Legendary singer Gloria Gaynor will belt out her iconic tune “I Will Survive,” to ring in the New Year as part of the mostly-virtual celebration in Times Square this year, a ballad emblematic of 2020.
Gaynor will be joined by first responders, frontline workers, essential workers, and their families as this year’s “official special guests” in an effort to honor the heroes who kept the world — and the city — going through 2020, the Times Square Alliance shared with Travel + Leisure, detailing the New Year’s Eve lineup. They will join in the fun from a private, physically distanced viewing area.
Past Special Guests have included former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, Muhammad Ali, and Lady Gaga.
“The Special Guest plays a pivotal role in the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, most notably by representing resounding resolve and a determined spirit, at a time when the world collectively awaits a renewed beginning,” Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, told T+L in a statement. “This year, it feels most appropriate to shine a spotlight on the individuals who are tirelessly leading our nation through hard times with unshakable strength, determination and poise, as well as their families, who deal with their own set of sacrifices.”
The Times Square festivities will be hosted by actor Jonathan Bennett ("Mean Girls" star and host of Food Network’s “Halloween Wars” and “Holiday Wars”) . The celebration kicks off at 6 p.m. with the raising of the ball, followed by musical performances, behind-the-scenes stories, and — finally — the Ball Drop at midnight.
And while most of the event will take place virtually, the Times Square Alliance said medical experts are consulting on health protocols to ensure those who are there in person “follow the state established testing protocol, screenings, and safety guidelines.” Anyone who is not performing will be wearing a mask.
At-home revelers can watch online at TimesSquareNYC.org, NewYearsEve.nyc, Livestream.com/2021 and TimesSquareBall.net, or see elements of the bash on ABC, CNN, FOX, NBC, and Univision.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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