New York City’s Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball Drop Going Virtual Due To Pandemic


Happy Distanced New Year. The iconic ball drop celebration in New York’s Times Square will go virtual this year, organizers announced today.

“More than ever in these divided and fear-filled times, the world desperately needs to come together symbolically and virtually to celebrate the people and things we love and to look forward with a sense of renewal and new beginnings,” said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, co-producer of the event with Countdown Entertainment, in a statement.

“One thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year at midnight on December 31st,” said Tompkins. “But this year there will be significantly new and enhanced virtual, visual and digital offerings to complement whatever limited live entertainment or experiences – still in development – will take place in Times Square. And because any opportunity to be live in Times Square will be pre-determined and extremely limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be the opportunity to participate virtually wherever you are.”

A brief video tweeted by the Alliance added, “Times Square New Year’s Eve 2021 is happening visually, virtually, safely. Stay tuned.” (Watch it below.)

The event is the second major New York event announcing plans to go virtual in recent weeks, following the decision of organizers of the annual Greenwich Village Halloween Parade to do so.

Tompkins told reporters today that the event will feature an extremely limited number of “honored” guests in the scaled-down, virtual celebration. Gone will be the massive crowds filling Times Square. “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,” Tompkins said.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio 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 Properties, and Countdown Entertainment on finding a safe, creative and innovative way for all of us to continue to celebrate this century old-tradition. A new year means a fresh start, and we’re excited to celebrate.”

Additional details are forthcoming, with a ticking banner at the website cryptically flashing the dates October 5, 10 and 15.

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