Is it too soon to start thinking about New Year's Eve?
Not really, particularly if you want a guaranteed seat at a big-ticket party or a dinner reservation at prime hour.
Dec. 31 falls on a Friday this year, and restaurants, performing arts centers and other venues are hosting blowout bashes for patrons to ring in the new year. Whether your pleasure is a sophisticated evening of classical music or a memorable, multicourse meal, here's an early look at some top New Year's Eve draws on the Island.
Info: 5 p.m.-2 a.m., 1270 Union Tpke., New Hyde Park, 516-358-2222, twoonline.com
Two has six packages for ringing in 2011. From 5 to 6:30p.m., early birds get a three-course dinner for $45; from 7 to 9 p.m., it's four courses for $90 per person. From 10 p.m. until 2 a.m., enjoy passed hors d'oeuvres and a top-shelf open bar in 2DL, Two's subterranean lounge, for $95. (If you follow your four-course dinner with the open bar, it's $165 total.)
Posher still: For $200, a five-course dinner and open bar, DJ, dancing, hats, noisemakers and access to 2DL. Or, gather at least nine friends and take over one of Two's private dining rooms. This $300-a-person experience includes premium wine, a dedicated wait staff and a 55-inch plasma-screen TV for watching the ball drop.
Two's James McDevitt is one of the most talented chefs on Long Island; all of his market-driven menus look terrific. Prices do not include tax or automatic 20 percent tip.
The Long Island Philharmonic
Music director David Stewart Wiley will lead the orchestra in its 19th annual New Year's Eve concert, "Greatest Hits of Broadway," which promises even more glitz with accompanying vocals by Broadway performers. Among those expected: Ron Bohmer ("A Little Night Music"), Rosena Hill ("Come Fly Away"), Sarah Pfisterer ("Phantom of the Opera") and Edward Watts ("Finian's Rainbow"). The Philharmonic's program will include hits from popular musicals, including "The Sound of Music," "Wicked," "Chicago" and "Les Misérables."
In keeping with tradition, patrons will be served a complimentary glass of Champagne to toast the new year.