the traveler's resource guide to festivals & films
a site
part of Insider Media llc.

Connect with us:

Travel Info

Getting On To The New Normal, NYC's New Year’s Eve Celebration in Times Square Returns Unrestrained

It was cold on Tuesday, but thankfully, not too cold as a few days before so I headed up 25 floors above One Times Square. Nothing would have stopped me from visiting the New Year’s ball with its myriad of glass crystals made by Ireland’s Waterford company. Joining a gaggle of international press, I made my way upstairs to head to the floor where I could see and touch THE BALL.

tom brenOver the years Fiskars — the owners of Waterford Crystal — Countdown Entertainment and The Times Square Alliance have invited journalists to view the ball as they prepare it for installation before it’s raised, then dropped, as New Year’s day kicks off. With 192 freshly designed crystals replacing those of the previous year –and photographed for this story — the ball’s presence is one constant in a life and a city full of many more changes than expected — or desired.

Though every New Year’s eve portends for a celebration that suggests a better year from the last, this year’s ceremony means so much more. After such a tumultuous 2022 with political and economic turmoil front and center of many people’s minds, there is more hope than ever that 2023 will build on 2022 to make for a better world and life for the planet.

Finally, this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square is back to normal and the crowds are allowed to return to the city center unhampered. Though the current triple threat of respiratory infections suggests that people should mask up, it’s not mandatory. In-person shopping has even surged this season and people are hitting restaurants and events — though not quite in the numbers hoped for — unabated.

So there I was, posing before it, seeing it in the light of day — getting a view behind the veil as you can see from the pictures included here. Talking with the Fiskars’ point person Tom Brennan — who was among those fine folks that were there — about the pleasure of seeing him again and this return to normal, he pointed me in the direction of a fact sheet on the Ball’s history

With that in mind I thought to include a few of those facts about the ball. The actual notion of a ball “dropping” to signal the passage of time dates back long before New Year’s Eve was ever celebrated in Times Square. The first “time-ball” was installed atop England’s Royal Observatory at Greenwich in 1833.

For Times Square 2000, the millennium celebration at the Crossroads of the World, the New Year’s Eve Ball was completely redesigned by Waterford Crystal and Philips Lighting.  Waterford has been fitting the Times Square Ball with brilliant crystal panels since then. The crystal Ball combined the latest in lighting technology with the most traditional of materials, reminding us of our past as we gazed into the future and the beginning of a new millennium.

The inaugural New Year’s Eve bash, held in 1904, commemorated the official opening of the headquarters of The New York Times with a fireworks display at midnight. Since 1999, replacements for the 2,688 crystal panels that make up the ball have been designed and made by hand by Irish craftsmen at Waterford.

Each year, millions of eyes from all over the world are focused on the sparkling Waterford Crystal Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball. At 11:59 p.m., the Ball begins its descent as millions of voices unite to countdown the final seconds of the year, and celebrate the beginning of another new year.

Escape from Winter With The New York Travel & Adventure Show

Looking for a change of scenery to alleviate the winter doldrums? Time for something more exciting than taking the 4 train day in and day out? The New York Travel & Adventure Show is here for you. Running January 28 and 29 at the Jacob Javits Center, the New York Travel & Adventure Show features tour destinations, cruise lines, and more exhibitors to help you pick your next destination.

A robust slate of over thirty seminars will be featured across three theaters: The Travel Theater where you can hear from TV hosts and Instagram influencers, the Destination Theater which teaches about specific locations, and the Savvy Traveler Theater for insider tips and tricks.

The LGBTQ Pavilion features fifteen tourism brands and organizations ready to provide trip-planning inspiration, experiences, tours, cruises and travel packages, as well as safe and welcoming hotels and destinations.

Speakers include Emmy Award-Winning Host, Samantha Brown of Samantha Brown’s Places to Love, Award-Winning Travel Writer, Actor and Director Andrew McCarthy, and Emmy Award-Winning Investigative Reporter & Producer & CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg.

To learn more, go to:

New York Travel & Adventure Show
January 28 - 29, 2023

Jacob Javits Center
429 11th Ave
New York, NY 10001

Memorial Day Meditations and the Re-Opening of the Tri-State Area Before Summer

When I considered forging a commentary on Memorial Day, I thought about our present situation — where we're all caught between a rock and a hard place. Open the beaches or not? Gather in front of bars or not? Hold a BBQ or not, and with whom and how many? Here in New York, the rules differ from Manhattan to the other boroughs; Long Island versus places along the Hudson, from Westchester to further upstate. And then there are the rules for New Jersey and Connecticut.

But it also prompted thoughts based on the calendar, besides being the unofficial start of summer. Previously called Decoration Day, this federal holiday is now observed on the last Monday in May, when many people visited cemeteries and held memorials to honor and mourn those who died in military service. But with the shutdown in effect, this can’t exactly be acted upon. So I also mused about Memorial Day's point and purpose, especially when viewed through a lens that took into account both the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shootings and the gun-toting protesters rankled by CV-19 restrictions.

In case you don’t recall the reference, the Kent State shootings — also known as the May 4th Massacre or the Kent StateMassacre — took place in 1970, during a peace rally against both the Vietnam War’s expansion into neutral Cambodia as well as against the National Guard presence on campus. Four unarmed college students were shot by 28 Ohio National Guard soldiers at Kent State University, marking the first time a student was slain in an anti-war rally in American history.

