A Brand-New New Year’s Ball, Performing Arts Offerings, and Luxurious Hotel Packages and Dinner Options Make City the Destination of Choice for Visitors and Residents Alike

New York City (December 12, 2008) When the ball drops every December 31 in Times Square, the world’s eyes are squarely on New York City. This year will be no exception. With a new 12-foot-high, 11,875-pound New Year’s Ball (double the size of previous balls), covered in 2,668 Waterford crystals and powered by 32,356 Philips LUXEON Rebel LED lights, the new ball will create a spectacular and colorful kaleidoscope effect atop One Times Square. Beyond the exciting countdown moment featuring the new ball, arts and cultural organizations plan to roll out unique entertainment options for visitors and residents to enjoy. Hotels throughout the City are also putting their best foot forward to offer New Year’s packages and dining options that will entice even the most discriminating traveler. NYC & Company, the city’s marketing, tourism and partnership organization, has assembled a roster of activities to encourage visitors and locals to take advantage of what the City has to offer on Dec. 31.

“New York City is an iconic destination to visit on New Year’s Eve,” said George Fertitta, CEO of NYC & Company, the City’s marketing, tourism and partnership organization. “This year’s new ball reflects the vibrancy and excitement of New York City itself. In addition, we have great performing arts options and hotel packages to encourage visitors and residents to choose New York City as the place to be on December 31.”

The best viewing points for the ball drop are along Broadway, from 43rd Street to 50th Street, and along Seventh Avenue, as far north as 59th Street. At approximately 6pm, the ball will be raised to the top of the flagpole and lit. At exactly 11:59pm, the ball will begin its 60-second descent down the flagpole to signal the start of the New Year.

After making its debut on New Year’s Eve, the new ball will be on permanent display atop One Times Square. Visitors will now have one more reason to visit the “Crossroads of the World” throughout the year. More information is available at Visitors can also take advantage of some of the City’s best performing arts options on December 31.

At the Metropolitan Opera, visitors can take in the premiere of the Puccini opera La Rondine, directed by Nicolas Joël (running time is two hours and 15 minutes). Opera’s charismatic real-life duo—Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna—provides the star power to deliver this ravishing romance from the world’s most popular opera composer. The gala black-tie evening begins with the highly anticipated La Rondine at 8pm, followed by dinner and dancing in the company of the cast on the Mercedes T. Bass Grand Tier. A festive celebration at midnight will help ring in the New Year.

The New York Philharmonic is also celebrating the New Year with a special performance by acclaimed mezzo-soprano Susan Graham. She will be joined by the New York Philharmonic under the direction of conductor Lorin Maazel. The program includes "L’Amour est un oiseau rebelle" (Habanera) and "Près des remparts de Séville" (Seguidilla) from Act I of Bizet's Carmen; the “Composer's Aria” from R. Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos; and “Vilja” from Lehár's The Merry Widow. The performance lasts one-and-a-half hours and takes place at Avery Fisher Hall, at the northern end of Lincoln Center Plaza.

The Big Apple Circus will present a New Year’s Eve performance at 9:30pm. Taking place in a tent at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park (62nd Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues), the two-hour show, called Play On!, will delight both children and adults. Following the show, the circus company will provide goodie bags, including streamers, noisemakers and clown noses, to the audience; there will also be champagne for adults and cider for the kids. Dancing will also be offered in the circus ring.

The City’s hotels are also rolling out the red carpet to accommodate travelers. For example, the Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park, is providing a posh alternative to the Times Square festivities. Joining with Bay Fireworks, the hotel will offer the New Year’s Eve Fireworks Package, including overnight luxury accommodations in a Harbor View guest room with a view of the fireworks; dinner for two at the hotel’s 2 West restaurant (with a four-course prix-fixe menu, excluding alcohol, at a 6:30pm seating), a bottle of champagne and strawberries in each room, and breakfast for two in 2 West on New Year’s Day. The New Year’s Eve Fireworks Package is priced at $985 per couple, not including tax and gratuity (a non-refundable three-day advance payment is required).

Another grand hotel package is the Celebrate Package, offered at the five W hotels of New York. New Year’s Eve guests get great party favors and treats, including a W custom-designed 2009 calendar, a bottle of champagne, the W disposable camera to capture your experience, Bliss Baggage Handler (a post-party Bliss Spa eye brightening cream) and a late 2pm checkout.

Other hotels are offering memorable entertainment and dining options during the countdown to 2009:

The Mandarin Oriental New York is offering visitors and residents access to its 35th floor Lobby Lounge on New Year’s Eve with a special evening of live music, dancing, passed hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast and party favors. Cover charge is $200, including the toast (additional food and beverage not included). The Mandarin’s chic bar, MObar, will also host New Year’s festivities with hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast and party favors to ring in 2009. The cover charge is $120 per person (additional food and beverage not included). Reservation requests for these events for those who are not hotel guests will be taken beginning December 29 by calling 212-805-8800, extension 8224. Limited reservations are also still available at the hotel’s elegant restaurant, Asiate, for their first seating between 5:30–6pm, which will feature a four-course prix fixe dinner for $125. For reservations, dial 212-805-8881.

Those wanting to celebrate New Year’s Eve ’80s style can head to the trendy Soho Grand Hotel. Hosted by Jon “JD” Daly, with special guest DJs Shawn Regruto and Chris Sealey, dress for the evening is ’80s glam. From 9pm till late, visitors can clink their champagne glasses and dine in splendor as the City rings in 2009; the $150 minimum can be met through food or beverage purchases.

Sister to the Soho Grand, the Tribeca Grand, will show off a replica of the original Times Square ball in its spectacular eight-story atrium, with a glamorous, formal-dress cocktail party in Church Lounge. General admission is $125 with open premium bar from 9pm–1am. Passed hors d’oeuvres and desserts will be served from 9–11:30pm. Reserved and premium seating are available at a higher cost. For more information, call 212-519-6632

The 55-story Millenium Hilton, located downtown at 55 Church Street, is offering a special New Year’s Eve menu at Church & Dey for just $55 a person plus tax and gratuity. Church & Dey is an American brasserie offering an eclectic menu featuring authentic regional cuisine with an emphasis on seafood.

The Algonquin Hotel is offering a recession-friendly opportunity to ring in the New Year. Guests can enjoy the hotel’s historic lobby and famed drink menu—there’s no cover charge or minimum purchase. The hotel’s Round Table Room restaurant will offer a three-course meal with a champagne toast for $100.

To plan your visit to New York City for New Year's Eve or any other time, log on to

Kimberly Spell
NYC & Company
tel 212 484 1270

Chris Heywood
NYC & Company
tel 212 484 1270

About NYC & Company
NYC & Company is the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for the City of New York, dedicated to maximizing travel and tourism opportunities throughout the five boroughs, building economic prosperity and spreading the positive image of New York City worldwide.