A question often arises as New Year’s Eve approaches. Do you want to join the crowds or avoid them? And, if the latter is your option of choice, what size crowd? A bar or a restaurant can feel packed but intimate; out in the streets, you rely on the whims of the weather. If you want to dance you need to plan ahead and, most likely, spend a lot of money.
So, a decision has been made: You’re staying in Brooklyn this year and trying to figure out what to do. Below, a few options both for those who like to party the night away as well as people who want nothing more than to hit the sack not long after the stroke of midnight.
Yes, it’s true: one of the most reliably fun things to do in Brooklyn on New Year’s — as long as the weather isn’t too frigid — is to stroll over to Grand Army Plaza and watch the fireworks. Hosted by the Prospect Park Alliance, the festivities begin at 10:30 p.m. with live entertainment (with a performance by DJ Headache, whose name hopefully isn’t too literal) followed by the fireworks at midnight. The event is free and will be, as always, very crowded.
The same thing is going down at Coney Island — “one celebration, two locations” says the website of Borough President Eric Adams. Here, the gathering is happening at Steeplechase Plaza, and will begin at 10:30 p.m. Who is playing music at this location has not been revealed.
Drink the Night Away
There are a few options here. If you want a quieter evening, you can try to snag a seat at Dumbo’s famed River Cafe. Brooklyn-based singer Hilary Gardner and her band will be performing at 9 p.m.
If you’re looking for something with more of a pub atmosphere, maybe try Other Half Brewery (195 Centre Street), which is having an event, with tickets starting at $150.
Dance, Dance, Dance
New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest nights for live events, with lots of performances all over the borough. If nostalgia is your kind of thing, then you might want to grab a ticket to see The Strokes play at Barclays Center (if you’re into something a little darker and heavier, but still nostalgic, you can see Jesus Lizard at Brooklyn Steel). For more of a dance party: Public Records will have a solid lineup of DJs playing through the night (tickets are $28.75), Detroit legend Omar S will headline another lineup of DJs at Greenpoint’s Good Room (tickets can be found here), Rich Medina will be spinning at Bed Stuy’s C’Mon Everybody (tickets start at $40) and The Bunker will be holding their annual party at Market Hotel. Visit the respective websites for set times and ticket prices.
Rest and Relaxation
One of the best options is to just stay home. Peace, (relative) quiet — this is still New York City — a chance to avoid the crowds and to save money. Ring in the New Year alone or with a small group of friends and family. Maybe even leave the city and go upstate.
But what if you don’t want to stay home or go to a party? Our favorite option is to enter into 2020 in total silence at the Brooklyn Zen Center. Starting at 8 p.m., you and others will be able to sit in silence through midnight, separated into three periods. You will also get noodle soup. Tickets are on a tiered system ranging from $10 to $30 and must be purchased in advance — no walk-ins will be allowed.
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