pm, 8pm||2pm, 8pm|
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. Prime example is Sleep No More, which for New Year’s Eve throws in a reserved table and champagne for a couple of hundred dollars more. The cost is astronomical — and much of it has probably sold out by the time you read this.
Similarly, XIV Company offers its “Nutcracker Rouge,” (a “baroque, burlesque” not-for-children take on Nutcracker Suite) at its theater in Bushwick, with early evening and late night showings, the latter followed by a party with the cast.
FAMILY SHOWS NOT ON BROADWAY
Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular (two performances on New Year’s Eve, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m, and three on New Year’s Day.)
Big Apple Circus> (noon and 9:30 pm.)
For more, check out my Holiday Shows in NYC 2022
NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTIES
AT NIGHTCLUBS & WEIRD PLACES (including home)
There’s a New York for almost any taste, so why would it be surprising that Eventbrite lists some 1,000 New Year’s Eve parties? .
You can dance at parties set up in Times Square venues. Most promote a great view of the ball dropping.
Then there are the super-hip parties in Brooklyn and Queens.
Many suggest throwing your own New Year’s Eve party, and offer vaguely insulting step-by-step tips on how to do so. The most memorable advice for throwing a party came from Joan Crawford, who was quite a partier in her day (see above). Her advice (see below) can be summed up as:
(P.S., don’t do this.)
Some concerts that will be sold out or too expensive will be available in your home, live, depending. (See TV listings below.)
An annual FREE event since 1984, when it was founded by Leonard Bernstein. Under the newly-fixed dome of the Cathedral, the music this year includes the world premiere of Joseph Turrin’s Lullaby for Vaska, along with Gustav Holst’s St. Paul’s Suite, David Lang’s Make Peace, and Philip Herbert’s Elegy: in memoriam. You need to get the tickets in advance — or you can watch the livestream on their website.
Yes, as usual, Phish will perform at Madison Square Garden for its usual four-day New Year’s run, including on December 31st. And, yes, as usual, it may well be sold out by now. However, they are now performing via Webcast as well, in HD or 4K, your choice.
Gogol Bordello at Brooklyn Bowl.
“Since 1999, the band have consistently riled up audiences with an inimitable patchwork of raucous punk and Eastern
European Gypsy-swing. “
Flying Lotus at Webster Hall
aka Steven Ellison, composer-producer whose influences include “jazz, hip-hop, and nebulous, futuristic elements”
Gov’t Mule, at the Beacon Theater,
!!! at the Sultan Room
Reggae Fest Live at the King’s Theater
With the repeal in 2017 of the hated 91-year-old Cabaret Law, which banned dancing at all but a handful of licensed venues (fewer than 100), you could argue that life is a cabaret (or at least could be) at all 25,000 eating and drinking establishments in New York City. But “cabaret” has come to define specific genres of intimate entertainment at just a few, relatively small venues, such as those below.
Tip: Most cabarets offer two seatings on New Year’s Eve. The one earlier in the evening is far less expensive. Many of these performers return to these venues every New Year’s — a wonderful tradition that makes last-minute tickets chancy, but worth trying.
Sandra Bernhard: “Soul’d Out” at Joe’s Pub, two showings
Natalie Douglas: A Very Natalie New Year for the 24th year in a row, but this year just a late show and in a new location — the Triad. (The Duplex is being renovated.)
Marilyn Maye New Year’s Eve Extravaganza, The chanteuse, still wowing in her 90s. 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Jazz trumpeter and composer Chris Botti returns for his 18th annual residency at The Blue Note
Caroline’s Comedy Club, which is closing at Times Square after thirty years, offers its final two shows on New Year’s Eve with a half dozen comics, at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. A note on their website is no joke: “As the crowds build in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, the NYPD will shut down the area to pedestrian traffic. If you are unable to get to the club directly, please go to the northeast corner of west 49th street and eighth avenue (by food emporium) and a club representative will escort you and your party to the venue. “
Annual Prospect Park Fireworks – free. at Grand Army Plaza
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.
WHAT’S ON TV (and other home devices)
Miley’s New Year’s Eve Party, Miley Cyrus with co-host Dolly Parton, and Lotto, Liily, FLETCHER, Rae Sremmurd, and Sia.
United in Song 2022: Ringing in the New Year Together, with music that celebrates the nation’s diversity, “from folk and rock to opera, country to hip hop, Broadway to bluegrass” Renée Fleming and Chris (George Washington) Jackson will be the hosts, and among the performers will be Broadway’s own Matt Doyle, Mandy Gonzalez, and Joaquina Kalukango
“Twilight Zone” on Syfy, Family Guy and The Simpsons on Fx
Since 1996, WPIX has broadcast The Honeymooners marathon and this year is no different. Twenty-seven episodes of the Jackie Gleason TV series will be broadcast from 11pm to 7 a.m. on New Year’s Day.