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Free or fancy, celebrate New Year's in New York

Confetti floats over Times Square after midnight iduring

Confetti floats over Times Square after midnight iduring New York Eve's celebration January 01, 2009 in New York City. The Times Square Alliance estimates that one million people will attend the festivities in Times Square. (January 1, 2009) Credit: Getty/Hiroko Masuike

There's something to be said for breaking tradition. If your New Year's Eve plans usually involve a night on the couch watching Dick Clark, consider starting a fresh tradition to usher in the new decade.

Whether you're up for an extravagant splurge or a more wallet-friendly night out, there are plans for all budgets in New York City. Spend the night - some hotels have package deals - and you'll have a mini-vacation that doesn't involve airport security or a long car ride.

You can start your New Year's resolutions early with a midnight run in Central Park or enjoy a fun-filled night at a heated rooftop party on fashionable Fifth Avenue. These are just a few suggestions, organized by price range, for celebrating the start of 2010 in New York City.


Fireworks in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Of course, you can always join the excitement and watch the ball drop in Times Square , but if you want another economical activity a bit off the beaten path, watch the fireworks display in Prospect Park (718-965-8999, At 11 p.m., the Grand Army Plaza park entrance (not far from the Flatbush Avenue Long Island Rail Road station) will have a live band, free hot cocoa and apple cider, followed by colorful bursts of fireworks.

Eat Grab a meal beforehand at Flatbush Farm (718-622-3276, 76 St. Marks Ave.,, serving organic farm fresh American fare, or enjoy listening to a funky jazz band while eating Italian food at Park Slope's festive Two Boots Pizzeria (514 Second St., 718-499-3253,

After-party After the fireworks, go dancing at Union Hall (702 Union St., at Fifth Avenue, 718-838-4800, or warm up with a drink at one of the many bars on Park Slope's Fifth Avenue.


Midnight run (and dance)

Start your New Year with an offbeat fun run through Central Park. The New York Road Runner's Club's 31st annual Emerald Nuts Run begins at 10 p.m. at the Central Park Bandshell with a DJ, costume parade and fireworks. Come in costume and toast the New Year with nonalcoholic sparkling wine at a stop along the race route ($45-$55 registration, Or join the thousands of spectators, then attend a free dance party.

Eat Need carbs? At nearby Caravaggio, choose fettuccine alla matriciana at the 5-7 p.m. New Year's Eve seating (reservations required, 23 E. 74th St., 212-288-1004). For costumed runners in search of a more casual atmosphere, have a slice of brick-oven pizza from the Upper East Side favorite Giorgio's Brick Oven and Wine Bar (1343 Second Ave., between 70th and 71st streets, 212-628-8419,


Party central

Hipsters will feel at home at 230 Fifth's rooftop New Year's Eve soiree, affording partygoers incredible nighttime views of the city. From 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., guests can lounge about the partially heated space and sip warm cocktails from oversize mugs (hooded fleece robes and blankets will be provided for those who get chilly). A DJ will spin classic '80s and Top 40 tunes. Prices start at $150 a person, which includes hors d'oeuvres and open bar until 1 a.m. Arrive after 1 a.m., and you'll pay $20 admission, cash bar (27th and 28th streets, 212-725-4300,

In the mood for music? Mardi Gras comes early at Jazz Standard, which is hosting "Struttin' With Some Barbeque," live jazz paired with a three-course dinner from Blue Smoke restaurant. There are two sets - 7:30 p.m. ($125) and 10:30 p.m. ($195, includes Champagne at midnight) - reservations recommended (116 E. 27th St., 212-576-2232,


On the water

Yachts cruising New York's harbor at midnight on Dec. 31 will have prime views of the fireworks over the Statue of Liberty. Packages on various ships include several hours of food, drinks and entertainment.

World Yacht's 9 p.m.-1:30 a.m. party includes a five-course meal with entrees such as filet mignon and pan-seared salmon - plus open bar, dancing, a midnight Champagne toast and party favors. Cost: $281.92 (Pier 41, W. 41st St., 800-498- 4270,

Yacht Manhattan's fireworks cruise is a more formal affair. Guests aboard this 1920s luxury yacht can dance to live jazz on a 9 p.m.-1 a.m. cruise limited to 50 passengers. They'll see the fireworks from the enclosed (and heated) back deck observatory. Rates are $325 and include hors d'oeuvres and an open bar with beer, wine and Champagne (Pier 62, 22nd Street, 646-336-5270,

Close the house

Tavern on the Green(Central Park at West 67th Street, 212-873-3200, tavernon

Toast the future at Tavern on the Green, the historic Manhattan landmark that will close its doors on Jan. 1. Choose from two New Year's Eve parties. The 9 p.m.-4 a.m. Chestnut Room Gala includes a six-course meal, open bar, bottle of Champagne, entertainment and breakfast for $500 a person. The 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Park Room Gala also includes a six-course meal, open bar and disco party, and party favors for $375.

Or have your last dinner of the New Year at the restaurant; seatings between 5 and 6 p.m. cost $129 (plus tax and gratuity) for a four-course meal and Champagne toast.


Overnight in the city

You'll feel like you're spending New Year's Eve in Morocco at the Casablanca Hotel, near Times Square. The hotel is hosting a New Year's Eve bash for guests that includes a five-course meal with open bar, live entertainment and VIP passes to a reserved section of Times Square to watch the ball drop (those who don't want to leave the hotel can view the festivities from the rooftop). Rates start around $2,039 for three nights for two people and include amenities ranging from a breakfast buffet to in-room Champagne - two-night minimum stay required (147 W. 43rd St., 212-869-1212,

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