Times Square will again host the biggest New Year’s Eve party in the world on Friday night with the famous ball drop to ring in 2022.
Even with a scaled down crowd size amid the pandemic, upwards of 15,000 masked, vaccinated revelers are expected be in attendance for the ball drop as well as a star-studded concert leading up to the big moment.
Here’s what you need to know about New Year’s Eve in Times Square this year.
Later start time
The festivities will get under way at 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, Dec. 31, three hours later than its usual start time to try and limit the crowd size amid the ongoing Omicron-fueled COVID-19 pandemic.
If you want to attend, you must present a valid photo ID as well as your COVID-19 vaccination card indicating that you’ve been fully vaccinated. Those medically ineligible to receive the vaccine must offer valid proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event. All spectators must be masked.
At 6 p.m., the Times Square Alliance will light the New Year’s Eve ball and raise it above One Times Square with an opening ceremony featuring a Chinese cultural dance performance from Henan, China, organized by the Sino-American Friendship Association.
Leading up to the ball drop, spectators will get to enjoy a variety of entertainment on the Planet Fitness and Countdown stages set up in Times Square, with actor/TV personalities Jonathan Bennett and Jeremy Hassell hosting the festivities.
The lineup includes The USO Show Troupe, performing songs such as “Stand by You,” “Empire State of Mind” and a military salute to the Armed Forces.
Liza Koshy will also lead up a “fitacular” dance performance presented by Planet Fitness, one of the event’s primary sponsors.
Revelers will also get to enjoy an array of news reel footage from The Associated Press highlighting the biggest stories and events of 2021.
The stars will come out after 8 p.m. on Dec. 31 as part of ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest,” with performances by Chlöe, Journey and Karol G.
LL Cool J was initially scheduled to perform, but on Thursday, he dropped out after testing positive for COVID-19.
The 11 p.m. hour will feature appearances by the 2021 MLS Cup Champions New York City Football Club, who earlier this month became the first New York pro sports team in a decade to win a league championship.
Singer/songwriter KT Tunstall will also take the stage to perform her chart-topping tunes “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” and “Suddenly I See.”
The big moment
Tunstall will also sing John Lennon’s “Imagine” right before the ball drop starts at approximately 11:59 p.m.
At that moment, outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio — in his final act as the city’s chief executive — will help push the Waterford Crystal button that begins the ball’s descent at One Times Square. Fireworks and streams of confetti will burst into the air as the ball hits bottom, at 12 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2022, signaling the arrival of the new year.
Where to watch
If you can’t make it to Times Square, celebrate the new year with family and friends at home by watching it on ABC, NY1 and/or the Times Square Alliance’s webcast, which begins at 6 p.m. For more information, visit tsq.org/nye.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.