Though one of the items on my bucket list is to greet a new year on the beaches of Kiribati (where each day officially begins), until I can do that, welcoming the new year in near Times Square is an unsurpassed adventure, although the crowds are getting a bit too large. The New Year's Eve Times Square Ball Drop may be the most famous event observed all over the world. Those who mark the occasion in New York City brave a crowd of more than a million people and are treated to a ton (literally) of confetti, fireworks, and parties that run deep into the first day of the New Year.
Since 1907, the ball has been dropped from One Times Square every year, except in 1942 and 1943, when a wartime blackout canceled the drop. The drop has evolved with technology in its 106 year history. Walter F. Palmer, an electrician with the New York Times, designed the first ball. It appeared as an illuminated 400-pound iron-and-wood orb and was lowered from a flagpole. In 1995, rhinestones and a computerized system featuring strobe lights were added. The ball with which 2013 entered the continental USA was 12 feet in diameter and weighed 11,875 pounds.
By tradition, the ball drop begins one minute to midnight when the mayor of New York City presses a ball-shaped button on a concert stage., but it appears that Mayor RINO Bloomberg was not up to the task. In reality, the drop is not triggered by the button, but is cued automatically by an atomic clock synchronized with the time signal WWVB in Gaithersburg, Maryland. For those like myself who may be wondering what WWVB stands for. It is actually a series of radio stations which broadcast an atomically synchronized signal to maintain accuracy of atomically controlled clocks around the US. The primary signal comes from Fort Collins, Colorado but the one for the Eastern Time Zone is in Gaithersburg.
For more info on Radio Controlled Clocks (RCCs), please visit:
The GLBT March or "Pride" is fabulous! The march lasts about 4-5 hours and the celebration really doesn't end until morning. I was amazed at the crowd that was present everything from adolecents to entire families. Pride usually takes place at the end of June, and it's an event you won't wanna miss.
I Just learned that there are weekly parades in Manhattan that's why some areas are congested even on weekends especially the area around midtown near the St. Patrick's Cathedral in 6th Avenue and when I was here in October, it was a Polish Festival and and the day before was a korean pride parade.
You didn't say whether or not you would have kids with you. Stake out your spot early 6:30am is a good time to get there, if it is extremely cold, make sure you are dressed appropriately. Have someone relieve you about 7:30 go get some coffee to warm up, get everyone to the spot by 8:30 parade starts at 9:00.
It is fun to watch the preparations for the parade, get the kids to the street where they start (up in the 80's, i think they give you the parade route online. You can get up close to the balloons and the floats and even Santa! Personally I prefer standing near the beginning of the parade, since you get to get out of there earlier and can go back to your hotel and watch the end on TV. I also usually stay near the beginning of the parade route, because it is easier to get to everything on foot (Beacon Hotel was my favorite)
We were fortunate enough whilst we were in New York to be there for thanksgiving.
We couldn't come all this way without seeing it but be warned if you go be prepared for the crowds. I wouldn't wear your best shoes as your feet are bound to be trampled on and have prams pushed over them like mine did!
Some of the balloons were amazing! - and children would love it. Unfortunately because of the crowds (and i am only small!) I couldn't see the floats, you probably have to get there mega early to get the best spots here.
We watched it at Bryant park as it runs down 7th Avenue.
Wouldn't have missed it for the world! The atmosphere was great as everybody was in such a happy mood!
Word of warning - toilets are few and far between and some places are not too keen on you just using their facilities so grab a coffee to keep warm and use the loo at the same time (sorry should say Bathroom - some people may not understand my british terminilogy for a toilet!)
The Halloween Parade takes place on October 31 every year and begins at 7 p.m. and lasts until 10 p.m. It starts on Sixth Avenue at Spring Street, and continues north along Sixth Avenue to 23rd Street.
Nearly 50,000 people participate in the annual Halloween Parade, including costumed marchers, puppeteers, bands and more. Anyone who is interested in participating in the Halloween Parade can -- just arrive at the beginning of the parade between 6:30 and 8 p.m and you can join the fun. It's a New York City tradition since 1973, New York's Village Halloween Parade is the largest Halloween celebration in the world. The parade features puppets, marchers and marching bands, as well as a limited number of floats and cars. New York's Village Halloween Parade is the only night time parade in New York City and is a fun and unique way to celebrate Halloween.
* Dress for the weather -- the temperature can drop significantly once the sun goes down.
* Be prepared for crowds -- this is a popular event, it's dark and it can be hard to keep your group together. Pick a meeting point and time in case you get separated.
* Parade watchers start lining up 2 hours before the parade begins -- with some persistance (& walking) you should be able to find a prime viewing spot up to an hour before the parade begins.
* This is a busy night for bars and restaurants along the parade route -- if you're planning dinner after the parade, consider making reservations (especially if you're in a group).
I highly recommend the "Brooklyn Bridge Walk into the New Year". Tours usually starts at 11pm and you can see the City Hall and then Brooklyn Bridge, where the guides will tell you some things about the history and things like that. Some drinks and snacks are included in the tour. From the Bridge you can then see the fireworks from Central Park, Brooklyn, Staten Island and New Jersey and you can also see the light show at the Empire State Building from there.
If I remember right it costs about $40 but its well worth it :)
What I don't recommend is Times Square unless you would like to stand there in the cold for hours just to be close enough to see the ball drop.
On Veterans day (11-November), a military parade marches up 5th avenue. Veterans from basically all wars the USA were involved with (you name them..) from WW2 up to Iraq are walking in this parade.
For Americans this parade will truly be different then for the foreign tourist. Foreign tourists will see a very nice piece of patriotism with lots of flags and klapping people included, screaming "thank you" to their troops. Don't expect to see all kinds of tanks and other big military equipment to pass by, these are mainly ex-soldiers who served their country, including some military jeeps, hummers and the old-aged have the privilege of sitting on a parade wagon or bus.
Macys Day Parade is the 4th thursday in November, Thanksgiving Day.
It's pretty cool because you see these huge floats being pulled down the street and they're surrounded by these 30, 50, 70 story buildings. And it moves faster than you think.
Every hour we stood in Times Square they had us counting down. The first time was when it turned 4:00. The numbers popped up on the jumbotron for us to count down, so we did. It even said "2004" at the end, but then it added to that "8 hours left until 2004". It helped pass the time because this way we were just looking forward to each hour striking to get us closer to the real thing. It was so exciting when it finally hit midnight.
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