New Year's Eve and New York City -- it rolls right off the tongue, just like 2020. People around the globe gather for the festivities in this hotspot for even more than just the Ball Drop. Here are some fun events to consider for your end-of-the-decade celebration.
For starters, there’s the iconic Ball Drop that takes place in Times Square (timessquarenyc.org). It's free and no tickets necessary; attendance is first-come, first serve. Just keep in mind that with thousands upon thousands expected to show, it’s wise to arrive as early as the morning of in order to get a spot. At some point, police will close the blocks around the Square to further entry at their discretion.
The scene will be crowded, alcohol is not permitted and there aren’t any public restrooms, so it’s a good bet this kind of occasion isn’t for everyone.
Over at the New York Expo Center (1108 Oakpoint Ave., Bronx), Above & Beyond is headlining a king-size dance bash. This electronic music band hails from England and have been nominated twice for Grammy Awards. Currently touring the American continents, they're filling arenas all over the world. Open to 18 and older, general admission tickets are $99, while $169 VIP tickets include access to private bathrooms, balcony access and grant express entry (degpresents.com) and there’s an additional $79 one-person, three-hour (9 p.m.-12 a.m.) upgrade available for an open bar, as well as pricier options for groups as large as 20 at tablelist.com. Other artists on the bill include Andrew Bayer, Genix and Nox Vahn; doors open at 9 p.m.
Meanwhile, if you're into the Indie scene, head over to the Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn). Hailing from Ohio, Cloud Nothings are hardly newbies; their indie rock cred remains completely intact. Their shows are often in-demand events. Tickets are $35-$40 (knittingfactory.com); the lineup also includes opening sets from Field Mouse and Patio. VIP packages are available; call 347-529-6696 for more details.
The Strokes are known for their signature noisy, stripped-down sound that set the tone for a generation of Brooklyn and Lower East Side DIY acts. They’ll be playing a show at the Barclays Center (620 Atlantic Ave.), and catching the band live these days isn’t so easy, as they only have a handful of performances announced for the rest of 2019 and all of 2020 so far. Aside from their New Year's Eve concert, almost all those appearances are happening outside the country. In other words, this may be your chance to see The Strokes live until further notice. Tickets start at $79.50 and are available online at ticketmaster.com. Show starts at 8:30 p.m.; the scheduled opener is Mac DeMarco.
Back in Manhattan, DJ/ producer Kaskade is holding down Terminal 5 (610 W. 56th St.) on the last night of the year. Nominated for several Grammy Awards, he’s a veteran of the international dance scene but is currently touring around the U.S. Tickets are $99-$199.99 and include a three-hour open bar (10 p.m.-1 a.m.). Buy in advance at terminal5nyc.com.
Meanwhile, for a different vibe head downtown to the party at Mercury Lounge (217 E Houston St.) featuring a rare appearance by French Horn Rebellion. Known for its brand of electro-pop dance — driven in part by French horn solos — the band’s shows are legendary for wild fun, and yet they don’t tour frequently. Tickets are only $15-$20 in advance at mercuryeastpresents.com; the night also includes a set from Pink Flamingo Rhythm Revue.
Perhaps you’d rather usher in 2020 on the move: New York Road Runners are holding a race at midnight on Jan. 1 in Central Park, a 4-mile run that kicks off at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31 and is timed to occur while midnight fireworks burst overhead. The entry fee is $70; register at nyrr.org.
New York Water Taxi is offering a three-hour (10 p.m.-1 a.m.) Hudson River cruise that also includes hors d'oeuvres and drinks (including beer and wine); tickets are $229 and can be purchased at nywatertaxi.com. The ride boards at Pier 81 (West 41st Street and West Side Highway), so keep in mind the difficulties of navigating Manhattan on New Year's Eve when arranging the trip to the boat.
Hot Rabbit — a group that specializes in events geared toward the LGBTQ community — is holding their “Resolutions” soiree at the Bowery Ballroom (6 Delancey St.), and the bash is slated to feature DJs, burlesque and live music, among other forms of entertainment. Tickets are $30 ($15 for entry after 2 a.m.) at hotrabbit.com; email email@example.com for table reservations.
Another sure-bet name in NYC party fun is Jonathan Toubin—the neo-nightlife star behind the critically acclaimed retro smash “Soul Clap and Dance-Off” and “New York Night Train” bashes—is hosting his annual NYE Ball at TV Eye (1647 Weirfield St., Ridgewood). The gathering is slated to feature sessions from a dozen DJs (including Mr. Toubin) and five bands (including bluesy indie rock acts Daddy Long Legs and Miranda and The Beat). Doors open at 7 p.m., admission is $20 at the door, $10 after 1 a.m.; reach out to Jonathan via Facebook (facebook.com) with any questions.