Outdoors on New Year's Eve!
January 7, 2013

An Outdoor New Year’s Eve

Most people who think “outdoors,” “New York,” and “New Year’s Eve” are thinking of Times Square where over a million people gather each year to watch the world-famous ball drop. In our view, this is not something to be done with kids (or, perhaps, even without kids). Celebrants are required to arrive hours early to reserve their piece of pavement—which is probably an unbearable condition for anyone below the age of sixteen or above the age of twenty-five.

Luckily, a few years ago we discovered an absolutely fantastic alternative that provides the excitement of a New York New Year’s celebration in an outdoor setting without the crazy crowds: the fireworks above Central Park. Like many great discoveries, this one was made by accident. We heard that it was possible to see the ball drop in Times Square from the lower edge of Central Park at 59th Street and 7th Avenue. We arrived close to midnight with our youngest (who’s now 7) wrapped snug in a baby carrier and our toddler (who’s now 9) swaddled in a stroller to await the show.

Beyond the Countdown

It was indeed possible to spot the ball dropping twenty-odd blocks south at midnight, but what happened next was far more spectacular. As we turned around to head home, the sky lit up like a chandelier. The best part was that as the fireworks continued we were able to wander further north and west to get a better view of the display over the lake, which was where the fireworks seemed to be aimed. Another unexpected sight along the way was a crowd of runners participating in the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run, organized by the New York Road Runners.

The top of the Lake near 78th Street on the west side seemed to be the best viewing spot so that is where we settled, and it is the location we have returned to ever since. There is always a loose crowd and a different one, consisting of tourists from around the world mingling with New Yorkers from all boroughs and of all ages. This tradition has become by far and away our favorite way to ring in the New Year in the great outdoors of New York City. Among our most recent discoveries in 2013 has been the joys of ice-skating. Stay tuned…


April 20, 2015 (9)
America’s National Parks are getting a lot of welcome attention right now, due to the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016.
December 23, 2015 (5)
This winter, try making your own pull-behind sled, also called a pulk or pulka.
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