Times Square in New York City has become synonymous with New Year’s Eve. The NYE event is a massive draw, often bringing millions of people together to celebrate outdoors. Since the event is not ticketed, and is packed, event planners have a lot of work on their hands as they prepare.
How the City Prepares for the Event
Although the big NYE event is hosted in Times Square, it affects much of the city. The New York Police Department prepares for NYE by closing down streets progressively. The number of streets closed depends on how many spectators come, so police are on duty and active throughout the entire event. In 2016, it took seven hours for the city to reopen the streets due to all the cleanup involved.
Security is another part of the city’s preparations. Personnel must be stationed at the many entry points to different viewing areas. Articles like trash cans and public vending machines must be removed to reduce security threats. Police officers in plain clothes will also have to merge into crowds to ensure alcohol is not present.
Events Leading Up to the Big Night
Of course, other preparations for the event are made even further in advance. For example, the crystal ball that is dropped at midnight must be serviced. This year, 192 new crystals were swapped in.
The ball drop has to be tested, an event members of the press are invited to the day before. Previously, the ball has gotten stuck before lowering completely, prompting the annual “dress rehearsal” for the big event.
A confetti test also occurs in advance. By the end of the night, more than one ton of confetti will be tossed from the tops of buildings. Hundreds of balloons are inflated in preparation for midnight, too. This ensures that revelers will have themed balloons to wave. Other events for the press, like unveiling the theme or changes to the event, begin earlier in the year.
Local Businesses Prepare for the NYE Event
One source of controversy every year for NYE in Times Square is the lack of restroom access and availability of water, snacks, and other easy meals. These are banned from the event for security reasons. Local businesses capitalize on the need for restrooms, food, and beverages. Taking reservations months in advance, even common chains like Applebee’s prepare for crowds and raise their prices accordingly. In 2017, for example, Applebee’s offered party package tickets for $375.
The Role of Sponsors at the Event
Another key part of planning for and hosting NYE in Times Square is finding and coordinating with sponsors. The annual event is organized by the Times Square Alliance and by Countdown Entertainment. Sponsors can pitch to and partner with the Alliance to participate in NYE.
Different sponsors play different roles in the event. Planet Fitness, a lead sponsor, participates in everything from selecting a theme to broadcast integration to marketing. Sponsors like Planet Fitness gain a lot of brand awareness through the event.
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