By: Sam Farland
New Year’s Eve
New York City is the postcard to the rest of the world, which makes this 115-year- old event important to the NYC economy.
“Our challenge is to make it new, different and fresh,” said TJ Witham, Director of Communications at Times Square Alliance.
Relationships with the media are important in this challenge.
Witham says the planning starts a year in advance, so they always have notes to improve upon, even in December. They are constantly working on this event, but it becomes more intense in September.
The day of the ball drop, Witham says, he is still working. This event compares to the Superbowl, only one broadcast network covers that event. For New Year’s Eve in New York, every broadcast network can cover the event. Witham gives credentials to the media and manage them during the event. The media riser, which is a platform near the stage, houses stations like Fox News, CBS, etc.
Witham mentions how back in the day, this event ran for only 60 seconds. The event was scary and horrible because there wasn’t any security. Now, there is an abundance of security and safety precautions in place. The event is also much longer, spanning over a period of 30 days.
Smaller Events Leading up to the Big Day
There are smaller events leading up to NYE a lot of people don’t know about. There’s a confetti wishing wall, where people can write a wish and stick it on the wall. At midnight, all the wishes get hand tossed into the crowd, showering everyone with wishes for the new year.
Good Riddance Day on December 28th is another small event leading up to the big day. On this day, people get rid of something from their past, and there’s a huge shredding machine to do so. (This is also more eco-friendly compared to burning them.) It’s a chance to cleanse yourself in preparation for the new year.
What advice do you have for students wanting to move to NYC?
If you want to live in NYC consider: Where do you want to be? TJ Witham lived in 3 of the 5 boroughs of New York, and it took some time for him to find his place. You will too!
Consider where your favorite activities are housed in the city. His main hobby is theatre, so his community is in the center of the city. He says New York City is unlike any other city he has lived in before.
What’s your favorite part about the job?
The staff is remarkable. Essentially Time Square Alliance is a business improvement district, founded to keep Times Square safe. There is a whole safety and sanitation team. He says it’s a unique organization to work in. There are also 72 other business improvement districts, but Time Square is one of the largest ones.
What’s your favorite part about living in NYC?
It’s hard not to be cliche. There’s always something to do, and too many options sometimes. It’s an incredible, vast sea of cultural opportunities. It’s wonderful to be able to find community, and realize it’s such a small world in a huge city.