Thousands travel to New York City every year on New Year's Eve to watch the ball drop in Times Square. But if large crowds and noisemakers aren't your ideas of fun, you can still partake in something truly New York: walking across the Brooklyn Bridge on New Year's Eve. Here are some tips to make your walk safe and enjoyable so you can start off the new year right.
Best Time to Walk the Bridge on New Year's Eve
You can go at any time, but if seeing fireworks is your main goal, you'll want to begin your journey well before midnight. From the bridge, you'll be able to see the fireworks in New York Harbor near Liberty Island. You'll also see fireworks off in the distance, for example, Staten Island
Things to Look for on New Year's Eve
The main attraction is the Empire State Building, which is cast in special hues for the occasion. Also, look for the silhouette of lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan Bridge, the Williamsburg Bridge, the Chrysler Building, and the traffic on East River Drive.
Distance From the Brooklyn Bridge to Prospect Park Fireworks
Brooklyn's New Year's Eve fireworks are in Prospect Park in the Park Slope neighborhood. Grand Army Plaza at the entrance to Prospect Park is where you'll find the festivities and entertainment before the fireworks display. It would take almost an hour to walk there from the Brooklyn Bridge. But you can hop on a subway from the Clark Street or Borough Hall stations (both in Brooklyn Heights, not far from the Brooklyn Bridge) and arrive in Park Slope in less than 20 minutes, assuming the trains aren't too packed to get on board.
Is It Safe?
Probably. The crime rate in New York City has declined, and the city is generally safe if you use your street smarts. That means not flashing expensive jewelry, watches, and cameras in public, crowded places. It also means not being inebriated.
If you believe in safety in numbers, take comfort in the fact that there will be crowds on the bridge to see the New York Harbor fireworks display. The bridge will also probably be full of revelers all evening if the weather is good. The pedestrian walkway to the Brooklyn Bridge is lit, and people do walk it at night at their own risk. There will be police in the area, but should you walk it at 3 a.m.? The Big Apple is a big city, so use your best judgment.
How Cold Is It?
It's usually cold in December, and when you're on the Brooklyn Bridge, you're exposed to the wind. Dress warmly if you don't want to freeze.
Can You Drink Champagne on the Brooklyn Bridge?
It's illegal to drink alcohol in public in New York City. (That's why in old movies, winos and drunkards always carried their bottle hidden in a brown paper bag.) The New York police department may or may not enforce this on New Year's Eve. Drink at your own risk.
Can I Wear High Heels on the Brooklyn Bridge?
You might want to forgo vanity for practicality if you're walking the Brooklyn Bridge. The pedestrian walkway is made of wood, and it would be easy for a heel to get stuck. Consider putting some cute shoes in your bag to change into after you cross the bridge.
Will There Be Protests on New Year's Eve?
You never know; the Brooklyn Bridge is New York City's most historic protest bridge, after all.
Getting Back to Brooklyn
See directions to DUMBO here.
Guided Tours of the Brooklyn Bridge
Walking tours are always fun. Check out the special Brooklyn Bridge Walk Into the New Year Tour led by NY Walks and Talks (646- 844 -4578).