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Forget Times Square: Here's where to ring in the New Year right here on LI

The Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, Inc. hosts

The Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, Inc. hosts its second annual Midnight on Main Street event on Dec. 31, 2016, at Capital One Plaza in Patchogue with an illuminated ball, fireworks, a DJ and music. Credit: Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce

It's a party a decade in the making.

Throngs are expected to journey to Times Square on New Year's Eve for the annual ball drop celebration, with countless others visiting bars, clubs and restaurants across the city.

But many Long Islanders are opting to ring in the start of the 2020s — we'll leave it to others to decide if it's the official end of the decade or whether that milestone occurs next year — closer to home.

In Nassau and Suffolk, restaurants, nightclubs, taverns and theaters have the champagne on ice and the live entertainment ready to perform.

The end-of-the-year celebrations run the gamut, from four hours of electronic dance tunes spun by DJ Loki at the Southampton Social Club to the more family friendly "Fishes and Wishes" party at the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, where kids will make crafts and meet a penguin.

Restaurants across the Island are showcasing price-fixed dinners or tasting menus while large bars and theaters — including the Paramount in Huntington, the Warehouse in Amityville and Mulcahy's in Wantagh — will host bands or DJs spinning party music.

Yet many others will pop a cork at home with friends, family and neighbors.

Sean Kerszko plans to have eight local families at his North Bellmore home for a pot luck celebration to ring in the New Year along with his wife, Jill, and two young sons, Tyler and Trey. 

"We have enough room in the basement for the kids to be on their own playing kids games, while the adults stay on the main floor drinking adult beverages and stuffing their face for five hours," said Kerszko, an IT manager at Glenwood Management in New Hyde Park.

As for traveling to Times Square, Kerszko said he sees no appeal. 

"Finding a bathroom must be a nightmare," he said.

One of the biggest local New Year's bashes will be in Patchogue, which hosts its annual Midnight on Main event in the village's downtown at West Main Street and West Avenue. The family-friendly free event begins at 7 p.m. and features a DJ, free noisemakers and fireworks. The party culminates at 9 p.m. with a lighted, color-changing ball rising 50 feet above the street on a cable dangling from a crane.

With the forecast calling for clear skies and temperatures in the upper 30s, Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kennedy expects crowds to potentially surpass 5,000.

"It's a great way for our local community to come out and be together," Kennedy said. "And even if you don't have plans, it's a fun family event to ring in the new year."

Jeremy Turhune of Patchogue has been attending the village blowout with his wife, Sarah, and twin 9-year-old children, Jackson and Margot, since the event's inception six years ago. 

"With the kids we don't get to go out as much on New Year's Eve," said Turhune, who works for the Suffolk County Water Authority. "We can't keep the kids out late enough until the real ball drops. So this is like a smaller version of Times Square."

Kevin Franciotti of Mineola will ring in 2020 at his job as a counselor at a substance-abuse treatment facility for adolescents in Brooklyn. Franciotti, who has been working there since May, said the goal will be to keep the kids, ages 14 to 19, active, listening to music, playing games like musical chairs and possibly breaking out the karaoke machine.

"I will be trying to elevate the kids’ spirits as much as possible as obviously living in a residential facility wasn’t likely what any of them had in mind for this year’s New Year's Eve celebrations," Franciotti said.

5 LI options

1. Midnight on the Main on West Avenue and West Main Street in Patchogue from 7 to 9 p.m. The communitywide celebration includes live music, dancing in the streets, free noisemakers and a fireworks display by Grucci. At 9 p.m. a color-changing ball will rise 50 feet above the street on a cable dangling from a crane to signify the start of the new year, albeit a bit early. The event is free. For more information call 631-207-1000 or go to patchogue.com

2. New Year's Eve Party at Lily Flanagan's Pub, 345 Deer Park Ave. in Babylon from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The bash will include a DJ spinning party beats while guests can enjoy appetizers, a four-hour open bar and a champagne toast. The price is $85. For more information call 631-539-0816 or go to lilyflanaganspub.com

3. NYE Party at Mulcahy’s, 3232 Railroad Ave. in Wantagh; doors open at 7 p.m. The party includes music by DJs Mike Savage and Johnathan Move. Guests get a buffet, three-hour open bar, party favors and champagne toast. The price is $59.95. For more information call 516-783-7500 or go to muls.com

4. "Fishes and Wishes" New Year's Eve Party, 431 East Main St. in Riverhead from 6:30 to 11 p.m. The family-friendly affair includes a meet-and-greet with a penguin, a cocktail hour, buffet dinner, DJ sets, dancing, craft-making, dessert and a mock-midnight toast. The price is $99; $60 for kids ages 3-12 while kids two and younger are $5. Reservations are required. For information call 631-208-9200 or go to longislandaquarium.com

5. Jessie’s Girl at The Paramount, 370 New York Ave. in Huntington; doors open at 8 p.m. The wild 1980s band takes the stage at 9 p.m. playing hits from the era of leg warmers and metal gear including Bon Jovi, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Prince. Prices ranges from $25 to $95. For more information call 631-673-7300 or go to paramountny.com

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