With New Year’s Eve right around the corner, organizers were making last-minute adjustments to the famous ball on Sunday, and preparing for the unique lineup of performances that millions of Americans will watch from home Thursday night.
The famous celebration is expected to draw about 1 million revelers to Times Square, aided by the unseasonably warm temperatures, with even more watching at home, said Jeffrey Straus, the president of Countdown Entertainment and the co-producer of the event.
“I’ve been doing this for 21 years and I can’t remember a year when we’ve had this kind of weather here in New York. So I expect a huge turnout but, of course, you can only fit so many people into Times Square,” Straus said on Sunday, standing on top of 1 Times Square where the famous ball was being fitted with the final crystals. “It really is about watching us on TV and online where over 180 million Americans will be watching Times Square [on] New Year’s Eve, counting down with us in unison those final seconds, joined by a billion people around the world. There’s nothing else like it.”
Straus said this year’s performances will span a range of styles and genres, including a Chinese cultural dance and everyone from Carrie Underwood to Demi Lovato.
Singer Jessie J. will perform John Lennon’s “Imagine” at midnight, along with some of her own hits like “Bang Bang” and “Domino, he said.
But let’s be honest: The weather is the story. As of Sunday night, the temperature on New Year’s Eve was expected to hit a high of around 52 degrees during the day, with a nighttime low of about 36, according to the National Weather Service.
There is a 40% chance of rain during the day, with partly cloudy skies expected at night.
“I can remember when I had a water bottle that froze solid one year as I was freezing out in the square,” Straus said. “I’ve never had a year when I didn’t have to have a coat. It’s just fantastic.”
The ball is raised to the top -- about 470 feet above Times Square -- at 6 p.m., said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square alliance and co-producer of the celebration.
“That’s really our opening ceremony at the beginning of the evening,” he said, adding it’s only the start of a long night. “Decades ago the ceremony was literally one minute long. The ball dropped and that was it, and people stood around. Now it’s a six hour live performance.”
More than one ton of confetti will be dropped in Times Square when the clock hits midnight, according to the Times Square Alliance, with revelers packing the area around Broadway all the way north to 59th Street.