New York officials have canceled Times Square’s annual New Year’s Eve countdown celebration amid fears that crowds could further spread the virus, leaving the city bidding farewell to 2020 quietly.
The iconic New Year’s Eve celebration in NYC’s Time Square is among the most anticipated and biggest in the world, drawing over a million people to the streets of midtown Manhattan.
However, this year, Times Square will be closed off by the NYPD on December 31st, with organizers of the event planning a scaled-back virtual celebration to allow revelers to view the countdown from the comfort of their homes.
In a ‘preliminary teaser’ of what was to come on New Year’s Eve, the Alliance said that watching the famous ball come down to welcome 2021 will be an online affair.
Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, told the New York Post that ‘There will be a very finite number of people in Times Square to sort of make that happen for the broadcast purposes but there’s not going to be crowds of the general public.’
Bill de Blasio, NYC’s current mayor, said in a statement, ‘People all over the globe are ready to join New Yorkers in welcoming in the new year with the iconic Ball Drop. I commend the Times Square Alliance, Jamestown, and Countdown Entertainment on finding a safe, creative and innovative way for all of us to continue to celebrate this century-old tradition.’
Jamestown, which owns One Times Square, has created a virtual world of the famous commercial intersection and an app dedicated to broadcasting the New Year’s Eve Ball drop. The app will allow individuals from around the globe to experience the moment at home.
Tompkins said that ‘One thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year at midnight on December 31st.’
‘No one needs to be reminded of what the dominant news of 2020 has been so far: COVID-19 and a host of racial, economic and climate crises. Through a limited number of honored guests we will note where we’ve been but more importantly we will honor and celebrate the courageous and creative spirits who have helped and will help us travel through these challenging times into the New Year,’ he explained.