Forget Times Square: Revel In Central Park.

If you’re in town for New Year’s Eve, skip Times Square. Honestly, it really isn’t fit for man nor beast and certainly not discerning tourists. It’s crowded, there’s no restroom and frankly, you’ll be more comfortable watching the ball drop on TV.  But then, I’m a tad claustrophobic and Times Square freaks me out on a good day.

Last year, for the first time, after a big celebratory dinner downtown we hopped the subway up to the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park for a great view of the park’s New Year’s fireworks. At the stroke of midnight, the pyrotechnics announced the beginning of 2012. It’s exciting, it’s fun and–get this–it’s not crazy crowded. Last year, the weather was practically balmy and even then the crowd was not dense. I loved it and am now officially hooked.

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Along with the fireworks, there’s the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run. The New York Road Runners kick of the year with an un-scored

(i.e. it’s not competitive) four mile run through the park. Runners line up on the 72nd Street traverse near the fountain. The crowd (some in costume) gathers at about 10 pm for dancing to music provided by a DJ. At 11, there’s a costume parade and contest. The official run starts at midnight. I didn’t partake in the course last year–too busy digesting veal chops and champagne–but the crowd was friendly and they all looked like they were having a blast.

The fountain (which, by the way is beautiful in and of itself) is located in the middle of the park, around 75th street. Here’s a map:

If you’re coming from the Village, take the B or C train from West 4th to 72nd Street. When you get off the train, just walk into the park and follow the crowd.

As of today, the weather is predicted to be clear but chilly. Bundle up and you’ll be fine!




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