For many, ringing in the new year at New York’s iconic Times Square, sits high on their bucket list of travel destinations. The history of the ball drop and the energy generated by one million people in this space is electrifying. The idea of confetti raining down as everyone joins in a chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” sounds magical. But the dream of this great moment in time is quickly thwarted by two realities.  First, it is winter time in New York, so rain, wind and snow may dampen the jubilant atmosphere. Second, the idea of standing for several hours with little or no opportunity to use a bathroom is not appealing. These reasons are often cited as to why this bucket list item rarely gets fulfilled.

Now, imagine being in Times Square for New Years, but inside, enjoying a premium bar, Chef’s Selection Buffet & Passed hors d’oeuvres, and assorted desserts table while, dancing to the beats of a different DJ on 3 floors, a view of the people on the streets shivering, and the ability to use the bathroom at will. Just minutes before the ball drops, walk a few steps onto the street in Times Square to get a front view of the ball drop, and join in on the countdown as you partake in the frenzy. Sounds too good to be true, right? We have lived this dreamy experience and although our top choice has sadly closed you can still enjoy this amazing experience at the largest Applebee’s in the world. 

Applebees is located on 50th street on the corner of 7th Avenue and Broadway. This location offers a fun and comfortable way to enjoy the new year festivities with family and friends. 

Where should I stay?

NYC is full of all kinds of accommodations for any price range.  For this particular event we would recommend these three hotels:

Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel – a nice hotel and very convenient.  It is literally right across the street from Rosie O’Gradys.  Close to Central Park, Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, MOMA and Fifth Avenue high end shopping.

Courtyard by Marriott New York Manhattan/Central Park – a good hotel and three blocks from Rosie O’Gradys.  Close to Central Park, Broadway, and Carnegie Diner and Cafe.

Stewart Hotel NYC – For those who plan on staying for more than just New Year’s Eve and want something a bit more centrally located, but not as convenient to Rosie O’Grady’s.  It is directly across from Penn Station, Madison Square Garden, close to the Empire State Building and easy access to other parts of the city.  But this is a farther walk to Rosie O’Gradys.

How do I reserve a seat or table? 

There are two sites to buy tickets BallDrop and NYCNewYears. These sites provide other ways to enjoy NYE in NYC such as a cruise or a rooftop.

How to get to Applebees?

People start gathering in Times Square as early as 6am, and the mass grows steadily during the day. The restaurant is located on the corner of 7th Avenue and Broadway. The entrance for New Years festivities is located on 50th Street. From our experience, we highly recommend using 8th Avenue or 9th Avenue to work your way to the venue. After 6pm, walking through or across 7th Avenue, south of 54th Street or north of 38th Street, can be difficult, if not impossible. Once the block is full of guests, the police block anyone from entering. Additionally, if you are on 6th or 5th Avenues, you may have to walk several blocks north or south in order to find an opening to cut across 7th Avenue.  Ensure you have your tickets as these not only get you into the venue but also past the police barricades.

How long does the event run?

The doors open at 7 p.m. and guests are able to enjoy dancing, dining, and drinks until 12 a.m. 

What can I expect at the venue?

A couple hundred soon to be friends, will be eating, drinking and dancing and soon enough raising champagne glasses and toasting to the new year, and to new friendships. Each floor has different genres of music playing and you are able to mix and mingle as the music moves you. A generous helping of party favors is on every table.

What food and drinks are served? 

A full service bar serves premium cocktails, wine and beer throughout the evening. A sampling of the menu:

How do we see the Ball Drop? 

In my mind, this is what makes this experience so special and unique. Around 11:45 pm, you will be escorted to the street with access to a live front view of the ball drop. It may be snowing or raining, either way, it will most certainly be cold, so make sure to take your coat outside. Join in on the countdown and revel in the fireworks and singing as 1,000,000 friends ring in the new year singing Auld Lang Syne. Sip some champagne and smile knowing you were able to check this off your travel bucket list without having to stand outside for 12 or more hours in whatever weather the Big Apple spit out that day.

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