Everybody has to go once. Here's everybody. Over a million people jam "Times Square," which I put in quotes because the crowds go well over a mile away by midnight. Advice for when you go: Make your way up to roughly 49th St., head over to 7th Ave. or Broadway at around 3 PM, and ask a police officer where to enter Times Square. That should get you right in front of the ball.
Being as close to the action as the TV van? Good thing, considering I was wandering for an hour trying to find the right entrance to not be shooed away.
The sun goes down, the crowd gets cold. Bring food, because the selections are limited and expensive. Bring games, bring friends, and most importantly, bring a large bladder. If you leave your spot, you're not getting back. The building to the west of Times Square has its own ball that quiesces over time but isn't all that interesting to look at. And the clock is several minutes fast, which gets very frustrating at 11:57.
I botched the video of the ball going up because I frankly couldn't see where it was rising from, and there were fake glowing balls at street level (DO NOT MAKE A JOKE ABOUT THAT) that got my attention. Compare to the previous photo till you see it. See? Not easy. And I had no time to look.
Here's the 2011 ball, tricked out with LEDs that can display colors and patterns for probably millennia without duplication.
Every hour, Times Square celebrated another new year for another slice of the world. The big Toshiba screen even celebrated Newfoundland at 10:30, but no countdown, cheering, or confetti. Or fireworks, but that doesn't begin with 'c.'
Midnight arrives, and you can click to count down to it with me!
The aftermath - and then I hightailed it across barricades, crowds, snow, and traffic to catch a bus out. I'd love to stay and party, but not when I have nowhere to sleep.