Again I was soaking up the opportunity to snap pictures as we went over on the tram.
We made our way through midtown. We were worried that it would take a while to get through security, since they shut Times Square down at 3:00. We actually got through with no problem. Our hotel was 10 blocks north of Times Square and we came at it from the north, heading a little south and over west. We passed a few barriers, but no one was there to check us, our bag, or our bag of wine/champagne. We were lucky. We were early enough that the crowd hadn't backed up to 10 blocks away, which is why they didn't care to stop us. My cousin, who did get a hotel for her and her 2 friends came through about an hour after us. She had a heck of time getting through the guards saying "we're just going a few blocks over to our hotel" Since they had booked online they didn't have a paper confirmation and had to call the hotel, have them email them proof, which they then showed to the guards via blackberry.
Once we made it to our hotel, we went up to the 7th floor (which is where the lobby was - and balcony) and checked in. We had to wait a little bit because they hadn't finished cleaning the room. I guess they were some pilots that checked out late - which is lucky for us because a room became available. So we waited about 5 minutes, got our keys, our wrist bands (very important to have if you want to leave the hotel and walk around down on the streets), and headed up to our room on the 21st floor. Oh I almost forgot, before we headed up to the room we took a wander out onto the balcony to check out the view from out there
Patty had said most times their rooms aren't facing Broadway, which is no big deal since there's a large balcony to watch the ball drop. But as we made it to our room there was a little ad in the key card slot saying "enjoy your views of times square" I thought to myself "no way!". And sure enough we opened the door ran to the window and THERE was Times Square!
We got settled in, made family calls and enjoyed our hotel room view
We watched the street as the people started to trickle in. The streets were blocked off, and every so often the police officers would open up the gates and move groups forward. Not sure what their strategy was, but it was fun watching from above.
And watched on TV as well. There was a count down every hour. We got their six hours before midnight and saw the '6 hrs to go' countdown, not sure how long before that it started.
Then about 5:00 they bring out the BALL! It stays up year round, but they take it down right before New Years Eve (not sure when - but I did find this cool website with info all about the Times Square Ball). Anyway so we hear all this screamin' going on outside (we have the window open cuz we can hear all the commotion outside - even though it's cold) and we look out to see a big celebration going on as the ball is getting raised to it's place.
As this is going on, Celine calls and they are almost to the hotel. Once they get there, they find out their room isn't ready either. So instead of just waiting in the lobby, they come up to our room to hang out. We hang out for a bit, they finally get into their room about 45 minutes or so later. And Kyle and I decide to head out onto the street to get something to eat. There was one deli, cattie-corner from our hotel, and of course it was really the only place to eat. We didn't want to west because we'd have to pass through security at 8th & 52nd and there was a forever long line to get back through. So we just went to this deli, which was HOPPIN! Everyone was getting stuff to eat, and the guy behind the counter was checking people out at record speeds! We passed all the people stuck being the gates.
Which if you look to the left of that picture above you can see a truck, on top of this truck was a HUGE tv screen (maybe about 12 or 15 feet)! If I were them I'd just wait there and not want to move up any further, since they have a wonderful view of the screen. But instead they were all chanting "move us up! move us up!"
Once we got back up to our room, ate our food, and took a little nap, we went down to Celine's room to join them for a bit. They lucked out with a Times Square view room as well, on the 18th floor, just a few rooms over from us. Once there we got to see the final 'practice' 30 second countdown. We watched some of the Rockin' Eve show on TV, watched Ke$ha smash the bunny piñata (???) and I think that Bieber kid sing. I can't remember all the groups we watched, but it was quite entertaining making fun of them :-P
The streets were getting pretty packed in as they slowly opened up the gates one by one to get people closer to the ball.
We headed down to the lobby/balcony at about 11:30. As we walked through the lobby we saw everyone was VERY dressed up. Suits, evening gowns... much more dressy than Kyle and I in our jeans and sweaters. We're glad we went out to the balcony when we did because it began to fill up.
Kyle was so funny saying how it was hard having to wait 30 minutes and that the people down right at Times Square have been waiting for over 12 hours.
Then the countdown began!
Happy NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!
Once the balcony cleared out I went up to the edge to get a few more pictures.
The streets sure clear out FAST!
Kyle and I decided to go get a few more snacks at the deli and to go experience the 'after party street atmosphere'. Really by the time we got down there it was pretty cleared out. There was a strew of 5 or so cops on horses right outside our hotel. Just standing there getting their pictures taken with people.
And here is the ginormous TV screen I mentioned.
After we got some snacks, we went back up to our hotel room, vegged out and called it a night.