NYPD Patrols, Blockades to Keep Revelers Out of Times Square

New York City police are beefing up patrols and erecting blockades to prevent New Year’s Eve revelers from descending on Times Square to witness the annual ball drop.

The annual event, which typically draws more than 1 million people, is being closed to the public to avoid the risk of Covid-19 virus contagion. The Waterford Crystal ball has been lowered there every year since 1907, except in 1942 and 1943 during wartime light “dimouts,” according to the Times Square Alliance, an organization of area businesses.

This year, revelers will have to watch from their televisions, or from afar. Hundreds of officers will patrol the area and the blockades at its perimeter. Multitiered security will include explosive device screen teams, police armed with heavy weapons, drone surveillance and detection teams and trucks blocking access to the area. Extra patrols will be deployed citywide, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan said on Wednesday.

“Don’t even attempt to come down to watch it,” Monahan warned.

Police will freeze all pedestrian and car traffic beginning midnight Thursday covering 49th to 45th Streets between Sixth and Eighth Avenues, and will expand the zone Thursday at 3 p.m. south to 34th Street, and east to Fifth Avenue. The department predicted traffic delays and urged people to use public transportation.

“This year will be different,” Monahan said. “The whole year has been different. Next year will be a better year for this city and the whole country, I believe.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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