times square new years eve 2017 crowd
Photo: Getty Images

So you’re headed to the big Times Square New Year’s Eve 2017 festivities.


While we’re libel to assume that also means you’re a saintly, albeit slightly insane, person who loves humanity so much that you don’t mind ushering in the new year while crammed shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of other people in the cold — after you’ve stood on your aching feet for several hours — it also means there are some things you need to know. After all, you’ve seen the madness of Times Square New Year’s Eve 2017 celebrations on TV before and now you’re going to have to navigate it on foot.


(For those of you who want nothing to do with the Times Square New Year’s Eve 2017 insanity, you’ll also want to take notes about what areas of the city you should avoid and when for a calm transition from 2017 to 2018.)


Be prepared for some intense security in the area following the Times Square station bombing that happened earlier in the month. “Unprecedented” security measures will be taken through the entire area, according to CBS New York. That includes the closure of parking garages in the surrounding area and NYPD officers stationed in hotels throughout the area.


When does the Times Square New Year’s Eve 2017 ball drop?

You’re undoubtedly familiar with the ball’s final few seconds of the year, but the ball that’s front and center of the Times Square New Year’s Eve 2017 festivities starts dropping on December 31 at 11:59 p.m. EST. They’ll lift the ball into place earlier that same day at about 6:00 p.m. EST.


When do people start lining up for the Times Square New Year’s Eve 2017 festivities?

Surprisingly early considering there are no Port-a-Potties in the area for the people who get their first for the prime spots. The Times Square Alliance claims that people will start milling around for the big celebration starting around 3:00 p.m. — and that’s when traffic will also be affected — but to claim space close to the stages and the ball, people will probably start circling the area sooner.

Times Square New Years Eve 2017 Ball

Times Square New Year’s Eve 2017 street closures

While the streets surrounding Times Square will obviously be closed, there’s no exact time through traffic shuts down. According to the Times Square Alliance:

On December 31, the New York Police Department will begin closing down access to Times Square starting at 43rd Street and Broadway, and moving north as revelers arrive. The exact times that these blocks close to pedestrian and vehicular traffic will depend on when the revelers begin arriving. It is likely that there will be no vehicular traffic on either Broadway or Seventh Avenue as of approximately 3:00 p.m. Vehicles will most likely have difficulty traveling across town after 3:00 p.m. or earlier above 42nd Street and as far north as 59th Street. If you are planning to come to Times Square and join in the festivities, you are advised to enter from Sixth or Eighth Avenue. Your chance of getting a viewing spot near the Ball increases the earlier you arrive. The blocks will be closed off as they fill up northward, street-by-street, as the police deem necessary.

The entire area will be blocked off as far south as 38th Street and as north as 59th Street. But if you’re really determined to get into the mosh pit of New Year’s Eve revelers, use this list of the access points:

South of 41st Street

37th & 7th Ave
37th & Broadway
38th & 8th Ave
38th & 6th Ave

North of 43rd street

49th from 8th & 6th Ave
52nd from 8th & 6th Ave
54th from 6th Ave
55th from 8th Ave
57th from 7th Ave
57th from Broadway
58th from 8th & 6th Ave
59th from 8th & 6th Ave

Times Square New Year’s Eve 2017 MTA info

There are obviously two factors here: First, that there are, of course, service changes for a big event like the New Year’s Eve ball drop; second, it’s the MTA and there might be more unexpected changes in service or, you know, delays.

If you’re taking the subway to get to the festivities — as well you should since Uber, Lyft and the buses won’t be able to get anywhere near the area — be prepared to walk for a bit to get there. (But you’re already wearing comfortable shoes for all that standing around anyway, right?)

Times Square New Years Eve 2017 Confetti

No, you’re not going to be able to use the 42nd Street - Times Square stop. “The MTA has advised revelers not to use the 42nd Street Subway Station on New Year's Eve due to crowding conditions - you are advised to exit at one of the surrounding stations and enter Times Square on foot,” the Times Square Alliance has informed perspective partiers. For reference, your closest stops will be 49th Street on the N, Q, and R; 50th Street on the C; and 59th Street - Columbus Circle on the 1, A, C and D.

But before you leave, make sure to check the Weekender to find out about any last-minute service changes, delays or breakdowns.