Times Square brings New Year's Eve to homes around the globe
People across the globe will come together to celebrate New York's first ever virtual New Year's Eve at the close of 2020.
Organisers of the New Year's Eve Ball Drop Celebration are bringing the world's biggest party to homes around the world, live and direct from Times Square.
Jamestown, owner of One Times Square home of the New Year's Eve Ball, has collaborated with Ultimate Gamer, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Samsung, and others to create a virtual New Year's Eve experience to allow people to ring in the New Year safely in the time of COVID-19.
To mark this occasion, US mayors from Atlanta, Birmingham, Boston, Charleston, Charlottesville, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Savannah, and Seattle along with mayors and leaders from Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, and Spain are joining the festivities to help New York.
People around the globe can start the festivities today by downloading the NYE app to enter the virtual world of Times Square.
On December 31, viewers can tune in for an all-night live broadcast, presented by David Osmond, host of award-winning television series Wonderama, featuring talent and greetings from world leaders and families.
Event organisers are inviting families from around the world to post video messages on Instagram describing their hopes for 2021.
A select few who post videos and tag @OneTimesSquareNYC and #WonderamaWishes may also be chosen to speak with David Osmond in the coming days and have their message featured during the live broadcast.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says, “New Yorkers are excited for a fresh start in 2021, and we'll ring in the New Year by doing what we do best: looking out for one another.
"We're keeping our city safe by forgoing large gatherings, and I know this dynamic virtual programming will still make this New Year's Eve a night to remember.”
Mayor de Blasio will push the crystal button on the main stage in the centre of Times Square, which signals the lowering of the Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year's Eve Ball.
Historically, he has been joined by special guests on the mainstage for this moment. This year, due to onsite social distancing protocols, guests will not appear on stage with the Mayor.
This year each guest and their family will represent the Everyday Heroes of 2020 and will watch the event from a private, physically distanced viewing area.
Times Square Alliance president Tim Tompkins says, “New York has always been a global city and Times Square New Year's Eve a global celebration, so we are pleased to join with mayors from around the world to virtually celebrate together and to say goodbye finally! to 2020.”
Jamestown president Michael Phillips says, “Here in New York, One Times Square is the place where people mark the world’s biggest moments. It is also the place where a million-plus people gather each year to celebrate New Year's Eve.
"When it became clear to us, the Times Square Alliance, and our partners in the city and the state, that this celebration would not be possible this year, we turned our attention to creating a new platform that enables everyone, everywhere to join us virtually in Times Square.
"For us, this was a simple decision. Jamestown, as a steward of New Year's Eve, had a responsibility to bring people together, in a safe and socially distanced way, while making sure the time-honored tradition of ringing in the New Year didn’t get lost in 2020.”
Everything you need to know about the Virtual New Year's Eve
Jamestown has created a gamified New Year's Eve experience to bring the look, feel, and iconic celebrations from Times Square to people around the globe.
People can create their own personalised avatar to enter and explore the virtual world of Times Square in a year when they can't be there in person.
For those who want to dance it out, take in nature, or experience zero gravity, VNYE has three games where users can collect celebratory confetti points to outfit avatars.
Gamers and esports fans can head to the Ultimate Gamer Lounge to connect to exclusive content and giveaways.
Music fans can view exclusive performances by emerging musicians Alex Boy, Armani White, and Chloe Gilligan.
The experience also features a multimedia art exhibition, Hi-Resolution.
The 60-piece collection from 45+ digital and contemporary artists including Shyama Golden, Molly Soda, Jeanette Getrost, and Ines Alpha focuses on setting intentions for the coming year.
Finally, on December 31, tune in for a Livestream from Times Square for the countdown to midnight and the iconic Ball Drop Celebration.
People can also check out Twitch as creators share the NYE broadcast on their channels, choose a view of Times Square from multiple camera feeds, and watch New Year's celebrations from around the world - including the International Space Station through the EarthCam Rolling Live feed.