The upcoming New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square will be "a virtually enhanced celebration," the event's organizers announced Wednesday.
With Jan. 1, 2021 now 100 days away, the organizers provided a preliminary teaser of how the event will change in response to the changes and challenges of 2020. Although the scaled-back and socially-distanced live elements are still to be determined, an extremely limited group of in-person honorees, socially distanced, who will reflect the themes, challenges and inspirations of 2020 will take part in the celebration.
Organizers said that the celebrations will be visually compelling and different from previous years, bringing the energy of Times Square and the ball drop digitally to viewers around the world.
"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,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“One thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year at midnight on December 31st,” said Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, which co-produces the event with Countdown Entertainment. “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.
According to organizers, as in past years, news, people and pop culture from the year will be woven into the celebration. “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. Through a limited number of honored guests we will note where we’ve been but more importantly we will honor and celebrate the courageous and creative spirits who have helped and will help us travel through these challenging times into the New Year,” said Tompkins.
Essential workers, doctors, nurses, medical staff, first responders, community leaders and others who have been at the forefront of the year's biggest issues will be honored.
More details will be shared in the future, with the ball drop just 100 days away starting Wednesday.
The annual New Year's celebration won't be the only city event that will look very different from past years, as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will also feature a very different look. The city's yearly Halloween celebrations will now feature a "spooky walk through the West Village," according to the city, and there will be a ceremonial motorcycle procession for Veteran's Day in lieu of a parade.