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NYPD: Don't Try to Come to Times Square This NYE

Only a few dozen spectators will be allowed at ball drop
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2020 9:50 AM CST
Times Square Ball Drop Is Happening, Minus Crowds
In this Jan. 1, 2020, photo, confetti falls at midnight on the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration in New York.   (Photo by Ben Hider/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – After fears earlier this year that this would be the first New Year's Eve without a Times Square ball drop since 1943, the New York City tradition is going ahead—but police are urging the public to stay away. The only onlookers permitted will be a few dozen front-line workers and their families, who will watch from socially distanced "pens" on the streets, the New York Times reports. With no crowds, the NYPD has reduced the workforce assigned to the area by 80%, though officers will still be deployed to keep people out of the "frozen zone" and the normal anti-terror precautions will be taken, per WPIX. Police say onlookers hoping to watch the ball drop will be moved along.

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"If you think you're going to be able to stand there and watch the ball, you're mistaken," says NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan, per ABC7. "Don't come. Watch it [at] home. It'll be a spectacular television show. Next year, we'll all gather together and we'll fill Times Square. But this year, don't even attempt to come down there to watch it." The event will still be broadcast on TV, but Jeff Straus, president of event co-producer Countdown Entertainment, tells the Times there won't be any sweeping shots showing a party stretching for blocks—and he'll be among the millions watching from home. This year's performers include Jennifer Lopez, Cyndi Lauper, and Gloria Gaynor, who will close out 2020 with "I Will Survive." (Read more New Year's Eve stories.)

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