Face it. Nowhere else in the world rocks New Year's Eve like New York City does. Here are just a few of the many events you can attend to ring in 2015, whether you are looking for a full-out party, or something a little more low key:
New Year’s Eve in Times Square: Obviously, it’s the place to be! Since 1907, a sparkly sphere has been lowered in Times Square, and even though the rest of the country has adopted the tradition, New York can still lay claim to it. Arrive by 3pm (earlier if the weather is nice) to stake out a spot in the Broadway–Seventh Avenue bowtie, and be prepared to stay put: There are no public restrooms or food vendors, and leaving means giving up your spot. It may sound like no fun, but this is really the best kind of holiday masochism, and your endurance will be rewarded with performances held across two stages, beginning at 6pm. A burst of pyrotechnics from One Times Square, every hour on the hour through 11pm, should whet the appetite for the ball drop at a minute to midnight. The geodesic sphere (11,875 pounds, 12 feet across and covered with 2,688 Waterford crystal triangles and 32, 256 LEDs) descends 70 feet before an almighty 60-second fireworks display of more than 3,000 colorful effects and confetti is released into the city sky.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Prospect Park: Bundle up for a free, low-key New Year’s Eve with hot beverages and fireworks sparkling over Park Slope. Live music starts at around 11 p.m. at Grand Army Plaza, where you can also snag a free cup of hot cocoa. At midnight, fireworks will go off at Long Meadow; the best vantage points are at Grand Army Plaza, inside the park on West Drive and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and 9th Street.
New Year’s Eve Meditation: The Kadampa Meditation Center in Chelsea offers a serene alternative to the flashy excesses of New Year's Eve in NYC. You'll start the evening snacking on hors d'oeuvres, then sit for resident teacher Kadam Morten leading the Buddha of Compassion practice (prayers, mantras, meditation). You'll finish the night setting intentions for the coming year and toasting 2014 with a booze-free beverage. Cruise into New Year's Day with your dignity intact? How very civilized.
Brooklyn Bowl New Year’s Eve: Bowling on New Year's Eve? It's an entirely novel way to celebrate the turn of the calendar. This year might as well split. (Sorry, we couldn't help ourselves. )
New Year’s Eve Party Ride: Grassroots environmental organization Time’s Up organizes this under-the-stars bike ride, which begins in Washington Square Park (and a few satellite locations) and ends at Central Park’s Belvedere Castle at 11:45pm. Participants are encouraged to wear festive outfits and bring treats for the outdoor after-party.
Dr. Phil’s Brooklyn Bridge Walk Into the New Year: Guides trained by historian and tour leader Dr. Phil (not that one) organize multiple groups to take in the New Year from the iconic landmark. After tidbits about the bridge are revealed, all the tours will pause to scan the skyline for midnight fireworks. To book tickets call 888-377-4455 or visit nycwalks.com. Meet in front of McDonald's, 160 Broadway between Cortlandt and Liberty Sts. Tours depart 10:15–11:15pm.