Times Square's Big New Year's Eve Bash Will Be Scaled Back This Year With a Virtual Ball Drop

Though it comes as no surprise, New York City's annual New Year's Eve celebration will officially be much more scaled back this year. In lieu of the big ball-drop party — typically attended by one million spectators — the Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment, which coproduce the event, will instead offer virtual components with some socially distanced live elements.

"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," said Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins. He went on to note how an app will allow viewers to virtually participate and witness the ball drop from home, adding, "The world desperately needs to come together symbolically and virtually to celebrate the people and things we love and to look forward with a sense of renewal and new beginnings."

There will still, however, be some in-person guests, including essential workers, first responders, and famous entertainers. Tompkins said, "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."