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Long Island

Forget Times Square: For some, LI is the place to be on New Year's Eve

Among the events planned on the Island are family-friendly celebrations in Patchogue and Garden City, as well as a Billy Joel concert at NYCB Live's Nassau Coliseum.

Times Square in New York City is not

Times Square in New York City is not the only place you can bring in the New Year. Patchogue offers its own version of New Year's Eve festivities complete with a "ball drop." Photo Credit: Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce / Walter T. Petrule

Many Long Islanders will be pouring into New York City on Monday night to ring in the new year in Times Square, at a fancy Greenwich Village restaurant or maybe at a trendy club in Brooklyn.

But others are like Mike Taormina, 68, of Huntington.

“To go into the city is crazy. If we’re not doing anything, we’ll hang out and watch it [the Times Square ball drop] on TV,” Taormina said of him and his wife.

Rather than head into the city, some Long Islanders will be celebrating at home, at parties thrown by family or friends and in restaurants, bars and clubs across the Island.

One of the biggest celebrations of the night will be hours before midnight: the "Midnight on Main" event in Patchogue. Crowds have been so big in the first three years of the event that the village moved it from the heart of downtown to its western edge, at West Main Street and West Avenue, where there is more room for people to stand, Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kennedy said. An average of at least 3,000 people attended the celebration in past years, he said.

The free event, which begins at 7 p.m. and will feature a live DJ, dancing in the streets, free noisemakers and fireworks, culminates at 9 p.m. with a lighted, color-changing ball rising 50 feet above the street on a cable dangling from a crane.

The mid-evening end time is “an early enough time so that families can enjoy it with their children, and it’s a great time for those who want to start their celebration in Patchogue and then go to one of our wonderful bars and restaurants,” Kennedy said.

The celebration is likely to be soggy and unseasonably warm. The National Weather Service is predicting a 90 percent chance of rain for Patchogue on Monday night, with temperatures rising during the night to 52 degrees by 2 a.m. New Year’s Day.

The event is rain or shine and, unlike in Times Square, umbrellas are allowed at the Patchogue event, Kennedy said.

Patchogue businesses like BrickHouse Brewery and Restaurant report a spike in business since the event began.

“It’s great,” BrickHouse general manager Maud Franklin said. “We definitely see an influx after the ceremony.”

There has also been an increase in early dinner reservations from families with kids who eat at the restaurant and then attend the outdoor party, she said.

Another event at a family-friendly time will be at the Long Island Children’s Museum in Garden City, where ball drops will be at noon and 4 p.m.

And on Monday night, Billy Joel will perform in front of a sold-out crowd of about 15,000 at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his last New Year's Eve concert at the Coliseum.

For those who are traveling to New York City for festivities there, the Long Island Rail Road is adding 21 extra westbound trains to Penn Station in the late afternoon and evening and 15 additional eastbound trains from Penn Station and four extra eastbound trains from Atlantic Terminal after midnight. Alcohol is banned on trains from noon Monday through noon Tuesday.

Emily Martino, 23, of Manorville, said she has never had a desire to celebrate the new year in Times Square or elsewhere in Manhattan.

“I don’t like crowds,” said Martino, who is planning to attend a party of about 20 people at her boyfriend’s house in Farmingdale. “New York City is something I would never want to do on New Year’s Eve. Too many people.”

Paul Weiss, 59, of Sayville, said New Year’s Eve is “not as exciting as you get older.”

He and his wife, Donna Weiss, 62, said they may watch the Times Square festivities on television.

“It may be click on the TV, see the ball drop and then, ‘OK, good-night,’ ” he said.

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