Boston officials Wednesday promised safety would be foremost for First Night celebrations on New Year’s Eve.
At a time when terror attacks have cities on edge – NYC police recently contacted Boston after a vague threat against the city via a 911 call, which has since been deemed not credible – officials vowed a big security presence for celebrations on Thursday and Friday.
“We have a good plan in place and we’re going to have plenty of police visibility out there. … We’ll be out there in force making sure everyone has a great night,” Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference, adding, “There is nothing out there to indicate we have any threat to the city.”
There will be increased patrols – plainclothes and undercover – on the street and in MBTA platforms, in addition to bomb-sniffing dogs and other “hidden assets,” Evans said. He declined to share the number of officers who would be deployed for the events.
He said his department has been planning ahead for the downtown core, but “more importantly,” officers will be patrolling in other Boston neighborhoods which can see an uptick in crime on New Year’s Eve.
Evans also discouraged people from bringing backpacks or coolers to the festivities and urged that everyone abstain from drinking in public.
MBTA Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green echoed Evans’ message.
“First Night is a family-oriented event. The consumption of alcohol and or unruly behavior will not be tolerated,” he said of those commuting on the T. “Act responsibly and be respectful to one another.”
Boston Fire Commissioner Joe Finn said his department would be monitoring fireworks and would have “additional resources” at nightclubs and public places to enforce compliance with fire code.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he was confident First Night would go smoothly, just as other high-attendance events such as tree lightings have gone this season.
“Have fun, be safe but also be smart,” Walsh said in a Wednesday afternoon news conference. “We want to end the year on a great note here.”
Gov. Charlie Baker addressed First Night security with news station WCVB on Monday.
“Our message to people has basically been pretty similar to the message we’ve had out ever since Paris, which has been constant dialogue, constant conversation and significant presence at any large gathering,” Baker said.
Other First Night things to know:
If you’re taking the T to the big night, here are some things to know about the NYE schedule.
Drivers, beware the road closures and take advantage of a First Night parking app partnership.
And here’s a helpful guide on what (and where) you should eat on Dec. 31.
- The fireworks over the Harbor start at midnight, there is a family-friendly fireworks display starting at 7 p.m. on the Common.
- All events are free this year, which means there’s no need to go out and buy a “button” to get access to festivities.
- New this year, the celebration includes something called a “New Year Pyrotechnics and Countdown” in Copley Square on the roof of the Fairmont Copley Hotel. “A new tradition is beginning,” organizers wrote on the First Night website.
The emphasis on Copley Square is new as well, as event planners Conventures take the lead in planning the events, which used to be run by the city.
“What is fundamentally different about First Night this year is that we are focusing everything into our iconic Copley Square,” Conventures President Dusty Rhodes said at the news conference.
Here's the full schedule, complete with music, dancing and lots of puppets.