The fatal shootings triggered immediate and massive outrage on campuses around the country. More than four million students walked out at hundreds of universities, colleges and high schools, the largest strike in United States history. The student strike of 1970 further affected public opinion at a really contentious timeabout America's role of the in Vietnam.

I thought of that pivotal point in history in which protestors fought against a government juggernaut engaged in an undeclared war against an implacable enemy fighting for its own survival. Our"adventure"in Vietnam might have once had an idealistic rationale, but by the time of Kent State, this protracted war seemed like it was nothing more than egos pitted against each other.

With Lucinda Williams' song “You Can’t Rule Me” rocking awayin the background, I thought about the armed protestors resisting some of the lockdown’s restrictions in Michigan and elsewhere. Once Iexperiencedthe true ravages of the disease, I realized how much this pause was needed; the disease is real, and regardless of how one assesses the numbers, these heavily armed thugs having a temper tantrum over constraints on their lives was no expression of the sort of selflessness displayed at Kent State. Rather, they appeared to be militating for the freedom to selfishly infect others rather than to protect freedom.

So when the governors of these three states are cautiously reopening in time for us to enjoy the holiday weekend, I hope all will accept the limitations while also realizing that it would be nice to resume some semblance of life as it was.

Five of New York’s 10 regions started reopening on Friday, May 15th. The Jersey Shore will be open, with limits, by Memorial Day weekend.

For a five-county section of central New York including Syracuse, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on May 14th that some businesses including curbside retail could swing back into gear. 

Other areas covered by the order are the Finger Lakes, including Rochester; the Southern Tier, which borders Pennsylvania; the Mohawk Valley, west of Albany; and the rural North Country, which includes the Adirondack Mountains.

The rest of the state, including New York City, has not yet achieved the seven health-related benchmarks required by Mr. Cuomo to begin reopening, but some beaches will be available with social distancing restrictions in place.

New Jersey’s beaches, a major tourist draw and economic engine, will open in a limited way by Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of summer, according to Gov. Philip Murphy.

The move, which Murphy called “getting toward the edge of what we can responsibly do,” is a major step toward a broader reopening of one of the states hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

The rules governing how beaches can operate were officially laid out in an executive order signed by Mr. Murphy. Under the order, which takes effect May 22, local governments that run beaches and boardwalks in their jurisdictions have the discretion in imposing restrictions while re-opening. Local officials will have to enact social distancing rules for beaches, including limiting their capacity and requiring that people stay six feet apart, the Governor said.

Organized and contact sports will be prohibited, as will large organized events, including fireworks displays that could draw crowds. 

Boardwalk restaurants will only be able to offer takeout and delivery. Amusement parks, arcades and other diversions will remain closed.

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, but beach life in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will be different this year.

The waters of Rockaway Beach, Coney Island or Orchard Beach are closed as the season starts.

Other places in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have established social distancing requirements, limited capacity or even limited access to residents.

Here’s a run down:

  • New York State
    State run beaches will be open from Memorial Day Weekend with restrictions in place to ensure social distancing. Some Long Island beaches including Long Beach and Nickerson Beach are restricting access to residents only. Jones Beach and Robert Jones Beach will close their gates once capacity reaches 50 percent. Westchester County’s beaches at Playland and Croton Point parks will be open for Memorial Day weekend, from Friday through Monday.

  • New Jersey
    Beaches, boardwalks, lakes and lakeshores in New Jersey can reopen, permitted that social distancing measures are followed. Restaurants and bars are still limited to delivery and take-out services only. Amusement parks and arcades, and other places of public amusement remain closed. Any outdoor seating, such as tables or benches, must be removed, taped off or otherwise blocked.

    People should wear face coverings, especially when social distancing is difficult, such as when waiting in lines. Local government restrictions to limit physical interactions include non-discriminatory capacity restrictions; social distancing; and lifeguard training and beach operation including COVID-19 considerations. Benches and tables are off-limits and boats can’t hold group gatherings. And there are many complicated rules too numerous to list allowing some reopening for this weekend and beyond.

  • Connecticut
    Connecticut's shoreline state park beaches were never closed, and have remained open with capacity restrictions, which remain in place. Visitors are advised to follow social distancing guidelines. Residents are encouraged to select locations closest to home, and to consider visiting early in the morning before crowds gather. At least six feet of social distancing must be maintained, and groups over five are prohibited. Residents should recreate with members of their immediate household and not meet up with others. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) will reduce parking capacity and close beaches for the day if social distancing cannot be maintained, and will make adjustments to operations and consider longer-term closures the situation warrants. Updates on closures are posted on the Connecticut State Parks' Twitter account, @CTStateParks. Connecticut municipalities continue to make decisions regarding the local beaches and swimming areas they oversee.

The Impala & the Cheetah Brothers... All is Possible

Photographer Michel Denis-Huot, who captured these amazing pictures on safari in  Kenya 's Masai Mara in October last year 2010, said he was astounded by what he saw:


"These three cheetah brothers have been living together since they left their mother at about 18 months old,' he said. 'On the morning we saw them, they seemed not to be hungry, walking quickly but stopping sometimes to play together. 'At one point, they met a group of impala who ran away. But one youngster was not quick enough and the brothers caught it easily'."  These extraordinary scenes followed:

Read more: The Impala & the Cheetah...

Newsletter Sign Up

Upcoming Events

No Calendar Events Found or Calendar not set to Public.