It was 1981 when Ronald Colbert came home from service Navy As a chaos specialist on board the USS Kavala, he went to Times Square to Watch the ball drop in person for the first time.

It was a lifelong dream fulfilled that year, and he’s been going there nearly every year since then.

“My younger brother and I were watching out with anyone who was caring for the kids at the time to watch the ball fall. Everyone was wearing party hats, dancing in crowns and tuxedos. The initial ball was a little white – maybe the size of a bowling ball on a flagpole,” said Colbert. Now they have turned it into this electronic monster. “

“The excitement is unbelievable, the energy everyone has during that last moment. I don’t know how many people have kissed me strangely on New Year’s Eve or have kissed me.”

Colbert was planning to visit Times Square on December 31 for the last time, in the new year with more than a million strangers from all over the world gathering in the heart of the Big Apple for the countdown to the last seconds of the year. .

Ronald Colbert celebrates New Year’s Eve in Times Square in Manhattan on December 31, 2019. As a longtime celebrant, he’s hoping to return to the field to watch the ball drop for the last time.
(Ronald Colbert)

“I had already planned everything, my Kentucky Fried Chicken in Ziplocs, and was ready to stay all day,” says Colbert, ship operator at Staten Island Ferry.

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For the first time in 114 years, an amazing New Year’s Eve will be held in Times Square without a live audience due to a continuation The COVID-19 pandemic.

Colbert’s 40th anniversary would have marked a New Years Eve celebration in Times Square.

“I was waiting for this to be my last year. I will have to do it next year,” he says. “It’s a disappointment, but it’s not a disaster.”

As usual, there will be a live TV broadcast of Times Square New Year’s Eve 2020. In addition, the event will be available to watch on an app called VinnyWhere users can also explore the virtual world of Times Square.

“We’re adding a whole default type of lovable version of it in addition to that [TV]. It was always hypothetical in some ways, “says Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, a New York event producer.” You will be able to create a virtual world from Times Square, create your own avatar, and then place yourself in a virtual time arena to experience New Years Eve as if you were there and in real time.

Click here to see New Years Eve celebrations around the world

Vinny Created by Jamestown, the group that owns the building that houses the 11,875-pound New Year’s Eve ball and is covered by 2,688 Waterford Crystal Triangles lit by 32,256 LEDs.

So far this year, there have been more than 18 million cases of coronavirus and more than 318,000 deaths have been reported in the United States since February. Thompkins says staff and organizers of the New Year’s Eve event are working hard through the pandemic in an effort to make the event special for people watching at home as COVID-19 numbers keep rising.

“One of the challenges is the uncertainty regarding the changing health status. The people who set up the stages, build the stages – they will all be tested. They have to be socially distant,” he said.

The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment recently announced that TV personality Jonathan Bennett, host of “Holiday Wars” and the actor who starred in “Mean Girls,” will be hosting this year’s event, with stage performances by artists such as Jennifer Lopez and Bailey. Porter and Cindy Lauber.

Tompkins said, “Gloria Gaynor will sing ‘I Will Survive,’ which is sort of a metaphorical and unfortunately literally 2020 theme.”

People like Muhammad Ali and Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor have been honored at a New Year’s Eve party in Times Square in the past. But this year, many “heroes of 2020” will be honored on site in Times Square for their efforts on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those who risk their lives at work every day.

No crowds: Around the holidays at this time of year, the streets of Times Square are packed with people walking side by side.  Without millions of visitors, this year would look a lot different.

No crowds: Around the holidays at this time of year, the streets of Times Square are packed with people walking side by side. Without millions of visitors, this year would look a lot different.

These honorees include mass transit workers, doctors, nurses, delivery workers, first responders, and other essential workers who will be organized in limited capacity and sealed areas at a distance from other guests, performers, and employees.

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“We honor the 2020 champions, the people who, with their courage and creativity, have helped us move past this year. They will all be New Yorkers who will represent people from all over the world,” Tompkins added.

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“2020 was kind of a draining year,” says Colbert. “Let’s hope we can get back to some normalcy. It’s a fresh start. Let’s list everything.”

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