Come early, travel light, expect lots of cops for New Year’s Eve in Times Square

A New York City police officer is covered with confetti in Times Square in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, as people take part in the New Year's celebration. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

More than a million people will pack into Times Square Tuesday night for New Year’s Eve, and once again, the NYPD is pulling out all stops to keep the partygoers safe and secure.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and top NYPD officials outlined their New Year’s Eve security measures during a One Police Plaza press conference Friday. 

Thousands of officers, in uniform and plainclothes, will converge upon Times Square to guard against any possible threat to the celebration. They’ll come from all units, from Counter-terrorism to Technical Assistance and Response, Aviation and Harbor, Canine and Mounted, and much more. State and federal law enforcement agents are also teaming with the NYPD as part of the New Year’s security effort.

“The experience of ringing in the New Year in New York City is remarkable, and I commend the thousands of members of the NYPD for their own remarkable undertaking in ensuring the safety of those celebrating,” Shea said. “Working closely with our law enforcement partners, the NYPD routinely does a great job planning and securing large-scale events around New York City. This collaboration is critical in carrying out our mission of delivering a safe and enjoyable event.”

If you’re planning to visit Times Square to the end of one decade and the arrival of the next, the NYPD’s best advice is this: come early, and travel light.

All attendees will be screened by security officials. Backpacks, large bags, umbrellas and alcoholic beverages are banned, and no one will be allowed to leave property at checkpoints. Anyone who leaves the viewing area before the ball drops will not be allowed to return to their original spot.

At 11 a.m. Tuesday, cops will direct attendees to 65 separate viewing pens to celebrate and watch the ball drop into 2020. Revelers will be situated along Broadway and Seventh Avenue, from 43rd Street to Central Park. 

The access points to these pens will be located at Sixth and Eighth Avenues at 38th, 49th, 52nd, 58th and 59th Streets; at the corner of Sixth Avenue at 54th Street; and Eighth Avenue at 55th Street.

Whether you’re heading to Manhattan for the ball drop or anything else on New Year’s Eve, the NYPD advises everyone to use public transit.

Along with closing all of Times Square to vehicular traffic at 4 a.m. Tuesday. Starting as early as 11 a.m., the NYPD will also close crosstown streets from 38th to 56th Streets, between Sixth and Eighth Avenues. Truck restrictions will also be in place along Sixth and Eighth between those points, Chief of Department Terence Monahan said.

Depending on the crowd size, Monahan added, the street closures may extend up to 59th Street.

There are currently no major threats against the city, cops said, but police are also encouraging everyone to stay vigilant. Report any suspicious activity to a police officer or 911. You can also report tips to the NYPD Terrorism Hotline at 888-NYC-SAFE.

The current forecast for Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service, calls for clear skies and above-average temperatures.

Robert Pozarycki