It’s going to be a happy Brooklyn New Year!
If you’re not watching the ball drop in Times Square, watching “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” at home with family or dancing the night away at a bar or nightclub, Brooklyn has created a couple of traditions and celebrations that have quickly caught on with locals and tourists alike.
Coney Island will be hosting its third annual New Year’s Eve celebration. Thanks to the technological upgrade to the famous and landmarked Parachute Jump, attendees can watch a simulated LED ball drop at midnight.
Last year, Coney expanded its activities and it paid off. The first year saw 5,000 attendees, while last year brought 15,000 party-goers. This year, elected officials and local businesses hope that number grows again.
“Once again, the People’s Playground will play host to what is fast becoming a beloved annual tradition: New Year’s Eve, the Coney Island way,” said Councilmember Mark Treyger. “Thousands of people will converge on our beloved Boardwalk, beneath the peak of the iconic Parachute Jump, to enjoy all of the sights, sounds, tastes and thrills that Coney Island has to offer. ”
In addition to counting down to 2017, attendees will also be treated to a 3D laser light show and a circus sideshow fire finale. Like last year, Boardwalk and nearby restaurants such as Applebee’s, Coney Island Brewery, Nathan’s Famous, Tom’s Restaurant, Wahlburgers and White Castle will be open for the Saturday, December 31 extravaganza.
Attractions and destinations such as Abe Stark Skating Rink, B&B Carousell, Deno’s Wonder Wheel and the Thunderbolt roller coaster will be open and free of charge starting at 6 p.m.
The New York Aquarium will have special extended hours of operations until 9 p.m., and Coney Island USA and El Dorado Bumper Cars will also be open.
Local electeds are excited about the growing tradition.
“We have built an incredible New Year’s Eve tradition here in our borough, leaving no doubt as to where is the best place on the planet to ring in 2017,” said Borough President Eric Adams.
“There’s sure to be no better place to welcome in the New Year than among New Yorkers who share the same enthusiasm, traditions and understanding of the importance of this area,” said Assemblymember Pamela Harris.
Local businesses that have benefited from the extra attention and experience are also pleased with the celebration
“With millions of people enjoying the attractions, we want to keep the party going so we are opening once again on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day,” said Dennis Vourderis, co-owner of Deno’s Wonder Wheel. “Fifty percent of all ticket sales on New Year’s Day will be donated to the Coney Island Polar Bear Club. We also look ahead to our 100th anniversary in 2020.”
“Nathan’s Famous celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016,” said Wayne Norbitz, director of Nathan’s Famous, Inc. “I can think of no better place than on the Boardwalk in Coney Island to welcome in the start of our next 100 years.”
Nonetheless, Brooklynites looking for a free and fun party will have a tough decision to make. Over at Prospect Park, the 37th annual New Year’s Eve celebration will also be held. Like previous years, fireworks will fill Grand Army Plaza and will also be visible from the park’s West Drive, and along Prospect Park West between Grand Army Plaza and Ninth Street. Attendees will also jam to live music and be given free hot chocolate.
However, this year the park will be kicking off its 150th anniversary.
“New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Grand Army Plaza are truly a boroughwide celebration, and so it is fitting to host in Prospect Park, ‘Brooklyn’s Backyard’,” said Sue Donoghue, president of the Prospect Park Alliance, which is hosting the event along with Adams. “This year has special meaning to us, as it will formally kick off our 150th anniversary celebration of Prospect Park, which first opened to the public in 1867.”
“What better way to ring in the New Year than in one of our most treasured public spaces, Prospect Park,” said city Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “As Prospect Park inches towards its 150th birthday, celebrations like this one offer us an exciting opportunity to honor this special place that serves so many New Yorkers.”
Festivities will begin in Coney Island at 6 p.m., while the party at Prospect Park will commence at 11 p.m.